Giving Compass' Take:

• Kristin Marguerite Doidge explains that Latinos Outdoors is a grassroots organization that uses strategic partnerships to increase access and connection between the Latino population and the great outdoors.  

• Why is it important to increase access to outdoor spaces and environmental education? 

• Learn what other organizations are doing to inspire more participation environmental education. 

A 2015 poll of registered Latino voters showed environmental issues near the top of their list of greatest concerns. Yet, when it came to finding an outdoor space that felt welcoming and inclusive, José G. González felt there was much more work to be done.

Latino Outdoors was formed from a California-based organization to an international volunteer movement and is wholly focused on its comprehensive strategic plan to connect people interested in enjoying and preserving the environment and working to create a national community of leaders in conservation and outdoor education.

As part of this work, the group is focused on expanding and amplifying the Latino experience in the outdoors — providing greater opportunities for leadership, mentorship, and professional opportunities and serving as a platform for sharing cultural connections and narratives often overlooked by the traditional outdoor movement.

González’s story particularly moved Richard Rojas Sr., a retired California State Parks District ranger and superintendent with more than 30 years of experience. “José had this vision to create a modern Sierra Club focused on Latino youth and families and love of the outdoors,” says Rojas, who now serves as chair of the Latino Outdoors advisory board. “And I knew how to navigate the bureaucracy.”

Rojas believes Latino Outdoors can be a huge part of the solution in creating a brighter and more sustainable future at the state and national level, especially for the next generation of conservationists and athletes interested in using nature as a new source of inspiration.

“Creating access for people with disabilities, women of color in becoming a ranger, access to becoming a ranger; interacting with brands like Patagonia who are interested in growing their consumer constituency and diversity … and helping to support the next generation of environmental stewards at colleges and universities.”

Read the full article about Latinos Outdoors by Kristin Marguerite Doidge at GOOD Sports.