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New Mexico Celebrates Latino Conservation Week

As part of Latino Conservation Week, community members are being encouraged to show their passion for protected areas, including the Pecos National Historic Park. (National Park Service)
As part of Latino Conservation Week, community members are being encouraged to show their passion for protected areas, including the Pecos National Historic Park. (National Park Service)
July 19, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — This week marks the third annual Latino Conservation Week, and organizers are shining a spotlight on the Latino community's concern for preserving New Mexico's natural resources.

Several groups, including the National Park Service, encouraged Latinos to go camping and hiking and to engage in other outdoor activities as part of the week-long push. Susan Torres with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation said the group is holding a Latino Conservation Summit in Albuquerque with a panel of Latino leaders to map out the future of conservation efforts.

"They're going to be discussing everything from water to land management to wildlife,” Torres said. "And we're going to have the kickoff event to identify different leaders, figure out how we can continue to work with the different communities and make sure that they have a voice in the things that matter to them."

Other events in New Mexico include a scavenger hunt and nature hike at the Pecos National Historic Park and an Audubon New Mexico birding field trip near Deming to identify a variety of native and migrating species.

With more than 50 million people, the Latino community is the largest minority group in the nation, and the number of Latinos living in New Mexico has grown to 980,000. With so many Latinos now living in the state, Maite Arce, president of the Hispanic Access Foundation, believes they can play a role in local conservation efforts.

"By Latino voters there is concern about making sure our natural resources are preserved long into the future,” she said, "so, really thinking about tomorrow and protecting those lands from development and other threats."

Over the past three years, Latino Conservation Week has grown from 17 events in just a handful of states to more than 100 events across the country.

To learn more about Latino Conservation Week, visit latinoconservationweek.com.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - NM