Public Lands Agencies Work to Diversify Staff in 2022
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
People of color historically have been excluded from outdoor-recreation jobs, but a collaborative effort to diversify staff within agencies that manage public lands could change that.
The Hispanic Access Foundation has teamed up with agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to tap college students and recent graduates for what are known as "MANO" fellowships.
"The potential of a 'Climate Corps' - you know, the Civilian Climate Corps - it begins to groom Hispanic people to take their place in conservation," said Max Trujillo, senior field ooordinator for the group Hispanics Enjoying Camping Hunting and the Outdoors in New Mexico.
He said MANO fellows work on cultural preservation in museums and environmental stewardship outdoors, and gain business skills including accounting, communications and engineering. Applications are online at ManoProject.org. The deadline to apply is Jan. 7.
Trujillo noted that New Mexico is blessed with an abundance of public lands and wildlife species that need to be preserved.
"With climate change, we've seen channels of waterways getting deeper and the water not staying in the higher terrain to create more sustainable water fill downstream," he said. "So, there's all kinds of projects to do, restoration and maintenance."
The MANO fellowships are designed to provide Latinos the skills to help them compete for well-paid, permanent jobs with benefits. Trujillo said Hispanics have been involved in protecting areas where centuries-old cultural traditions are performed, and it's time those ideas are part of the conversation.
"I think that opening some avenues for different ideas to conservation will be beneficial to the masses," he said.
The MANO fellowship positions are paid, and many offer transportation stipends, free on-site housing or housing stipends.
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