Walking in a park

There are hundreds of millions of acres of public land in the U.S., but not everyone has had the chance to hike in a national forest or picnic in a state park.

“There is a gap, definitely, between communities of color, Latino communities, and access to these green spaces and these experiences,” says Felipe Benítez of Corazón Latino, a nonprofit that helps urban residents spend more time in nature.

'There is a gap, definitely, between communities of color, Latino communities, and access to these green spaces and these experiences.' Click To Tweet

The group organizes outdoor events at parks and forests, and they encourage families to visit on their own by providing directions and activity ideas in Spanish.

“The cousins, the abuelitos, the little kids, everybody will come,” Benitez says. “So you want to make sure that you are providing information on what to do, information about safety, information about conservation.”

He says the group’s goal is to encourage recreation and stewardship. When people feel connected to parks and forests, they want to preserve them. That’s important for the climate because trees store a lot of carbon.

“We don’t need to train Latino communities on how to be good environmental stewards,” Benitez says. “Culturally, it’s part of our DNA. We just need to sometimes remind ourselves that it is important. We are stewards of the land. We are protecting our Madre Tierra.”

embed code image

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.