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November 4, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
Sergio Duran, Wildlife Biology Student at Arapahoe Community College, Denver CO to accompany EcoFlight on a week-long environmental student program
Monday November 4th – Friday November 8th
EcoFlight, a non-profit based out of Aspen, CO, will be conducting its 10th annual Flight Across America (FLAA) Student Program from Monday, November 4th to Friday, November 8th, 2013.
The focus of this year’s program is the “alphabet soup” of designations and protections of public wild lands and the threats facing wilderness-quality lands in the West.
Using flight and ground-based education, EcoFlight’s FLAA program is designed to involve and inform college age students about current conservation issues from a broad range of perspectives and show them through flight how such issues personally impact their lives and the world around them.
Sergio Duran, an alumnus of Environmental Learning for Kids in Denver will be one of eight college students accompanying EcoFlight on overflights of protected and threatened areas in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. They will meet with national and local conservation organizations, sportsmen, business leaders, government officials, the media, local high schools and Navajo youth along the route.
Sergio intends to share his Flight Across America experience by producing an article for the wider Latino community.
Contact: Krysia Carter-Giez, EcoFlight: [email protected] 970 366 8822
Jane Pargiter, EcoFlight: [email protected] 970 618 5443
Michael Gorman, EcoFlight: [email protected] 970 274 4719
October 16, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
NATHROP, COLO. – Today, prominent Latino religious leaders from Colorado and California joined together to form Por la Creación Faith-based Alliance, which will develop stewards of God’s creations by engaging and educating this generation to leave a legacy for the future. This group seeks to educate other Hispanics and to encourage them to take an active role in supporting the nation’s public lands and protecting our natural resources across the West.
“Pastors can bring common-sense and spiritual guidance to the national discussion about the value of our parks and public lands, and other environmental issues affecting Latinos across the West,” said Maite Arce, president of the nonprofit Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), which helped organize the group. “Their leadership will be instrumental in sparking change that preserves our natural treasures for future generations — bringing balance and fairness to how our nation views conservation in relation to energy development.”
HAF brought the religious leaders together as part of the inaugural summit “Exploring Stewardship in Protecting and Preserving the Environment.” The summit was held in Nathrop, Colo. for three days, and included fly-fishing in Colorado’s famed Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River. The organization believes this new alliance will encourage more religious leaders to speak up for conservation, especially in communities that are on the front lines of energy development.
“We need energy development for our nation’s energy independence,” said Pastor Joseito Velasquez from Healing Waters Family Center in Denver, Colo. “But we also need to protect wildlife and other aspects of God’s creation in our public lands. We can do both.”
Pastor Velasquez was joined in the Alliance formation by Pastor Rigo Magaña from New Hope Christian Fellowship in Greeley, Colo., Pastors Frank Ruiz from Seventh Day Adventist Church in Indio, Calif., and Jesse Villarreal from Templo La Hermosa and Enrique Orellana from Fuente De Vida Christian Center in Coachella, Calif.
At the summit in Colorado, the group identified environmental issues from each home state that are of concern. In Colorado, the group would like to see Browns Canyon’s public lands and waters protected as a National Monument. Similarly, the Alliance would like National Monument designation to be granted for Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks in New Mexico. For California, the collective is paying special attention to the California Desert Protection Act, which would establish two new national monuments, enhance the existing national parks and ensure renewable energy development happens in appropriate public and private lands, and other environmental issues in the Coachella. Additionally, the alliance will explore the need for adequate funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect national parks, and enable communities to build new playgrounds and local parks.
Following the summit, the pastors will return to their communities to educate, engage and empower other religious leaders and community members in advocating for the conservation of God’s creation.
July 11, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
WASHINGTON – While attendance to national parks has been on the decline, a campaign from Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) is looking to engage Latinos in order to boost turnout and to protect these treasures from oil and gas development for future generations. HAF President Maite Arce and her family will complete a 950-mile tour of four national parks and share their journey along the way through a video blog and social media.
“This campaign introduces Latinos to new destinations and shows them how accessible, secure and enjoyable they can be,” said Arce. “And the timing is imperative as each of the four parks is under some level of threat from oil and gas development.”
HAF hopes increased attendance and awareness about threats to these national treasures, such as oil and gas development, pollution and water shortage will encourage Latinos to take an active role in protecting these natural wonders for future generations.
“We’re looking to put conservation on equal ground with oil and gas drilling,” said Arce. “If we don’t have a balanced approach to energy development, future generations will not be able to enjoy the beauty of these parks as they stand today. And it will be that much more difficult to attract Latinos, and other communities for that matter, to these parks.”
Currently, only 9 percent of the nation’s approximately 54 million Latinos visit our country’s national parks each year, according the American Latino Heritage Fund. While reasons for this may vary from transportation to concerns about safety, HAF has found that awareness is one of the biggest barriers to entry.
“Latinos are extremely passionate about their local parks, but we need to translate that enthusiasm to our national park system. By bringing more families into the parks, we’re working to secure these destinations for the future,” said Arce. “While more visitors equates to more park funds, there’s more to it than just the numbers. With Latinos, their passion for the outdoors underscores the roles they can play in the preservation of these natural landmarks.”
The trip, called ”Four Stops, One Destination,” will cover 950 miles beginning with Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado (July 13-16), continuing to Arches National Park in Utah (July 16-17), then to Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park (July 17-20) and ending at Chaco Culture National Park in New Mexico (July 20). Joining Arce will be her husband Ted, sons Luke (18) and Noah (16), and family friend Jonathan (15).
A media kit on the trip is available at http://tinyurl.com/mnnqsou. If you would like to schedule an interview or visit with Maite during their tour, please contact Robert Fanger at 317.410.7668 or [email protected].
November 19, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
Latino Groups Commend Decision By Interior Secretary to Restrict Oil Shale Operations and Protect Colorado’s Water Supply
Clean water and healthier communities scored a crucial victory in Colorado on November 9, when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to protect the state from oil shale speculation.
On Nov. 9, the Department of the Interior released a plan that would require oil shale companies to provide solid proof that their activities will balance the state’s economic and environmental needs before starting any commercial exploitation. Reversing a Bush-era decision that would have given industry free reign on 2 million acres of public lands, BLM’s plan effectively protects 1.6 million acres of public land, as well as areas of critical wildlife habitat.
Latino organizations, including the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) and Nuestro Río, welcomed the Salazar decision and reminded the public about the Latino community’s overwhelming support for protection of public lands and the safety and reliability of their water supply.
“We needed a smart approach to oil shale development and Secretary Salazar deserves credit for making this a priority for Colorado, and for the state’s Latinos, which make up a significant portion of the state’s population and depend on the Colorado River and water supplies for their quality of life and economic opportunity,” said Maite Arce, executive director of HAF. “Costly, water-hungry oil shale speculation would put Western families’ health and safety at risk.”
According to a recent Sierra Club national survey conducted in cooperation with NCLR, more than nine in 10 (92%) Latino voters agree that they “have a moral responsibility to take care of God’s creation on this earth —the wilderness, the forests, the oceans, lakes and rivers.”
Also, the survey found that nearly seven in 10 (69%) Latino voters support presidential designations of more public land as national monuments.
“The Colorado River doesn’t just run through the Southwest, it runs through our culture and it nourishes our lives,” said Andrés Ramírez, Director at Nuestro Río. “Saving the Colorado River is about protecting our Latino heritage and promoting our future.”
Indeed, a survey by Colorado College conducted in Western states earlier this year revealed that 87 percent of Hispanics believe we can protect the environment at the same time we work for a strong economy.
In addition, the poll found that 89 percent of Hispanic respondents agreed that resources must be invested in preserving their state’s land, water and wildlife, regardless of the current budgetary crisis.
Estimates by the Government Accountability Office have projected that full-scale oil shale development could require more than 123 billion gallons of water each year, enough water for more than 750,000 households. Additionally, the mining and processing of oil shale can leach toxic metals and pollutants, such as lead and arsenic, into rivers and groundwater. BLM’s plan takes a step in the right direction by limiting the amount of public land that could be subjected to oil shale development. Rather than promoting high-risk, high-cost technologies like oil shale, we need to begin the transition to clean, efficient fuels that benefit both our economy and our land, water, and public health.
- By Javier Sierra
Article from SierraClub.org
October 24, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
The Hispanic Access Foundation and Environmental Learning for Kids took over 60 youth, including a majority of Latinos, to Colorado’s Browns Canyon in July 2012. The trip inspired many of the students to take action. In September 2012, eleven of the Denver-area high schoolers traveled to Washington, DC to meet with their elected officials, including Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet, the director of the National Park Service, representatives from the Department of Interior, White House officials and others. This video documents their journey.