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EcoFlight’s Flight Across America Student Program Begins Today

November 4, 2013 by  

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EcoFlight’s Flight Across America Student Program

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


Latino Religious Leaders Form New Alliance for Environmental Protection

October 16, 2013 by  

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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.

Tour Strives to Increase Latino Engagement in National Parks

July 11, 2013 by  

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Hispanic group seeks to boost attendance, protection of four southwestern landmarks

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).

To follow the family’s journey, join us at, at or at

A media kit on the trip is available at 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].

Hispanic Access Foundation applauds Obama’s nomination for Interior Secretary

February 13, 2013 by  

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WASHINGTON – Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) President Maite Arce released the following statement regarding President Obama’s nomination of Sally Jewell, CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc., for Secretary of Interior:

“Sally Jewell is an excellent choice for Interior Secretary. Protecting our parks and public lands, as well as securing clean air and water, is a top issue for Latinos. And it’s one that Ms. Jewell understands on both personal and economic levels.

“As CEO of REI, Ms. Jewell built a track record for fostering the passion of the outdoors in youth and Latinos throughout the country. Her vision to engage Latinos in nature and conservation programs is one that we hope she advances in this new role.

“Ms. Jewell shares the commitment of organizations such as Hispanic Access Foundation to protect the places that matter to our communities and our families. We look forward to working with her to preserve our heritage for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.”

Since its founding in 2010, HAF has made building environmental awareness among Latinos, going outdoors and empowering advocates a top priority. The organization has initiated several projects on the environment including its recent effort to raise awareness about extending protection to Browns Canyon in Colorado and exposing Latinos to the outdoors. As part of that project, HAF took over 60 Hispanic youth to that area for a weekend of camping and rafting, and then brought a dozen youth to Washington to speak with legislators, the White House and the National Park Service director.

HAF is giving away $500 in Outdoor gear!

January 22, 2013 by  

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Do you enjoy being in the outdoors and have photos to show for it? If your answer is YES, join our 4 Stops, 1 Destination Photo Contest to win $500 worth of outdoor gear!

HAF will be accepting your contest photos until July 23rd, 2013 by 6:00pm EST. See contest rules for more information.

Link to contest album with rules:

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