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Hispanic Access Foundation Welcomes New Conservation Director

Hispanic Access is thrilled to announce the addition of Melissa Morris as the new Conservation Director, who will shape the program’s vision, lead the program team, and steer the program toward becoming a model of excellence in the conservation and environmental space.


Hispanic Access Statement on the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund

Today, Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, announced on behalf of the EPA the awardees for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a $20 billion program that will direct funding to projects that will reduce pollution, lower energy costs for families across the United States, and create good-quality jobs — all while catalyzing an unprecedented wave of private sector investment. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which sets the goal of 40% of federal climate benefits going to disadvantaged communities.


Hispanic Access Announces Selection of Cohort for Scuba Diving Certification Program

Hispanic Access Foundation is pleased to unveil the inaugural cohort for its “Olas y Acción Deepening Inclusion Via Engagement Support” (D.I.V.E.S.)  groundbreaking scuba diving certification program aimed at fostering diversity and inclusion within the realm of certified Latino divers. This initiative also seeks to enhance access to skill development and community-building opportunities for aspiring leaders in marine conservation.


Hispanic Access lleva cabo primer charla de ciencia para latinos desatendidos en Connecticut

El domingo 17 de marzo, Hispanic Access Foundation llevó a cabo la primera charla educativa bilingüe de ciencia que es parte de una serie de charlas y proyecto de tutoría "Senderos a la Ciencia", que se ofrecerá durante cinco años, para exponer a estudiantes latinos de secundaria desatendidos a diversas oportunidades profesionales, proporcionar recursos y desarrollar la próxima generación de profesionistas latinos en salud y en ciencia en New London, Connecticut.


Latest Blog

The Beauty in the Flames

The month of March went by a lot quicker than expected! We are already a few weeks into spring and that’s wild to think about sometimes. Although, if you live in a northern state, winter is fighting for revenge. The weather has gone from clear and sunny with slightly warmer weather to gray with an odd mix of snow and then rain. The weather could not decide on what to do. Work-wise it has been a lot of planning in March. More and more field trips are being added to our calendars as well as events with partners! Once about mid-April hits, the activities at the refuge will spike. 

One plan was a large highlight for me. I was able to witness a prescribed/controlled burn on the Refuge on April 4th. A controlled/ prescribed burn is an intentionally set fire used for habitat restoration or management. (To clarify, prescribed and controlled can be used interchangeably for this type of process.) Restoration or management could include helping to remove invasive species, setting back succession for wildlife, or even helping native plants to grow better! 

Fire on a large scale is often seen as threatening and dangerous, but that is not always the case. Fire if left to roam can become very dangerous and cause death, destruction, and displacement. When used for the habitat it can prove a very crucial tool. Fire at first looks ugly on the land but this gives opportunity for a fresh start. In some ecosystems, it is imperative to have a fire go through the area to help with seed dispersal of plants, kill insects that damage trees, kill blights and disease, and fertilize the soil! When used for the right purposes and managed correctly, it is quite a spectacle to observe.

Forest Service Grants and Agreements: A Whole New World

I have been interning with the Grants and Agreements Unit or G&A (one of the many acronyms I have learned so far) for two months and I have only seen the tip of the iceberg. So far, I have learned there are many types of agreements, and each one has different authorities, policies, and procedures for execution. At the International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF, add it to the list), most of the agreements created are for federal financial assistance programs awarded to cooperators such as local nonprofits, state partners, universities, among others.


What is Your Relationship with the Outdoors?

What was your first outdoor experience? 

That was the ice breaker posed to us at a staff meeting with our partner organization. I told the team about my first family camping trip in Santa Cruz, California when I was about 12 years old. We had a good time playing on the beach all day and having s'mores by the fire. My family wasn’t much for outdoor activities, though, so I was surprised by how smooth the trip went.

In my first month as a Resource Assistant with the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), many of our discussions have made me think about my connection to the outdoors, especially in relation to public lands. Thinking back, I always liked playing outside as a kid, but I didn’t really develop a bond with nature until I was an adult. 

It started during my undergrad when I was a research assistant for an ecology lab at Sonoma State. I helped graduate students with their research by measuring shrub cover and identifying plants at Point Reyes National Seashore. Before that I didn’t even know a National Seashore existed!

I fell in love with it all: hiking to research plots while hearing the ocean roar at our side, being able to work outside all day in the beautiful coastal grassland, even driving the winding roads out to the coast. I developed a personal connection to Point Reyes through my research, and I began to understand the value in preserving natural landscapes and resources.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to continue participating in research on public lands. While working for Arizona State University, our research team conducted herpetofauna diversity surveys in Tonto National Forest. That’s where I saw my first diamondback rattlesnake. Just a few weeks later, a bald eagle passed over our heads as we were walking to our study plots. Being a field biologist had its perks!

Outside of work, I’ve been lucky enough to camp on public lands in El Dorado National Forest, Death Valley National Park and Zion National Park. I have also visited Yosemite National Park once or twice. 

So, after some reflection, I can say that I do have a relationship with our nation’s public lands and the outdoors. Even though I don’t get out as often as I’d like, working with the CDT has inspired me to visit a national park (or seashore) and get in a few hikes by the end of the year. I might even hop on the CDT in years to come!

What activities do you have planned for yourself this year? How do you connect to our public lands and the outdoors?

Month 5: From the Taiga to the Tropics

The past few months with RTCA Alaska have been a whirlwind. They’ve been filled with travel to wonderfully unique places and an influx of so much new knowledge and perspective. The Alaska team has a close working relationship with the RTCA Hawai’i team, and I’ve been lucky enough to help with some Hawai’i projects and participate in site visits on the islands. We visited Makalapa Park in Oahu, an environmental justice park that has been neglected for years and finally receiving some love. We did a walk of the site with a landscape architecture studio class who will be coming up with designs based on ideas that were gathered during workshops held with the neighboring community. It was inspiring to listen to a group of design-minded individuals look at a nearly empty space and imagine how it could be transformed and revitalized to benefit local people.


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