Latino Conservation Week with the National Park Service kicked off on Saturday with the bilingual “Las Montañas” event at the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas.
Park rangers led two hikes and, along with the visitor center’s staff and guest speakers, gave talks on conservation efforts in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and also in one’s own neighborhood.
One of the guest speakers was wildlife biologist Miguel Ordeñana, from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, who discovered mountain lion P-22 that roams in Griffith Park. He also discussed his research on bats and why they are good for the environment.
The free event included lessons on how to create a seed “piñata bomb” for home gardens and how to attract monarch butterflies by planting native milkweed. Participants had the opportunity to take home bilingual field guides and adventure kits.
Environmental activist groups were also on hand to discuss ecology at regional beaches, forests and suburbs including Angeles National Forest, the Forest Foundation, Heal the Bay, Los Angeles Audubon Society, Pacoima Beautiful and the Santa Monica Mountains Fund’s Monarca team.
Also, participants enjoyed a performance of Indigenous music from Central and South America.
The purpose of Latino Conservation Week, an initiative of the Hispanic Access Foundation, is to foster an interest within the Latino community, and especially young people, in ecology and protecting natural resources by way of bilingual, educational, fun and free outdoor activities.
Organized events that have been posted to the website include bird watching, camping, beach and park clean-ups, fishing, hikes, planting native plants and “citizen science” logging and photography. Sparking an interest in conservation and the outdoors is also achieved through the use of art, film, music and poetry.
Written by Holly Andres for Los Angeles Daily News.