Latino Conservation Week and Making Awesome Latino Conservation Week and Making Awesome
14 June 2022

Latino Conservation Week and Making Awesome Connections!

Written by: Nathanael Houston

Our Latino Conservation Week event at the Refuge was a lot of fun! We talked about the different species of pollinators that live at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, focusing especially on monarch butterflies. We ended up having a great turnout, especially considering that this is the first Hispanic-oriented event that has been put on at Muscatatuck. Everyone that showed up was very attentive. In fact, the “questions” sections of the presentation lasted just as long as my actual talk!

Several of the attendees were very interested in knowing more about how to plant pollinator-friendly gardens, asking questions about the difference between planting native and non-native plants and whether or not monarch caterpillars could damage any other plants besides milkweed. Others focused their questions on the life cycle of monarchs – how they’re able to know where their overwintering site is without ever having been there before, how many of them are present in a single migration, what other parts of the world they live in and whether they make the same type of migration in those areas as well.

I think the best part about our Latino Conservation Week event was that most of the people that attended had never been to and, in some cases, never even heard of Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge before. After the event and the accompanying free lunch was over, many of them took some time to drive around the refuge and check it out before going home! One younger participant was also very curious about Hispanic Access Foundation, asking how he could apply for an internship!

As we cleaned up after the event, one of the volunteers that helped out mentioned how she thought it was interesting how receptive Latinos are to programs dealing with conservation and the environment. I thought it was so cool that she said that because, during graduate school, my internship at Myrtle Beach State Park also involved connecting the Hispanic community to nature. While writing my report and finding papers to reference, I found that nearly all of the research that has been done is in line with that volunteer’s observation – as Latinos, we are very family and community-oriented and tend to see ourselves as an active component of the world that surrounds us. We see ourselves as stewards of our environment, as people with a responsibility to preserve our world for current and future generations. The reason that we’re so much more receptive to messages of conservation and protecting the environment than other groups is because we already agree with them. It’s just a matter of making those programs and that information more readily available to us. This is Hispanic Access Foundation’s main mission.

Several of the people that attended Operación Polinización asked when the next Latino event at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge would be. Latino Conservation Week may be over but its purpose is year-round. I’m hoping that we can host another event before my internship is over!

Nathanael Houston

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Location: Muscatatuck NWR

MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

P: (202) 640-4342