COLORADO — As an agency that cares for the land and serves people, connecting with communities near our public lands is an essential part of fulfilling the Forest Service mission. Through partnerships, we can create more authentic community relationships and foster more relevant opportunities for engaging diverse communities in environmental education, recreation, and the shared stewardship of the nation’s forests.
With the help of partners like Americas for Conservation + the Arts, we’ve connected deeply with Latino families in the Denver metropolitan area, students from across the US, and artists from around the world, enhancing their – and our – connection to the land.
In partnership with AFC+A, we hosted the first United Cultures for Arts + Nature Youth Congress in August 2017 at the Rocky Ridge Music Center near Estes Park, Colorado. We welcomed a diverse group of students, mentors, and faculty from across the US and Latin America to participate in leadership, outreach, arts, forestry, conservation, and policy workshops. Now in its second year, U-CAN fosters a passion for stewardship in young leaders that is rooted in science, arts, and culture.
Also supported by the Forest Service, Promotores Verdes (Green Ambassadors in English), is a collaborative program between AFC+A and CREA Results, a community health organization focused on growing the capacity of family champions for health and the environment. Latino families from disenfranchised and vulnerable Denver area communities are introduced to new public lands and topics to explore. Each outdoor experience builds upon knowledge gained in previous experiences and relies on active participation.
Continuing to invest in and build on these partnership successes will build mutual trust and respect, expand our outreach capacity, increase the diversity of perspectives reflected in agency policies and programs, empower change and leadership, and strengthen our shared commitment to the health of people and nature.