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Leadership Corner

Hispanic Americans: A History of serving our nation

Photo: Ariel Lugo speaking at a podium
Ariel E. Lugo, director of the USDA Forest Service International Institute for Tropical Forestry, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Hispanic Americans have helped shape our country in so many ways. They have served in the Armed Forces and given their lives to protect ours. Hispanic artists have enriched our lives with their many contributions to our culture.  Hispanic sportsmen and women have inspired generations of fans. Hispanics also have a strong history as conservation leaders. In Puerto Rico, Hispanic Forest Service employees, such as José Marrero in the 1950s and ‘60s, invented Caribbean Tropical Forestry and helped rehabilitate degraded lands that were slowing down our economic situation and well-being. Hispanics are connected to the land and value and protect our natural resources.

National Hispanic Heritage Month commemorates Americans with ancestry from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Starting as a week of observance in 1968, it was extended in 1988 to span a 30-day period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The independence anniversary for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—is September 15. Belize, Chile and Mexico celebrate their independence later in the month.

The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers announced this year’s theme for Hispanic Heritage month: “Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving Our Nation.” The theme was submitted by Veronica Vasquez, President of National Image Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting Hispanic employment in the federal government through training, leadership development, education, and the advancement of civil rights for all.

The USDA Forest Service values the skills, ethics, and passion that Hispanic Americans bring to the agency. Through our agency core value of diversity the Forest Service champions a strong and diverse…Read More

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