What influenced you to become the Latino Community Outreach Liaison at Masonville Cove?
I am very passionate about working with the Latino Community, because in addition to my family being from Latin America, I have studied the Latin American Culture and have grown to have a deep appreciation and connection with that community. I feel that the land is something is very important in Latin American culture because it is their livelihood; therefore it is important that we bring awareness to those communities even in urban spaces. In addition to providing them with environmental education, it is also that we take into account their basic needs as citizens (food, security, education, shelter) when trying to provide them with resources.
What is a typical workday like for you?
There is no typical work day for me at Masonville Cove. I have learned to take on various hats, from anything to teaching kindergartners to being a “scientist” and taking water samples. As a Community Outreach Liaison I have learned that I need to be flexible and willing to work with whatever situation the day has presented me with, in order to fulfill my goals.
You majored in Spanish, Latin American Studies, and International Studies at Towson. Clearly, your Spanish skills are important to your job. Did you take any classes (at or outside of Towson) concerning geography or environmental studies?
I have taken some intro geography courses, in addition to working for 2 summers as an intern for the Environmental Protection Agency.
You also studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. How did your experience abroad contribute to the work you do today?
While in Buenos Aires I was able to develop my skills as a native Spanish speaker, as well as become part of a new culture of Latin America. This experience contributed to my work today by heightening my passion to work with the Latino Community because I was able to see how much they connect their lifestyles to the land and agriculture. It also made me realize that there aren’t many environmental resources that Spanish communities have access to.
Could you tell me about your role at the recent BioBlitz at Masonville Cove?
My role at the BioBlitz was to inform visitors/participants about monarch butterflies, and how they can help rear monarch butterflies through the milkweed plant in their garden. The monarch butterfly population has been declining over the year, and through a grant that I am working on with Hispanic Access Foundation, Living Classrooms, Masonville Cove, and Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, restoring monarch butterfly habitats is one of our grant objectives. We used the monarch butterfly because of its journey from the east coast back to Mexico – which is a good way to relate to the Latino community.
Why do you think it is important to promote environmental literacy to the public – especially to underserved communities?
Environmental literacy is important to underserved communities because every human has the right to be able to have access to a clean open environment. Often times these Latino communities are overlooked or criticized because of their lack of involvement in environmental efforts. However through my work as a community outreach liaison, I have found that this “lack of involvement” is actually perpetuated by nobody taking time to invest in these communities to build relationships and foster awareness.