“Yo Cuento Outdoors”:The Stories of Latino Outdoors. Part 10

Vamos afuera con Albert Arevalo,

Latino Outdoors ~ Program Coordinator – DMV.

 

A native Texan and lover of BBQ, Albert is a proud alumnus of Texas State University-San Marcos—Eat ‘Em Up, Cats! Albert is passionate about making services accessible to everyone, particular minorities and low income communities. He been fortunate to work alongside colleagues and organizations that align with his moral compass. From connecting youth to their local parks to leading a Regional Litter Campaign in DC Albert is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the individuals he works with. In his free time, Albert loves to play tennis, hike, tweet on behalf of @PetTurtleOliver, and play kickball.

What are the earliest memories of you in the outdoors with a connection to nature?

Growing up in South Texas, I had the opportunity to explore the outdoors in both the US and Mexico. In the US I was able to transform my backyard into an endless landscape for my imagination. My best friend Richie and I would create forts to defend ourselves from attacks from the 90’s Power Ranger villain Rita Repulsa and her army of Putty Patrollers. In Mexico, my grandfather would use his craft as a welder and add bunk beds so we could spend the night sleeping next to the ocean. In the morning, we’d use the sound of the crashing waves and the smell of the sand as our alarm clocks. We’d then prep some breakfast before spending hours fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

How did you learn about LO and how does this organization play a part in your life?

Coincidentally, I was volunteering at Rock Creek Park in DC and doing what I could to help connect the Latino Community to their local parks. As a volunteer I’d help Park staff by translating materials in Spanish and providing educational programs in Spanish. I was unaware that a network of Latino environmentalist existed through Latino Outdoors. This network was not only interested in connecting our community to the outdoors but interested in restructuring the conversation to include people of color into the dialogue for the future of public lands. Realizing the lack of diversity in green organizations, it was comforting knowing that I wasn’t alone in this fight.

How do you maintain a connection to nature?
By playing in it! Either through sports like tennis or running or by just admiring its beauty.
What is a fond memory in nature for you?
Visiting Sabal Palm Sanctuary with my family. This gem is known for being a hot spot bird migratory bird route and it was only 5 miles away from where I grew up. It only took me 30 years to visit it but discovering it with my family allowed me to share my love for the outdoors with them.
What is it about nature that speaks to your soul?
I love being humbled by nature. Something as powerful as the ocean or as large as the Grand Canyon allows me to reflect on my purpose in life.
Thoughts, ideas or reflections?
I was unaware that being an environmentalist was a career option for me and having a career in Parks and being a volunteer for Latino Outdoors has taught me the importance of being visible in my profession. The value of seeing yourself in any career allows you to dream big and follow your dreams.
This Texan has become a dear friend of mine! We will not hesitate for tree love and he is just like the lyrics from an 0ld country song … “the stars at night-are big and bright/deep in the heart of Texas”.
It has been my pleasure to highlight and share these amazing leaders. I continue to be inspired by these individuals who give their heart and soul on every outing or event that they attend. We are becoming part of the outdoor narrative and in doing so we want to make sure it is done with a vision and purpose that will expand and amplify the Latino experience. Our voice, your voice … juntos!
Latino Outdoors is a unique Latino-led organization working to create a national community of leaders in conservation and outdoor education. Check out the Latino Outdoors site for more information on events being held near you or if you would just like more information on how you might be able to get involved.
Vamos Outdoors!

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