Wilderness Workshop launches Defiende Nuestra Tierra program in effort to engage local Latino communities | PostIndependent.com

Wilderness Workshop launches Defiende Nuestra Tierra program in effort to engage local Latino communities

Matthew Bennett
mabennett@postindependent.com

Wilderness Workshop has announced the start of a new program called Defiende Nuestra Tierra. Spanish for Defend Our Land, the outreach will serve as an outlet for the Roaring Fork Valley and Colorado River Latino communities to voice their opinions regarding issues concerning public lands.

To welcome the new Defiende program, Wilderness Workshop will host The Latinos For Public Lands Community Party Saturday from 1-3 p.m. in Sayre Park in Glenwood Springs.

The free event will include barbecue, corn hole, volleyball, basketball and live music from Sleepy Justice, as well as brief comments about current threats to public lands and what can be done to protect them.

The Defiende program aims to develop strong, long-lasting relationships with local Latinos in an effort to identify public land issues affecting their communities.

"We wouldn't have been able to achieve all our past successes conserving public lands over the last 50 years without direct engagement," Community Organizer Alicia Zeringue said in a press release.

"The Latino population is overwhelmingly supportive of protecting the environment and preserving public lands, yet they are also the most under-engaged demographic by 'green' groups," she said.

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"Thanks to an eager funder, that is about to change," Zeringue said. "We expect to grow the Defiende program over time. We will initially focus on a community-building strategy including Latino-targeted events, hikes, educational opportunities and a whole lot of one-on-one conversations with both everyday citizens and community leaders.

After the initial outreach phase, she said the plan is to fully incorporate Defiende into WW's broader organizing and advocacy framework, while also highlighting the public lands issues that are of concern to the Latino community."

For more information about The Latinos for Public Lands Community Party, visit wildernessworkshop.org/communityparty.