Tu Casa at Patuxent Research Refuge
Hispanic Access Foundation intern, Abraham Lopez Trejo is right at home and doing what he loves best at Patuxent Research Refuge. Be sure to join us all summer as we hear from our interns about their work and experience.
As time passes and cities grow and become more heavy populated, a concerning disconnection from nature becomes greater with each generation. Thankfully, we have organizations like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that have made their goal not only to protect wildlife but also to bring nature back into our daily lives. This quest to find the equilibrium has translated into a partnership between the Service and Hispanic Access Foundation. This is when a group of thirteen young Latinos, including myself, have become the fruit of this partnership.
As an intern, myself, I have happily accepted the invitation to be that piece that connects the Latino communities in urban areas to nature. Personally, I believe strongly in the power of community engagement to improve the way of life of the public, and this internship presents this opportunity.
Although, it has been only a couple of weeks since I started my internship I cannot help to feel like I am at “casa” (home) at Patuxent National Research Refuge. This warm feeling of community that can be experience at Patuxent its only possible because of hard work that everyone does at Patuxent. It is stunning to see so many faces willing to be the change in this world. This is reflected on the hard work and passion that goes into their educational programs and their outreach to the urban community.
As a part of this change, and as Hispanic Access Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intern, I will be playing a key part, by encouraging the younger Latinx and non-Latinx generations on being active members of their communities. All this is a coordinated effort between many parties to lift underserved communities (in this case south Baltimore city area).
As an intern at Patuxent, I’ll working at the National Wildlife Refuge Welcome Center. However, half of the time, I will be working as well with Chesapeake Bay Field Office, on community engagement in south Baltimore. So far there is a plan to work in community engagement in neighborhoods like Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Westport. Also, if time allows, we are envisioning to work in parks like Carroll Park creating pollinator gardens and planting native wildflower species.
Recently, we have been encounter a great opportunity to work with the YMCA. After contacting the YMCA, we have found a couple of schools in south Baltimore and near Patuxent that might be able to join us for Latino Conservation Week events.
Besides planning for Latino Conservation Week and future events, we have participated with the Chesapeake Bay Field Office in events like Play in the Park Day; where we teach kids about nature and simple ways to entertain yourself outside. We have also participated in fishing events at Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge and Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center. Also, there has been a great opportunity learn about barn owls and osprey.
Likewise, I have the great opportunity to be working as a team with JoAnna Marlow (the other Hispanic Access Foundation intern at Patuxent National Research Refuge). Working as a team has improve the efforts on outreach events for the community and creating connections with possible partners. There has been a lot of learning and growth in the last couple of weeks as I become more aware of the responsibilities and efforts that are required to engage the community and educate them.