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ANS and US Forest Service Celebrate Latino Conservation Week

NEWS ALERT

  ANS & U.S. Forest Service Link Up for First-Time Celebration of #LatinoConservationWeek

Helping to erase invisibility of the community is a goal

For Immediate Release: July 16, 2021
For more information, contact Caroline Brewer, caroline.brewer@anshome.org or 301-652-9188, ext. 23, Lisa Goodnight, lglisagoodnight@gmail.com or 301-523-5394 or serenella.linares@anshome.org.

CHEVY CHASE, MD – When most Americans think of the great outdoors, images of Latinx families in parks, on hikes, talking meteorology, or the science of insects don’t often come to mind. Enter Latino Conservation Week in 2014, with a mission to change that, and increase the visibility of what the Latinx community has been doing forever, connecting to nature in every way possible.

Latino Conservation Week 2021 runs July 17- 25, and ANS is offering the chance to meet ANS Adult Programs Director Serenella Linares, a Latina who makes learning about fungi and other natural wonders a great adventure!

Linares, co-chair of ANS’s Naturally Latinos Conference, is leading local efforts to mark the first Latino Conservation Week at ANS, in partnership with offices of the U.S. Forest Service, Urban and Community Forestry, Civil Rights, Wilderness/Wild & Scenic Rivers and Defensores de la Cuenca.

Linares, the first Latina member of ANS's senior staff, is available for tours at ANS’s headquarters and nature sanctuary. ANS speakers will address during evening Zoom talks the queer Latinx experience in the environmental movement, Latinx and the American Jobs plan, and fighting the good fight, locally, for Latinx communities. The week culminates Sunday with the FREE Bilingual Nature Walk at Rust Nature Sanctuary in Loudon County. Registration is required.

Latino Conservation Week was created to support the Latino community getting into the outdoors, participating in activities to protect our natural resources, and has helped expand their visibility and raise awareness of Latinx environmental contributions.

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

ANS and US Forest Service Celebrate Latino Conservation Week

TNB Statement

NEWS ALERT

Statement from Lisa Alexander, Executive Director of the Audubon Naturalist Society,
and Caroline Brewer, Chairwoman of the Taking Nature Black Conference:

For Immediate Release: February 16, 2021
For more information, contact Caroline Brewer, caroline.brewer@anshome.org or 301-652-9188, ext. 23

Due to the serious and criminal allegations of sexual assault that have arisen against a birder and panelist for the upcoming Taking Nature Black Conference, the Audubon Naturalist Society has rescinded its invitation to him to participate in the conference.

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Dr. Karen Wilson-AmaEchefu

Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu is a Harlem native who engages in public speaking. Hmmm. Public speaking? More like public humming, singing, skipping, dancing, tripping, questioning, challenging, inspiring, inciting, chuckling, telling, quelling, woofing, hoofing, winkling, twinkling, traveling, messin' 'round, tweeting, elucidating, howling, equivocating, trilling, thrilling, pontificating, poetry-making, risk-taking, reporting, cavorting, and telling the truth as she understands it to be. Karen also sings music across the historical spectrum of the African Diaspora in the United States including spirituals, calls, jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues. She curated, wrote and premiered, “A Tribute to Blueswomen: Beauty and the Blues” with her group, Blue Wave – New York. In collaboration with her musical director Stephen Vaughan, she developed a new genre called Story Cabaret for Blue Wave West, presenting original, traditional and contemporary stories all wrapped up in jazz, blues and singable tunes. Dr. Wilson-Ama’ Echefu has traveled and performed with Pete Seeger and her performance of Paul Laurence Dunbar's "The Party" was broadcast on PBS as part of their "Favorite Poem Project." She was a featured presenter at the 2010 Blues and Spirit Symposium alongside legendary Hip Hop Artist Chuck D, and other notable music and history giants, and has spoken and presented on the intellectual and cultural life in the African American Slave Quarter Community on college campuses across the United States. Dr. Wilson-Ama’ Echefu's research interests include African cultural and religious history, eighteenth and nineteenth-century enslavement in the United States, leadership and strategy in slave quarter communities, and the philosophies and theologies of Africans and their descendants in the Western Hemisphere as identified through their song, story and dance.

Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu is a Harlem native who engages in public speaking. Hmmm. Public speaking? More like public humming, singing, skipping, dancing, tripping, questioning, challenging, inspiring, inciting, chuckling, telling, quelling, woofing, hoofing, winkling, twinkling, traveling, messin' 'round, tweeting, elucidating, howling, equivocating, trilling, thrilling, pontificating, poetry-making, risk-taking, reporting, cavorting, and telling the truth as she understands it to be. Karen also sings music across the historical spectrum of the African Diaspora in the United States including spirituals, calls, jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues. She curated, wrote and premiered, “A Tribute to Blueswomen: Beauty and the Blues” with her group, Blue Wave – New York. In collaboration with her musical director Stephen Vaughan, she developed a new genre called Story Cabaret for Blue Wave West, presenting original, traditional and contemporary stories all wrapped up in jazz, blues and singable tunes.

Dr. Wilson-Ama’ Echefu has traveled and performed with Pete Seeger and her performance of Paul Laurence Dunbar's "The Party" was broadcast on PBS as part of their "Favorite Poem Project." She was a featured presenter at the 2010 Blues and Spirit Symposium alongside legendary Hip Hop Artist Chuck D, and other notable music and history giants, and has spoken and presented on the intellectual and cultural life in the African American Slave Quarter Community on college campuses across the United States. Dr. Wilson-Ama’ Echefu's research interests include African cultural and religious history, eighteenth and nineteenth-century enslavement in the United States, leadership and strategy in slave quarter communities, and the philosophies and theologies of Africans and their descendants in the Western Hemisphere as identified through their song, story and dance.

Nature for All Groundbreaking

NEWS ALERT

Elected Leaders From Maryland Join ANS in $4 Million Groundbreaking

Renovated Stream, Pond, Forest and New Accessible Trail Add Rare Amenity to Nature Spaces

For Immediate Release December 18, 2020

For more information, contact Communications Director Caroline Brewer at caroline.brewer@anshome.org or 240-899-9019, or lglisagoodnight@gmail.com, or 301-523-5394

CHEVY CHASE, MD – The Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) is on the path to enhancing the DC region’s vaunted status as one of the most accessible regions in the United States. Nine local, state, and federal elected officials joined ANS leaders and board members today in person and via video for the official groundbreaking of ANS’s Nature for All project.  A key feature of the $4 million project is installation of a rare-in-this-region wheelchair-accessible trail at Woodend Nature Sanctuary, 8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase, MD, the headquarters of ANS.

Nature for All has begun with restoration of the eroded banks of Clean Drinking Stream and the accessible nature trail made of permeable bonded gravel that will soak up stormwater and prevent flooding. When completed, the project will include English and Spanish nature interpretation, forest restoration and an accessible Nature Play Space for children.

ANS Executive Director Lisa Alexander said, “At this critical time, when people need nature to de-stress from our pandemic-laden world, we are excited to create an accessible trail that will enable people of all abilities to experience 25 acres of the four habitats at Woodend: our stream, pond, forest and meadow. Woodend will be one of the only destinations in the DC metro region where people who use mobility assistance devices can experience these healing spaces.”

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, who shared remarks via video said,  “At a time when the outdoors is the healthiest place to be for our physical, mental and emotional health, this inclusive project will ensure that all individuals of all abilities will be able to experience the varied habitats of the local urban oasis at Woodend Sanctuary.”

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen honored ANS with a Citation, “In recognition of ANS’s outstanding commitment to making nature more accessible to all Marylanders, with appreciation for its efforts to help our community appreciate, understand, and protect our natural environment through environmental education and advocacy, and with gratitude for all it does to enrich our community.”

ANS Board President Nancy Pielemeier shared the senators’ remarks during the ceremony. 

Maryland State Delegate Jeff Waldstriecher said “I am deeply grateful to the Woodend Nature Sanctuary for their dedication to protecting our natural environment through outdoor experiences and education.  It was my honor to work with the entire District 18 Team (Delegates Carr, Shetty, Solomon and me) to secure funding for this project.”

Maryland State Delegate Al Carr added, “By designing the projects to include stream restoration, a wheelchair accessible nature trail and permeable parking, ANS has shown true leadership in making this regional treasure even more accessible and environmentally friendly.“

Jared Solomon, Maryland’s District 18 State Delegate, said, “I am proud my colleagues and I successfully secured funding for the Audubon Naturalist Society’s essential “Nature for All” project. It embodies all that we value here in Montgomery County – preservation and protection of our parks and streams, and accessibility for all. This will be a true oasis for everyone in our community.”

Montgomery County Executive Mark Elrich (pictured) said, “Montgomery County is proud to partner with ANS.  We have a responsibility to preserve our beautiful, fragile natural resources and to educate our community about the importance of protecting the environment.  ANS is central to that work.”

Montgomery County Council Vice President Albornoz said, “As our environment experiences cycles of change, it is essential that we continue to support green initiatives such as Nature for All in order to preserve our natural resources for future generations.”

Montgomery County Councilmember Evan Glass said, "Accessibility to these parks and trails is essential for full and fair utilization and enjoyment. I applaud the Audubon Naturalist Society for leading the way toward creating more sustainable and accessible environmental programming for everyone to enjoy."

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando delivered remarks (via video). “I’m very proud of the work that you’re doing to inform the public about the environment and the importance of protecting it, and including historically disadvantaged and underrepresented and groups in your efforts to make sure that we reveal all the great things in nature.”

Beth Ziebarth, a member of ANS’s Board of Directors and Director of Access for the Smithsonian, who uses a wheelchair, observed that, “With an accessible nature trail, we have the opportunity to provide all people in our region, including veterans at Walter Reed and schoolchildren, with the opportunity to relax, heal and learn in nature.”

ANS Director of Restoration and Education, Alison Pearce, noted that, “During this time when people of all ages are working on screens all the time, having a place where people of all backgrounds and abilities can enjoy and learn about nature is so important.”

Nature for All is being made possible by generous individuals and foundations, such as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the France Merrick Foundation, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland State Highways Administration, Maryland State Bond Bills, Montgomery County Capital grants and hundreds of members and supporters.

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

NLC3 Regional Abel Olivo

Naturally Latinos 3 - Abel Olivo


Regional Environmental Champion


 

Naturally Latinos Regional Environmental Champion Abel Olivo

Abel Olivo

Co-founder and Executive Director, Defensores De La Cuenca

Abel Olivo (he/him/el) is a dedicated promoter of environmental education and access to nature for the well-being of Latin@ communities. A long-time resident of the Washington, D.C. area, Olivo has animated many organizations with his expertise in government affairs, education, and the environment. Most recently, he has co-founded Defensores De La Cuenca to celebrate and strengthen Latin@ recreational access to the region’s watersheds and popular understanding of watershed ecology. As an innovator in creating environmental experiences for Latin@s, Olivo presented his insights at the North American Association for Environmental Education in October 2019. Olivo also served as Director for Community Outreach and Partnerships for Corazón Latino, a national organization promoting environmental access; he draws on years of experience as a lobbyist for this role.

Olivo’s activism centers on Prince George’s County, Maryland, where Latin@ residents have increasingly found a home, representing a growth of 7%-20% of the county population during 2000-2020. Olivo has nurtured Latin@s by creating and supporting many opportunities for children and families to access nature, for example by serving on the planning committee of the popular Festival del Rio Anacostia in years past, or by coordinating park clean-ups, during this COVID era. or by teaching youth environmental education through Project Learning Tree. He also shares his methods with regional professionals, such as through the online workshop he co-led at the 15th annual Chesapeake Environmental Forum, in October, titled “Meaningful Connections to the Latino Community.”

For abundant energy, creativity and effectiveness at engaging the Latino community, Audubon Naturalist Society is honored to celebrate Abel Olivo as a Regional Champion.

NL3-LOCAL-Carlos-Lam


Local Environmental Champion


 

Naturally Latinos Local Environmental Champion Carlos Lam

Carlos Lam

Founder & President, Asociación Guatemaltecos Sin Fronteras

Director of Community Outreach, Defensores de la Cuenca

As Founder and President of the Asociación Guatemaltecos Sin Fronteras, Carlos Lam works tirelessly to support the underserved in the Latino community. He runs campaigns to assist those in need after natural disasters in Central America and to assist communities at home hit hard by COVID-19. Lam’s activism does not stop there. He is the Director of Community Outreach for Defensores de la Cuenca, an organization that is dedicated to connecting the Latine community with the natural world.

Lam, whose community activism began at a young age in Guatemala, has been serving underrepresented communities for most of his life. His gateway into community advocacy began in his early teens, during Las Posadas, when he was invited by church youth to participate in a gift drive for children. That experience led him to participate in community outreach through the church, that led to a series of events that brought him and his advocacy to the United States.

Lam, who studied political science, philosophy, and theology, in addition to spending five years studying to become a Catholic Priest, understood that his calling was to participate in the Latino community to support social justice and grow community participation in environmental issues. He worked for over a decade and a half in the non-profit sector across Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica promoting socio-economic equity. In Guatemala, he worked to keep young people out of gangs and away from drugs by running youth camps and coordinating recreational activities, all while sharing the importance of taking care of the Earth. Lam also worked on a UNESCO project promoting the culture of Guatemala and peace building in a torn community. “This was important because after 35 years of conflict in Guatemala, there was a lot of division, so I worked teaching communication and tolerance,” says Lam. Lack of economic opportunities and violence toward Lam’s family, including the murder of his younger brother, led him to the decision to immigrate to the US in 2004.

Drawing from his life’s work, Lam integrates environmental conservation into the Latino community and by connecting the community, the culture, and the environment, he has created capacity across the Maryland and DC region for Latinx participation, “We cannot talk about any of the things without the other, it’s all connected.” He has focused his efforts and talents on supporting the Latinx community and environmental stewardship at local and region levels, throughout the DC metropolitan region. As a partner of regional conservation organizations, such as the Anacostia Watershed Society, he has connected Latinx businesses with area festivals such as the Festival del Rio Anacostia. His connections have put aspects of Guatemalan culture, such as music and folk dancing in the spotlight. As Director of Community Outreach for Defensores de la Cuenca, he has been able to connect his humanitarian efforts within the Latino community with his passion for environmental advocacy. Lam enriches the community by connecting the public with regional greenspaces, coordinating outreach events, and encouraging members of Latinx communities to become environmental stewards. His work unifying the social and environmental spheres is what makes him a Naturally Latinos Environmental Champion. 

NL3-NATiONAL-Karen-Ramos

Naturally Latinos 3 - Karen Ramos


National Environmental Champion


 

Naturally Latinos National Environmental Champion Karen Ramos

Karen Ramos

Founder, Get Out Stay Out/Vamos Afuera and Naturechola.com

Karen Ramos is a social media influencer who advocates for Latinx people and Indigenous peoples and their representation in the conservation field. Previously self-described as a “non activist, non radical, white washed, “normal” person, who didn’t want to ruffle any feathers, offend anyone, or stir the pot…” Ramos had an awakening which led her to come to terms with the insecurities and the trauma of discrimination she faced as a person of color. Growing from that experience, she found the courage and energy she needed to form the nonprofit Get Out Stay Out/Vamos Afuera, an organization committed to serving migrant indigenous populations of the Central Coast. From there, Nature Chola was born.

Nature Chola is a platform that Ramos built to amplify a variety of social and environmental justice issues. Accessibility, #FakeVanLife, and being a person of color in the great outdoors, are just a few of the topics she covers. Ramos says that “navigating this space is truly a privilege” and that she is learning daily and failing, but learning from those fails. Her humility, influence, and advocacy for people of color in green spaces are what make her a Naturally Latinos Environmental Champion.

NL3-Youth-Carlos-Sanchez

Naturally Latinos 3 - Carlos Sanchez


Youth Environmental Champion


 

Naturally Latinos Youth Environmental Champion Carlos Sanchez Gonzalez

Carlos Sanchez Gonzalez

Sophomore, Benjamin Franklin High School

Carlos Sanchez Gonzalez is currently a sophomore at Benjamin Franklin High School in Baltimore City.  In early 2019, he began his journey with Free Your Voice, a youth advocacy group that focuses on human rights and the struggle for environmental justice. 

Carlos and his colleagues helped to form the South Baltimore Community Land Trust which is a tool used to address the vacant and blighted land that we see throughout the city. In addition, Carlos and the other members of Free Your Voice were instrumental in the creation of the very first Fair Development Plan for Zero Waste which places an emphasis on equity and ensuring underserved communities are no longer dumping grounds. 

From his involvement, Carlos has been actively advocating for and testifying at city council hearings about the need to end incineration in Baltimore City and pursue a Zero Waste Future.  Carlos has always been a leader in his community and continues to advocate for clean air, which is a human right.   

Carlos has been featured in various films including Unbreathable and most recently was featured in the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Master Zero Waste Plan video. 

NL3-Jorge-Bogantes

Jorge Bogantes Montero

Jorge Bogantes Montero

Natural Resources Specialist, Anacostia Watershed Society

Jorge Bogantes Montero is a Natural Resources Specialist at the Anacostia Watershed Society in Bladensburg, MD. He leads ecological restoration efforts on public parklands in the Anacostia River watershed, including wetland restoration, tree plantings, meadow creation, SAV propagation, mussel propagation, wildlife monitoring, and invasive plant management.

Mr. Bogantes Montero earned his Bachelor's degree in Natural Resource Management and Protection at the Universidad Estatal a Distancia in San Jose, Costa Rica, his native country. Before moving to the U.S., Jorge worked in Costa Rica on tropical biodiversity conservation. 

NL3-Serenella-Linares

Serenella Linares

Manager of Virtual Programs, Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS)

Co-Chair, Naturally Latinos

As Manager of Virtual Programs at Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) and Co-Chair of Naturally Latinos, Serenella Linares is dedicated to sparking curiosity about nature and inspiring nature stewardship through environmental education. Serenella is known around ANS for being an expert in two things: making learning fun (for children and adults) and mycology (mushroom knowledge).  

Serenella Linares has been working with ANS since 2015 and was recently promoted to Virtual Programs Manager. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Linares developed a series of virtual programs that included bilingual videos that could be used as educational tools for both English and Spanish speakers simultaneously. Serenella also manages the Naturalist Hour talks series, in which experts and nature enthusiasts come together to learn and stay connected online. Her previous work at ANS includes collaborating with schools to deliver curriculum-based environmental education programs, establishing field trip scholarships for title one schools and Spanish speaking children at ANS, and teaching nature-themed summer camps. 

Prior to joining ANS, Ms. Linares worked as an assistant park naturalist with the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation from 2011-2016 at an urban nature center serving predominantly African-American and Hispanic communities. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Universidad Metropolitana de Puerto Rico, a Master’s degree in atmospheric science from Howard University, and graduate training in mycology from University of Maryland. When Ms. Linares is not teaching, she explores urban natural areas, photographs plants, insects, and fungi, and participates in citizen science projects.