Last week was Latino Conservation Week, when hundreds of events took place around the country to celebrate and honor Hispanics’ ancestral connections to the outdoors and stewardship of the land. No other event exemplifies this more than the clean-up of High Point canyon in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Northern New Mexico. The event was spearheaded by HECHO Advisory Board Chairman Rock Ulibarri, whose family has lived in the Las Vegas area for seven generations, along with HECHO Advisory Board member Kent Salazar, volunteers from Hermit's Peak Watershed Alliance, Casa Cultura, San Miguel County, and more.
“The canyon is very, very steep, and it’s a huge dumping site,” said Rock. “Just looking at it I didn’t think we could clean it up in just one day – but we did!” Dozens of volunteers including firefighters, young people, county inmates from the detention center and more filled a 30-yard container with car doors, couches, mattress box springs and tons of wrappers and other trash. The heavy lifting was done by volunteer firefighters from the Gallinas, Sapello, Tecolote and Ilfeld Fire Departments who were practicing their rope rescue training by hauling trash out of the canyon. “We cooked hot dogs, had lunch and talked about our love for the land, its history and our deep cultural connection,” said Rock. “That was real stewardship of our land.”
As part of HECHO’s weekend events, Rock also organized a film screening of the Latino Outdoors film “Estamos Aqui”; a camping trip with s’mores and hot chocolate at Porvenir; and a Sunday morning hike near the campgrounds. All in all a huge success!
The weekend of events highlighted HECHO’s work to protect health watersheds, clean air, and robust wildlife habitats so that current and future generations of Hispanics can enjoy and practice centuries-old cultural traditions that depend on protected public lands.
More about Latino Conservation Week: Latino Conservation Week -- Disfrutando y Conservando Nuestra Tierra -- was created to support the Latino community getting into the outdoors and participating in activities to protect our natural resources. During this week, community, non-profit, faith-based, and government organizations and agencies hold events throughout the country. From hiking and camping to community roundtables and film screenings, these activities promote conservation efforts and provide an opportunity for Latinos to show their support for permanently protecting our land, water, and air. For more information please visit latinoconservationweek.com.