Connecting Cultures: Engaging Latinos in Science Education
Connecting Cultures Newsletter 
from Environment for the Americas

August 2011
In This Issue
Project Participants
2011 Interns
N.M. Fires Postpone Project
Meet an Advisory Council Member
Calendar of Events
Project Participants

Colorado State University
National Park Service
Point Reyes Bird Observatory
New Jersey Audubon Society
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
Barr Lake State Park

Wendy Hanophy
Edwin Juarez
  Arizona Game & Fish Department
Kim Ramirez
  Audubon Fellow
Michael Rizo
  USDA Forest Service
Greg Stevens
  American Association of Museums
Fernando Villaba
  National Park Service

Bandelier National Monument
  New Mexico
Golden Gate Nat'l Recreation Area/Point Reyes Nat'l Seashore
Fire Island National Seashore
  New York
North Cascades National Park
New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route
  New Jersey
Barr Lake State Park

Great Sand Dunes National
Park & Preserve
Big Thicket National Preserve
Big Cypress National Preserve

CO-Principal Investigator
Carol Beidleman
  National Park Service, Park Flight 
  Migratory Bird Program


Mariamar Gutiérrez

Natasha Kerr

Brett Bruyere
Marcella Wells
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Environment for the Americas (EFTA) is examining the barriers to participation in informal science education by Latino/Hispanic audiences in a 3-year project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In 2009, using International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) as the focus of the study, we conducted community surveys at 6 sites across the U.S., monitoring attendance at IMBD events and developing tools to help educators improve their outreach. In 2011, we are working with event organizers to implement the recommendations of survey respondents to improve outreach to Latino/Hispanic communities. Thank you for your interest!  

Susan Bonfield  
Susan Bonfield
Environment for the Americas

Daniela Salvatierra (r) works 
with NPS Ranger/Interpreter Kelli English to reach Latino communities in the San Francisco Bay area. 


 Meet the 2011 Interns


The 2011 National Park Service Park Flight interns hailed from Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Bolivia.  Each worked hard at project study sites to improve community awareness of national parks and the education programs and events within these parks.  Their outreach included providing programs at local schools and community centers, leading programs for Latino youth and families in the parks, working with community leaders, and providing information via media, including radio, television, and newspaper.


Learn more about the accomplishments this spring and listen to a live interview with Daniela Salvatierra about International Migratory Bird Day in Golden Gate National Recreation Area (see link on right side). 

Many thanks to the 2011 interns!

North Cascades National Park: Carlos Gonzalez, Mexico

New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail:  Sara Ocasio, Puerto Rico, U.S.  

Fire Island National Seashore:  Veronica Pacheco,  Venezuela  

Point Reyes National Seashore/Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Daniela Salvatierra, Bolivia

New Mexico Fires Postpone Project       
Fires shut down Bandelier National Monument

As the fires in New Mexico approached Bandelier National
Bandelier Fire

Fires affect Bandelier National  

Monument and project efforts.

Monument, Park Flight Migratory Bird Program  interns from Argentina and Peru were packing their bags to join the project.  Once in New Mexico, their goal was to follow-up on the efforts of Laila Yunes and Andres Peña, the 2010 interns, by reaching out to Latino communities in the nearby town of Española. 

As the fires entered the park, however project coordinators and park staff worked together to make the difficult decision to delay efforts until 2012. Over 50% of the park was affected, and most areas will remain closed for the foreseeable future.  With this uncertainty, the interns unpacked their bags with the promise that their positions would be held until next year.

From 2009 to 2010, our work with Bandelier National Monument and Latino communities in the nearby town of Española and the more distant cities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque have been extremely successful.  Latino participation in the fall nature festival increased from 4.8% in 2009 to 31.6% in 2010. 
Advisory Council Highlight
Mike Rizo, Program Specialist, USDA Forest Service
Mike Rizo
Advisory council members take part in regular conference calls and attend annual meetings to review the progress of this study.  Council member Mike Rizo goes above and beyond his official responsibilities to review outreach materials and even incorporate education about birds in his own work. 

Mike was drawn to the NSF project because he works to connect the science world with communities, with a focus on encouraging Latinos to participate in nature-based activities.   This spring, Mike worked with Chicago's El Valor Center and other organizations to introduce Latino families to birds.  The outreach culminated in a bird parade, with children dressed as birds (see more great photos).

Pink Bird CostumesMike's enthusiasm and knowledge have been helpful to the project, and as he states, the results of the study will benefit the US Forest Service and other agencies.
I am impressed with the caliber of the EFTA staff, members of the advisory committee, and Park Flight Migratory Bird Program interns.  Besides contributing my experiences to the project, I have learned immensely from their diverse experiences.  The results of this work are directly applicable to USFS outreach with diverse audiences not only in the US, but in other countries. 
Calendar of Events  
August 31, 2011
Carlos Gonzalez returns home to Sonora, Mexico after a successful internship in North Cascades National Park   

September 10, 2011

Barr Lake Bird Fest hosted at Barr Lake State Park 


September 17, 2011 

University of Colorado Museum of Natural History pilots a family day with outreach to Latino communities  


September 22, 2011

Project partners meeting Boulder, CO


September 23, 2011 

Project Advisory Council meets in Boulder, CO 


About Environment for the Americas

Environment for the Americas, home of International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), is a non-profit organization working to increase awareness of birds and their conservation throughout the Western Hemisphere. We provide the framework and education materials for bird festivals and events, host a directory of bird education resources, offer bird workshops for educators, and motivate people of all ages to get outdoors to learn about birds. Find out more at

Environment for the Americas
Home of International Migratory Bird Day

2129 13th Street, Suite I
Boulder, Colorado 80302