by Barbie Levasseur, Executive Vice President, South San Francisco Education Foundation
As Baden Continuation High School students walked on the field to participate in the ropes course at San Bruno Mountain Park, most of them seemed cautious, but excited. For many of them this was their first field trip since elementary school. Not all of them had their curiosity piqued though. I noticed two students standing off to the side nonchalantly. When I introduced myself to Leo*, he jokingly gave me a fake name as his friend, Ella*, was getting a replacement name tag. “Did you lose the first one?” asked Jo, one of the Thornton Wilderness School Students who runs the ropes course. “No,” replied Ella, “I just… threw it…” Unfazed, Jo wrote Ella’s name on a new nametag and passed it to her with a smile. She’d probably seen this scene enough times before to foresee the transformation about to occur.
The San Mateo County Parks Foundation kicked off our first Latino Conservation Week event, Caminata en la Naturaleza y Tacos at Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve, on Saturday, July 15, 2023, in collaboration with the Hispanic Access Foundation, San Mateo County Parks, Friends of Edgewood, Redwood City Together, and San Mateo County Health. Latino Conservation Week (LCW) is an initiative of the Hispanic Access Foundation and has a goal of engaging and shining a spotlight on the Latino/e community’s strong conservation values. LCW provides an opportunity for the Latino/e community to enjoy the outdoors while learning how to protect our natural resources. This year, Latino Conservation Week was from Saturday, July 15th through Sunday, July 23rd with events happening nationwide. Since this was the first time the Parks Foundation hosted an event for LCW, we decided to pitch the opportunity at the North Fair Oaks Children’s Collaborative for Community Success Neighborhood Action Team (CCCSNAT) meeting. We were seeking a local organization that served people who had yet to experience their first field trip to a San Mateo County Park. After presenting to CCCSNAT, we received a request from Upward Scholars.