top of page

Protecting Nature, Preserving Culture: the Intersection of Environmentalism and Heritage Conservation
[Theme: Region and Rights]

Congreso 2022

This session will explore the connections between the natural environment and Latinx history and culture. Where does our work as Latinx environmental and heritage conservationists overlap? How are our goals and visions for the future intertwined? Hear the perspectives of three Latinx environmental conservation leaders.


Laura Navar, National Parks Conservation Association

Ean Tafoya, Green Latinos

Jerry Otero, Grand Canyon National Trust

Beatriz Soto, Protégete

I am an immigrant woman, proud to be Oaxacan and have strong indigenous roots. My single mother taught me to be independent and to forge my own path. My family is full of food lovers, nature respecting, hardworking people. I am grateful for living a rich life full of different experiences. Some jobs I have worked include being a cashier, nanny, organizer for immigrant rights and education, protect manager etc. In my twenties I realized my real passion is nature in all its forms. I volunteered for Latino Outdoors and People for Mobility Justice to gain experience in connecting my community to nature. Crossing over from the field of education to a green career as a Garden Manager responsible for 8 gardens in LA county. In 2016 I began working for the National Parks Conservation Association. I continue to grow in my role and am committed to connect more people to local and national parks, especially those like me who are underrepresented.

Ean is active in Denver Public Affairs, Colorado Public Policy, and Federal Environmental Policy. He has worked for three branches of local government, run for Denver City Council, and has directed many local and state political races. He currently holds contracts for the Colorado Water and Climate Organizer for the national non-profit GreenLatinos. In addition to being a small business owner, Ean serves in leadership roles on several municipal advisory committees and service organizations such as the Denver Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation, Historic Denver, and the Colorado Latino Forum. He has received recognition for his work from both the Denver Regional Council of Governments and the Regional Air Quality Council. He loves to dance whether it be at a concert or in politics!

Jerry is the Legislative and Policy Director at the Grand Canyon Trust. A fourth-generation Coloradan, Jerry was born and raised in Fruita, and resides in western Colorado. He previously served as the senior energy analyst for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) working on energy policy connected to national parks across the country. In addition, Jerry served as the national co-chair of NPCA's justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiative from 2017-2020. Jerry also served on the staff of three United States senators, most recently as an aide and advisor to Senator Mark Udall of Colorado until 2015.

Beatriz is Protégete Director at Conservation Colorado. She has worked at the intersection of community building, social justice and working towards a stable climate for the past two decades. Beatriz is a LEED certified architect that worked on a variety of energy related projects, from Net-Zero affordable housing to high performance straw bale homes, sustainable developments in the pacific coast of Mexico, as well as providing professional trainings with the US and the Mexican Green Building Councils. She is former Director of Defiende Nuestra Tierra for The Wilderness Workshop, also a co-founding member of Voces Unidas de las Montañas, first non-profit organization in the central mountain region, made up of Latinx leaders that helps create opportunities for Latinos to speak and advocate for themselves.

bottom of page