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National Park Service Chesapeake & Corazón Latino Launch New Partnership

Funding to support engagement of Chesapeake’s Latinx communities

Annapolis, Md. – The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office (NPS) and Corazón Latino today announce a new partnership to engage the Chesapeake watershed’s Latinx and Hispanic communities with the region’s special places.

NPS and Corazón Latino will collaborate in developing culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate materials and experiences for Latinx communities at sites within the NPS Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network (Chesapeake Gateways Network). More than 300 cultural, historical, natural and recreational parks and sites across the Chesapeake watershed participate in the partnership-based Chesapeake Gateways Network.

Over eight percent of the 18 million residents of the Chesapeake watershed are of Hispanic or Latinx descent. Latinx and Hispanic families are avid park users with deep connections to the outdoors and strong support for conservation. This shows in the robust Latinx visitation at some of the most visited state and local parks in the Chesapeake region.

“We are excited to launch a long-term relationship and collaboration with Corazón Latino to more meaningfully engage with Latinx communities across the Chesapeake watershed,” said Superintendent Wendy O’Sullivan, NPS Chesapeake Bay Office. “Together we will develop new programs, tools, and resources to support hundreds of Chesapeake partners as they continue to locally connect with Latinx communities and expand culturally relevant opportunities around watershed-wide recreation, education, restoration, and stewardship.”

For the first year of the partnership, the NPS Chesapeake Gateways program is providing $163,125, which Corazón Latino is matching with an additional $86,934 of non-federal resources. In collaboration with NPS, Corazón Latino will use these funds to advance inclusive access and community stewardship through:

  • Learning about the varying range of local-level Latinx community profiles, cultures, customs, and networks in the Chesapeake watershed;
  • Connecting with national, regional and local grassroots Latinx organizations working in the Chesapeake watershed to collaborate on engaging people with the Gateways Network;
  • Deploying cultural competency training and developing an outreach plan and materials to support Chesapeake partners as they continue to engage Latinx communities in recreation, education and stewardship;
  • Developing a transcreation of the NPS FindYourChesapeake.com website in Spanish-language; and
  • Planning and hosting community events with Chesapeake partners to connect with local and regional Latinx communities virtually or at Chesapeake Gateway sites once it is safe to gather again in large groups.

“We are thrilled to begin a collaborative partnership with the National Park Service in the Chesapeake Bay region to help Chesapeake partners engage surrounding communities to create more inclusive parks where families can connect with nature, recreate, improve their health, and become natural resources stewards for our public lands,” said Felipe Benítez, Executive Director of Corazón Latino

The new partnership acknowledges that Latinx communities are not ’one size fits all.’ There are important cultural and identity differences depending on if people have heritage links to countries in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, or elsewhere. Each has their own proud traditions to celebrate.

“There’s a lot of common ground in language and culture and Corazón Latino’s goal is to find those elements that make it unique, appealing and inspiring,” said Benitez. “We are really eager to work with NPS to engage individuals, families, and communities to enjoy the land and water and become inspired to then care for and protect their natural world whether it’s by gathering with family outdoors, planting a tree, recreating responsibly, or by participating in a community discussion about their local creek or river.”

To celebrate the collaboration, Corazón Latino is hosting a virtual concert on Sunday that will feature world-class tenor Jesús Daniel Hernández, Michael Bard and Deborah Benner from Dúo Caliente. This performance will be broadcasted live from Corazón Latino Facebook page on Sunday, July 26 at 8 PM ET.

For media inquiries, contact Wendy O'Sullivan at (202) 374-9051, wosullivan@nps.gov; or Chelsea Mervenne at (616) 826-1868, chelsea@corazonlatino.us.

Last updated: July 27, 2020