Who We Are

Latino Outdoors Audience, Partners, and Contributors

  • Latino Outdoor Education Professionals
  • Spanish-speaking, English-speaking, and Bilingual Latinos
  • First & Second Generation Youth, Familias, and Elders
  • Self-Identifying Latinos, Chicanos, Hispanics
  • Supporting Organizations: Conservation & Environmental organizations and  Latino organizations

Latino Outdoors Volunteer Staff

Jose González – Founder/Director, Nationwide

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Jose González is an experienced educator in formal and informal education settings with an array of associated interests in the arts, education, conservation, and the environment. He has broad experience as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. He received his B.A at the University of California, Davis, and his M.S at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment. His teaching credential coursework was at the Bilingual Multicultural Education Department at California State University, Sacramento.

As a public school teacher, he taught courses in Spanish, Social Studies, Behavior Intervention for at-risk youth, and English Language Development in middle school and high school settings. As a Program Coordinator at San Jose State University with the California Mini-Corps Program, he trained and led groups of undergraduate students providing direct instructional services to migrant students in partner school districts and in outdoor education programs. At the University of Michigan, School of Education, he was an instructor for science education in their undergraduate program. Recently, at the National Hispanic University, he has taught course on Science Methods, Math Methods, Primary & Secondary Language Development, Latino Culture, and Technology Integration at the Teacher Education Department.

In his capacity developing LO, Jose looks forward to opportunities and collaborating with organizations seeking to diversity their outdoor and conservation programs. He is available for trainings, workshops, and speaking engagements around these topics. Read more about his general work here: http://latinooutdoors.org/jose-gonzalez/ or contact him at jgonzalez@latinooutdoors.org for consulting requests.

Eduardo González – Outings Leader, Sacramento Area

Eduardo González is a student of the natural sciences at Sierra College. Born in Sacramento, CA, he is first generation Mexican-American. His parents hail from the state of Jalisco in México. Eduardo began working with youth as a student naturalist at Shady Creek Outdoor School in 2009, leading experiential education programs for 5th and 6th grade students. In recent years, he has been most active as a volunteer museum docent for Sierra College Natural History Museum, working with school groups from neighboring communities. Eduardo has also worked for the United States Forest Service (USFS) on the Plumas National Forest as a Forestry and Hydrologic Technician, working on various restoration projects and surveys. Having recently completed Leadership Training through Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT), he is excited to take on new challenges and adventures in leading group trips to the backcountry.

As Outings Leader for LO, he hopes to provide opportunities for Latino families and youth to experience the outdoors by organizing and leading day hikes, overnight camping, and backpacking trips, in the hopes that these experiences help (re)connect the people to the outdoors. Are you ready to get outdoors!? You can contact Eduardo at egonzalez@latinooutdoors.org and start planning on an outing for you and your community, today!

Melissa Avery – Regional Coordinator, San Francisco & Bay Area

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Melissa Avery is an outdoor family blogger based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her Bachelor of Science at California State University Hayward (East Bay) in Business Administration/Accounting and entered the world of federal law enforcement for the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. Even though her work experience has been primarily financial and law enforcement, Melissa continues to explore her love of outdoors locally as well as adventuring down to South America to backpack the Salkantay and Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

After leaving government work and entering motherhood, Melissa understood that being outdoors was essential to parenting and continued her outdoor lifestyle with her children. With camping, hiking, backpacking and anything outdoors among her activities, she and her family are up for a challenge. In August 2012, Melissa began blogging about her family outdoor adventures because so many of her friends and family were curious about her outdoor lifestyle. She was given the trail name “Chasqui Mom” because of her Peruvian heritage and motherhood, and used the name, http://www.chasquimom.com/, her blog identity as well, because just as the Chasquis were the Incan Emperor mountain runners that relayed important information, she wanted to be a messenger of the outdoors, in particular, to Latino families and youth.

Melissa is also a youth leader with her husband at her local church, Iglesia Esperanza Viva, where she has integrated a wilderness program into the church’s regular youth activities with much success. During her nine years as a leader, she has led many camping, hiking, backpacking and even international outreach and camping trips to Ensenada, Mexico with her junior high and high school students. Melissa believes that with all the complex issues our young people are confronted with, it is beneficial to give them the opportunity to gain real perspective on the world, understand true poverty and service, and develop integrity and character through exposure to the outdoors.

For LO, Melissa focuses her time partnering with organizations and facilitating outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, and backpacking with families and youth students in the San Francisco Bay Area. To contact Melissa for any LO-related communications, collaborations, or outing requests, please send her an email to mbravery@latinooutdoors.org!

Alicia Arce – Regional Coordinator, San Francisco & Marin Counties

Alicia Arce

Alicia was born in Mexico City and brought to California by her parents 24 years ago. She lived in La Paz, Baja for four years. Her best memories during her time there are of nature and the outdoors, and she was recently reminded of those peaceful and fun experiences when she joined the Boy Scouts of America last year. As a Program Aide and trained Scout Master, her passion for being outdoors grew immensely. She took her first road trip from Yosemite to Crater Lake and to all of the Canyons in the state of Utah. The trip completely changed her entire life perspective! Currently, she is bilingual in Spanish and English and is currently using her skills at the Marin County Health & Human Services as Bilingual Office Assistance in the Division of Social Services.

For Latino Outdoors, Alicia will coordinate wellness outings, outreach to the local community to recruit volunteers for continued events, and focus on making these experiences easily accessible to Spanish-speaking families. To contact Alicia for any LO-related communications, collaborations, or outing requests, please send her an email to alicia@latinooutdoors.org!

Lesly Caballero – Regional Coordinator, Sonoma & Marin Counties

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Lesly first became interested in bilingual environmental education when she became a high school volunteer at Petaluma Bounty, a community farm that provides healthy food for everyone, regardless of income. One of her roles was translating educational programs and weekly newsletters regarding healthy food guidelines and environmental sustainability. She then interned with Environment for the Americas on a project doing community outreach and bilingual environmental education as part of a diversity initiative. After that internship, she obtained a summer interpretive internship at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the Marin Headlands. During this internship, she provided interpretive programs on nature and cultural topics to the general public. Lesly volunteered with Point Blue Conservation Science, offering their elementary school outdoor programs in Spanish. In 2013, she interned with the United States Forest Service (USFS) in Alaska for 5 months doing wildlife research and bilingual outdoor education. Lesly is currently on the advisory board of Petaluma Bounty, leading discussions of cultural relevance in their programs. She has found it tremendously rewarding to expose Latino families and students to bilingual environmental education by teaching them about conservation values and natural environments. She has enjoyed these volunteer and internship experiences and is inspired to continue making these educational opportunities increasingly available to Latino communities.

Lesly will be representing LO at community events to network with and support like-minded organizations, coordinating and promoting LO outings and hikes in Sonoma and Marin Counties, and channeling LO’s overall vision by modeling strong leadership of Latinas in the outdoors. To contact Lesly for any LO-related communications, collaborations, or outing requests, please send her an email to lesly@latinooutdoors.org!

 

Juan Telles – Regional Coordinator, California Central Valley

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“Nature is an untapped resource that can heal, educate, and empower. Let’s help others rediscover it.” – J. Telles

Juan Telles was born in Modesto, California in 1989. Having experienced poverty and fatherlessness, he has dedicated his life to serve the underprivileged. His goal is to “heal the home.”

He is excited to support LO by using his strengths to increase member and participant engagement, heading efforts for public outreach, and taking families outside of their neighborhoods by coordinating outdoor events in the Central Valley. To contact Juan for any LO-related communications, collaborations, or outing requests, please send him an email to telles.j@latinooutdoors.org!

Raquel Rangel – Regional Coordinator, California Central Valley

Raquel Rangel

Raquel Rangel is a student at California State University, Stanislaus, majoring in Biological Science. She has volunteered with different organizations in the Central Valley, planting native shrubs and trees for different restoration projects and water monitoring, as well as banding geese for data collection. Raquel has discovered that her time spent as a volunteer, her involvement with the Geography Club on campus, and her involvement with the non-profit organization Tuolumne River Trust has helped her develop various life skills and has expanded her interest towards the outdoors.

Through her collaboration with LO, she hopes to get individuals and communities involved and interested in (re)connecting to the environment. By organizing different outings, she would like to demonstrate to participants what a beautiful place we live in and inspire them to play a part in conserving our home. To contact Raquel for any LO-related communications, collaborations, or outing requests, please send her an email to rrangel@latinooutdoors.org!

Graciela Cabello – Regional Coordinator, Los Angeles Area

Graciela Cabello

Graciela Cabello is an outdoor and travel enthusiast. She loves to hike, ski, cycle, rock climb, kayak, sit around a campfire looking at the stars, and much more. Her goal is to inspire others to form a connection with nature so in turn, they can protect it for generations ahead.

A California native, Graciela grew up in Santa Barbara playing in the outdoors year round. She has also lived in San Diego, Oakland, and currently resides in the Los Angeles area. Her hiking introduction came during the summers when her family would camp in the Santa Ynez Valley and her father and uncle would summit the hills freely. Not knowing about the trail system, they would ascend by weaving their way through chaparral, poison oak, and other shrubs. As a child, she remembers pleading her father to let her come along, then loving every minute of such a precarious challenge along with the reward of experiencing the hills from a different perspective. Since then, she has embarked on many outdoor adventures, as well as guided local groups on hikes and weekend trips.

Her professional background is in marketing and advertising where she has worked hand in hand with film studios, television networks, and ad agencies to promote a multitude of TV programming. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

As Los Angeles Regional Coordinator, Graciela works on introducing Latino families to the outdoors, collaborating with other organizations to build strong partnerships, cultivating volunteer networks, and building social media communities. To contact Graciela for any LO-related communications, collaborations, or outing requests, please send her an email to graciela@latinooutdoors.org!

Masi Mejía – Project Specialist, Texas

Maria “Masi” Munnamedejía is originally from South Texas where she spent her time involved in 4-H, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Brigades, and Texas Youth Hunting Program. She has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Conservation of Natural Resources with a Minor in Agricultural Leadership from Texas Tech University and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Wildlife, Aquatic, and Wildlands Science and Management. She has helped organize Playa Festivals, Wetland Festivals, and even a Meet the Refuge event at Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge in Muleshoe, Texas.

As LO Project Specialist, Masi supports and partners with community members and organizations on projects related to science, outreach, and education. She also develops training materials and conducts programs for the general public which promote LO’s values of integrating Latino communities with conservation and the outdoors. She actively blogs about her outdoor experiences and educational outreach at: http://adayinthelifeofmasi.blogspot.com/. Masi can be reached there or at mmejia@latinooutdoors.org for any LO-related communications, collaborations, or outing requests in the state of Texas.

3 responses to “Who We Are

  1. Pingback: Focus on Diversity III Coming to McAllen, Texas | La Vida Valle·

    • Hola Olga! Espero que recibiste la respuesta despues de estar en contacto con Melissa Avery en la bahia de San Francisco. Por favor dejanos saber que mas informacion necesitas. Gracias!

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