Bay Nature Co-Founders Honored at CGF Gala

On October 4, 2015, the Committee for Green Foothills honored Bay Nature co-founders David Loeb and Malcolm Margolin (publisher of Heyday Books) for their significant contributions to the Bay Area nature community, and donated a gift to the nonprofit Latino Outdoors in their honor.

“These publishing icons have challenged readers to see our landscape and our place in it with a fresh perspective. Though their work they have shaped and expanded the community of people who love and speak for nature.”
— Megan Medeiros, CGF Executive Director & Jeff Segall, CGF Board President

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Guidance and Insights for a Career as a Park Ranger ~ By Domenic Bravo

I remember we were on a Biology retreat in 6th grade at Beulah Mountain Park, and that’s when it happened. I almost fell into the pond while skimming the water with a net, but instead jumped ten feet from the dock to the bank.  One of my classmates said “Whoa you should be a park ranger or an action hero”.  Hmm…action hero…  After already enjoying the outdoors most of my life I knew early on that my career would be something related to the outdoors.  Believe it or not, in 8th grade I went and saw Cliffhanger in the movie theater.  This movie was another catalyst that leads me on the path that I am on.  Park ranger, rock climbing, snow and action heroes, what more could a person ask for.

On a trail ride for my Trail Program

On a trail ride for my Trail Program

After a little research on the different types of park ranger careers I realized I would have to focus on math and science.  Through high school, I took many different AP classes including AP Chemistry.  I knew I wanted to go to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado has many of the degrees related to the requirements of a Park Ranger career.  However, due to cost I ended up taking my first year and half at Southern Colorado University (which later became CSU-South) to get the general requirements done.  I then went to Colorado State University and after switching my major from Forestry to Natural Resource Management I graduated in 1999.  There are numerous programs out there for someone who would want to get into this field but I realized early on that having experience and knowledge in numerous topic best suited my overall career goals.

As I write this blog post for Latino Outdoors, I realize I’ve mentioned nothing of my Latino heritage, not because it isn’t important but mostly because it was a part of me already.  I was the first in my family to graduate with a four year degree and the first to complete my Masters, which seems to be the norm for our heritage.  Being Hispanic means something a little different to everyone in our culture.  To me family, culture and  pride were the cornerstones of my future successes.

During my undergraduate college years in Fort Collins, I first volunteered and then was hired as a seasonal for Lory State Park.  I was hooked on state parks after this experience.  I had originally thought I wanted to be a Federal Park Ranger, but after seeing what state parks folks accomplish on a day to day basis, I realized that is what I wanted to do.  For anyone that might want to pursue a career in this industry, I can’t stress the point enough of volunteering or working as a seasonal for a federal, state or local park.   First you gain experience second if you do a good job it may be your first step towards permanent employment.

After I graduated in December of 1999, my son was born on January 1, 2000, so I knew I needed to find a permanent position in my career of choice.  I ended up applying to several western state’s park systems and Nevada was the first to call and offer me a position.  I spent the next several years first working as a Park Ranger at a historic site and then as a Park Superintendent at a reservoir park.

My kids at Ames Monument one of my historic sites

My kids at Ames Monument one of my historic sites

During my Nevada State Park career, I made it my mission to be one of the most qualified state parks employees around.  I received my M.S from Slippery Rock University, became a certified Peace Officer and a Certified Public Manager. I am not sure it is advice, but I will say working on a Masters while working full-time and having a family is not the easiest thing in the world. During the next several years, I worked on every certificate that related to my job that I could find from EMT to Cave Rescue and everything in between.  The moral of the story is the jobs and promotions in this profession are competitive, so you need to have a competitive edge.  If you find training that relates to being a park person, take the training.

 Approximately two years into my park superintendent position one of my colleagues and I started a park ranger association.  We started to work on various topics at the state legislative level and I loved it.  I knew I wanted to run my own parks system.  I was very blessed to apply and be the successful choice as the Administrator for Wyoming State Parks.  The last seven years has been a whirlwind of learning and growth.  The last piece of advice I will give folks looking to pursue this as a career is to take calculated risk.  The old adage “you never know unless you try” is a must for this profession.  As a matter of fact, it may be the key to success.

Domenic Bravo is the State Park Director in Wyoming. He is also the incoming president for the National Association of State Park Directors and the first Hispanic president in its 50+ year history! You can contact Domenic at:domenic.bravo@wyo.gov


Recreation.gov and Latino Outdoors Announce Partnership During National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15, 2015Recreation.gov and Latino Outdoors will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) by kicking off a partnership to highlight the great work by many within the Latino(a) community who dedicate themselves to connecting Latino culture, or “cultura” and community to the outdoors.

“Recreation.gov, the flagship of the Recreation One Stop program, represents the desire of all of its partner agencies to help people connect to public lands and waters throughout the country,” said Rick DeLappe, Recreation One Stop program manager. “By working with Latino Outdoors, we can bring more attention to a network of conservation-­‐
minded explorers who share their passion for the outdoors. Their stories are contagious – inspiring stewardship and exploration of our federal lands and
waterways.”

“Our goal is to encourage members of our community, especially any who have experienced the Great Outdoors for the first time, to share their stories of a particularly challenging hike, seeing wildlife at a refuge, or maybe what it felt like to sleep in a tent for the first time,” said Jose Gonzalez, Founder of Latino Outdoors. “By telling our stories, the community helps define what it means to have a Latino(a) identity in relation to the outdoors. Stories have power and they say many things about the cultural traditions and values we hold—especially our love and connections with our open spaces. We are excited about this campaign with Recreation.Gov, stemming from a partnership with Active Network earlier this year, and part of a larger strategic alliance, to work together to identify and increase Latino engagement in the outdoors. Both partnerships allow us to amplify our storytelling and demonstrate the diversity of engagement in our public lands and outdoor recreation.”

Beginning September 15, Recreation.gov will feature experiences from volunteer Latino Outdoor Ambassadors from across the country. Visitors will also be encouraged to join Recreation.gov through Facebook and Instagram and share stories, photos or videos of their outdoor experiences using #LatinoOutdoors.

“Launching this partnership for National Hispanic Heritage Month provides a platform to reflect upon and inspire us to discover and enjoy the cultural influences from long ago to the present—and recognize this multi-­‐ cultural heritage as the unifying fabric of this country,” said DeLappe.

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Recreation One-­‐Stop is a recreation trip-­‐planning, reservation and information sharing platform for the nation’s federal lands. Visitors to Recreation.gov can reserve campgrounds, apply for river permits, schedule a tour, discover points-­‐of-­‐ interest near major cities, learn about destinations, and so much more. The Recreation One-­‐Stop program is a joint initiative among federal agency partners including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, National Archives and Records Administration, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

With roots in the past, a presence in the present and vision for the future, Latino Outdoors is a network of leaders committed to engaging Latinos/as in the outdoors, connecting familias and youth with nature, and empowering our community of storytellers to explore and share their personal experiences. Our growing online platform allows participants to creatively document their cultural connections to conservation, the environment, and the Great American Outdoors with the world.