Latino Outdoors and Denver Colorado

So far we have been on three hikes with groups of 10+ participants. Chautauqua Park, Mount Falcon Park, and O’Fallon Park have been – fun group forming events. We have partnered with Sierra Club’s – Inspiring Connections Outdoors  and I have hiked with Outdoor Afro – Boulder and really enjoyed the company !  














Some Field notes:

Ponderosa Pine trees smell like Vanilla! You read that right, Vanilla!

Fun trail game: Branch Limbo

Smoky the bear loves Pictures!

Stope and smell the Ponderosa

Branch Limbo

Yogi bear












Chela – Colorado’s Coordinator and myself, Asnoldo the Colorado Ambassador have been making many helpful contacts at local events. We know that partnering is the best way to grow Latino Outdoors in Colorado. Like the famous quote: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Partners in the outdoors ELK LO Pic Sierra Club and LO












Summer has just begun and the verdict is in from a recent Facebook poll. Our current participants are eager to get out there and hike to Colorado’s beautiful waterfalls and hot springs! We can’t wait to upload those beautiful pictures and take in the awe-inspiring landscapes!

I live in Westminster Colorado where I love to bike, hike, garden, explore and DIY. I am currently (1 year in) finishing a two-person 14 foot Marine Grade Plywood Canoe! To contact me for any LO-related communications, collaborations, or outing requests in my area, please send me an email:

Finding Time to Play Afuera: By Lylianna Allala



Working on a trail crew for the United States Forest Service based out of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Ranger District in North Bend, WA, circa 2009.

I’m not sure if being the oldest of four or being raised with a mezcla of Midwestern/Tejan@/Mexican@ work ethic or just being a plain old human being is a factor in this but, it’s easy for me to get carried away with “work”. “Work” looks different for everybody. For me, I lead with my heart and my work is driven by my passion for social justice, environmental justice, and equity. I love getting young people outdoors! I love fostering community for people of color who care about environmental issues. I am passionate about working towards gender equity. I care deeply about my family; blood and chosen and I love being outside!

Maybe this will resonate for you too. Because my heart drives my work, many times I can get caught up in the grind of preparing for presentations, coordinating meetings, working on organizational change strategies, representing organizations that I work or volunteer for at events, etc. Perhaps being involved in heart work facilitates a faster burnout process if one ignores self-care. By burnout I mean the feeling of exhaustion and frustration that can occur when dealing with an overload of work with effects of neglecting one’s own needs. I come home tired and a little cranky. I don’t sleep as much as I’d like. My diet mostly consists of convenience foods; for me, tortilla chips and salsa. I feel like I never have enough time to do anything well and I rarely have time to play.


Summer 2015 at Mt. Rainier National Park cheesing out on nature.

In order for me to care for others and give my very best, I need to find time to take care of myself. As I sit and reflect on the things that contribute to fostering balance and inner quietude, I think of the tall conifers swaying in the wind during a walk today through Kubota Gardens with my husband and dog. Ripples of water radiating outwards from a spot in the pond where a bufflehead abruptly vanishes underwater and resurfaces as it feeds underwater. Or, the feeling of warm sunshine on my face while lying on the pebbled shore of Lake Wenatchee last weekend alongside my best girlfriends reveling in each other’s presence in silence underneath the peak of Dirty Face. I can almost smell the cool sweet breeze carrying the scent of Nootka Rose and other wildflowers while hiking the trails of Mt. Rainier National Park.

Starting out in the environmental field in my twenties brings memories of hard physical labor, exhaustion, and joy. The feeling of sore muscles after a day of trail building or invasive plant removal brought me a sense of satisfaction. The mud and sweat streaked on my face, the spiders and twigs in my hair and soil under my fingernails made me happy. As did a hot shower at the end of the day! I realize that time in nature is what I need to be whole.


My grandmother Maria Irma Rodriguez or Gramma Mema.

When I think about the moments where I have been the happiest they center on being outdoors. Even as a child the memories that bring a sense of calm or home for me include walking through my grandma’s garden as she taught me the names of the flowers she planted; peony, marigold, tulip, geranium, black-eyed Susan. Reading books on a blanket lain out in my parent’s backyard, my toes buried in the lush green grass of our lawn. Swinging on the branches of the willow tree in our yard with my brother Louie, seeing who could swing the farthest. When I close my eyes and think back on these memories, I remember joy, giddiness, and a shared feeling of energy and peace. With this sense of calm comes a connection with the world, with myself, and with my heritage.

My Gramma Yolanda taught me the difference between a perennial and a biennial plant. My Gramma Mema taught me to always have Sábila (Aloe Vera) and Manzanilla (Chamomile) in my house. Sábila to sooth burns, bug bites, and skin irritations. Manzanilla to aid with sleep, assuage the symptoms of cough or fever, or to ward of nightmares. My Grampa Luis and Grampa Chável taught me the virtue of hard work outdoors with my hands through the examples they set working outdoors from sun up to sun down to provide for their families. My family has always had ties and connections to the land y cuando estoy afuera, me siento como que estoy con my familia, mis antepasados. I feel that I am reconnected with myself.


Sunset at the Granite Mountain fire lookout in Washington.

Lylianna Allala

Seattle Ambassador

Exploring Europe and the Outdoors – By Zoraida Martínez

This past Summer I had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain to finish my undergraduate classes. I had never experienced living in another country for a month and it was such a thrill to be able to do this. I have traveled to Mexico to visit family and once to England when I was 12 on a trip with my teachers and peers. When I learned about this opportunity I jumped aboard without hesitation. I had a plan of what other countries and cities to visit; summer could not come soon enough.

On arrival to Madrid it was night thus nothing was very visible but the excitement and jitters were completely present. With a quick glance of the building around, I was able to tell that things were going to be very different. For example, the dormitories in Madrid had one thing that I had never seen in the United States, different trash bins to separate and organize the trash. One trash bin was used for cardboard and other recyclables (bottles, paper, plastic), one for compost (fruit peels, left over food and such), and the other for non-recyclable trash. I really love this concept because it trains students to recycle properly even if they were not really trying. I feel that in the United States people only pretend to recycle in order to stay in the “hip and now” of generational trends with things, but that is not how it should be.

20150705_125754One thing that was very noticeable and I completely loved was that there were so many parks within walking distance from wherever you are in the city. Even the smallest monument has a park around it and it is completely open to the public. During some of the trips we took as a class we would walk and explore the parks. Even traveling to nearby cities would be an exploration day rich in culture and history. On some weekends we would walk through parks in the city and enjoy an afternoon listening to live musical bands performing in these local parks. Maybe our lives in the United States are always so busy and non-stop that we do not get to enjoy the freshness of nature or the sound of music in our local parks, but once in a while we should just take a break to take all that in. I feel that the more we spend the day in the outdoors, the more we will feel connected to what makes us happy.

Our stay in Spain, while it was a whole month, felt completely short. I was fortunate enough to travel on weekends to outside cities. One weekend, about half of the group decided to go to Barcelona and I was amongst them. The city was incredible and not to mention how gorgeous La Sagrada Familia is inside and out! Park Güell is incredible as well and the views it provides for our enjoyment are magnificent! The fountains, architecture and everything that the local encompasses was just an experience that I will never forget. On a different weekend I had the opportunity to travel to San Sebastian, in Northern Spain. The view of the Atlantic Ocean is amazingly breathtaking! Not to mention their food and the wine Txakoli, only produced in the grandeur of the Basque Country. Everything I saw and experienced is something that I will never forget since the Spanish country has taught me a lot of who I am.

IMG_2212After my program ended, I traveled with six others to other countries to enjoy and learn more about what Europe has been through for centuries. The first country on the list was Italy where we visited Rome and Venice.  The sites are incredible in both cities! I had never imagined being able to see old architecture first hand like I did there and making these amazing monuments available to the public is great. Getting around the cities was very efficient due to the well thought-out transportation system. Even when there was heavy traffic in public transportation it was not a problem to get around by foot because most of the tourist attractions were within walking distance. Seeing ancient ruins has always fascinated me and learning about cultures and how they made their civilizations grow has made me fall in love with archeology over and over again. Why I never pursued this degree is beyond me, but my love for it is always there. One thing I completely loved is that the airport in Venice is powered by solar energy! More than half of the power comes from the sun and it is amazing to see how much other countries are moving forward with green energy.

The next country was France where we only visited Paris! As a girl coming from a big city and never really using public transportation, I thought that the transportation system was great. We used the trains all the time to get everywhere and when we felt even more adventurous, we would walk to sights that we wanted to see, even when they were miles away. I feel that walking to places gets people to see the city on a more personal level as apposed to zooming by on a train. The Eiffel Tower was everything and more! We even had the chance to visit the Palace of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris. The gardens are astonishing! We walked all day and ended up rowing a boat in the small lake at Versailles. I am excited to see what the UN conference will bring here next year! With the amount activities and locals in this amazing city, we did not want to leave, but the United Kingdom was calling our names.

IMG_3323The United Kingdom is a country that has always interested me. Since the first time I visited this country as a little girl, I fell in love with it! London was our landing port and we immediately got to exploring the vast city. The weather was beautiful refreshing compared to the heat of the previous cities. A light sweater was enough for us to keep of comfortable in the cool breeze of this cloudy city. The second day in the country we decided do a trip to Windsor Castle, Roman Bath, and Stonehenge. Although I have been to Bath and Stonehenge before, it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful it is. Walking around the castle in Windsor we saw peaceful gardens that were perfect to walk in and have a picnic at any time of the day. What can I say about Stonehenge? Nothing I can say will ever do its beauty justice. It is one of my favorite places in the world and I know that I would go back in an instant if I had the chance. It has a serene feeling to it that I can relax and just think and reflect with nothing but an majestic view in front of me.

Our last country was Ireland and I knew from the moment we landed that I was going to return one day to this country. The people were friendly and very welcoming to us everywhere we went. It was not difficult to get around the city and here we decided to walk everywhere since we wanted to take in the entire city of Dublin. The history of the sites we saw was amazing to me and the history of how many people had to leave their country because of a famine, broke my heart. We went to the west coast to see the Cliffs of Moher and let me say that I was completely mesmerized by the beauty nature has created. I was amazed by how much people in this country love tourists and to me this is what gets people to return. There is one thing that was unnatural to me because our appliances are different and their dryers had something unusual. The house in which we stayed had a dryer that would collect the moisture from the wet clothes in a container and one would have to physically empty out the container. I loved this idea because the water that collects can be used to water the garden, whereas in the United States the dryers evaporate the water or shoot it down the drain. I am completely in love with this country and I know I will return one day.

My trip was short but it is one that I will stay with me forever. The entire month and a half that I was abroad was an experience that I will forever cherish because of everything that I learned and saw. I loved all the sites and locations. I loved every country, every culture, and all the new things that I learned about all the places. I know that I will return to all the countries one day and I will travel vastly to explore all the beautiful places this planet has to offer. The outdoors, open spaces, parks, and land as it relates to cultural heritage is something I will always cherish every place I go.


Zoraida Martínez ~ Ambassador