Fostering Inclusion in the Outdoors

While Colorado’s Front Range has a large amount of public land and open space, not everyone in the community is represented in the population that tends to recreate in these spaces. Rafael Salgado, Executive Director of Cal-Wood Education Center just outside of Jamestown in Boulder County, says there are several barriers to inclusivity and access to public land including a lack of opportunities for young Latinos to get out into nature.  “I really believe that it happens because a lot of the kids don’t have the opportunity when they’re young. That is something that we want to change.”

 

Photo: Participants in a Cal-Wood camp hear from rangers at the Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo credit Rossana Longo Better.

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Cal-Wood was founded in 1982 to break down socio-economic and cultural barriers through environmental and science education. Their nature-based learning programs welcome students from local school districts and for the last 6 years they have been hosting Latino family camps.

“We give families a chance to camp and experience the outdoors from hiking to mountain biking, fishing, just explore and learn and relax in the outdoors.”

Salgado says Cal-Wood offers a sanctuary for families who are often dealing with stressful situations in their lives from juggling multiple jobs to the current political reality around immigration. “We see that every weekend…families really relax, they just have an amazing time up there.”

 

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