National Park Foundation celebrates a decade of preserving Latino history and culture in national parks


WASHINGTON, July 15, 2021 / PRNewswire / – In honor of Latino Conservation Week, hosted and celebrated by the Hispanic Access Foundation July 17th to 25th, the National Park Foundation (NPF) announced that it is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Latino Heritage Fund in 2021. Founded in 2011 and originally known as the American Latino Heritage Fund, the fund is charged with preserving Latino history and spreading the stories of Latinos and making contributions to the US, past and present, through national parks. Thanks to the generosity of the NPF board members Patty Arvielo and Mindy Burbano Stearns, NPF increases philanthropic support for the fund.

“Latino history is a living part of US history. Latinos have made significant contributions to our country and the Foundation’s Latino Heritage Fund helps ensure that the national park system honors this important community. ” said the President and CEO of the National Park Foundation Will Shafroth. “With the guidance and vision of many generous donors, the National Park Foundation is increasing its support for national park programming that reflects the diversity of cultures and histories of our country, including those of our Latino community.”

Past and current Latino stories are present in over 400 national parks across the country, some of which are specifically set up to protect and interpret nationally significant locations and stories related to Latino heritage.

With the support of its donors, NPF works with the National Park Service (NPS), the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Biden Administration, and other partners to preserve and preserve stories commemorating Hispanic heritage in parks and communities around the world divide the country. This includes working with NPS to find innovative ways to engage current and future park visitors, increase relevance and access, and build a culture that values ​​diverse ideas and includes meaningful participation by all.

“Our national parks reflect the diversity of the American experience,” said the director of the National Park Foundation Board Patty Arvielo. “It is so important for all people to see themselves in American history and feel welcome in these places that belong to us all.”

“Latin American heritage is deeply rooted in national park landscapes and historical sites.” said the director of the National Park Foundation Board Mindy Burbano Stearns. “These places are the common ground we share, enriched by a better understanding of the contributions so many generations of Latinos have made to our common history and culture.”

The NPF Latino Heritage Fund sponsored the NPS American Latinos and the making of The United States: A Thematic Study in 2013. The Thematic Study includes essays by nationally recognized scholars looking at the contributions and experiences of Latinos, and provides a framework for the NPS to continue working with partners and communities to identify buildings, landscapes, and others to obtain and interpret sites that have stories from Latinos in. tell The United States. Partly due to research in the thematic study, eleven sites in Latino history have been designated as new National Historic Landmarks.

“Support from the NPF Latino Heritage Fund further expands the capacity of the NPS to tell broader stories and diversify the visitor experience in our parks, rivers, trails and heritage areas.” said Shawn Benge, Deputy Director of the National Park Service.

In addition to the thematic study, the Latino Heritage Fund of the NPF supported the following measures:

  • Support in the construction of the national monument César E. Chávez as a unit of the national park system, which commemorates the home and final resting place of César E. Chávez. The website is in California in an area known as Nuestra Señora. is known Reina de La Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), also served as the former seat of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), which Chavez co-founded Dolores Huerta. In 1966, the NFWA merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to create the United Farm Workers of America.
  • Supported the NPS and Washington Trust for Historic Preservation Youth Summit for Latino students and teachers. The summit brought younger generations into conservation in their communities, equipping teachers and conservation organizations with the tools needed to motivate and engage Latin American youth in managing historic sites and national parks.
  • Partnered with NPS, Mission Heritage Partners, and American YouthWorks’ Texas Conservation Corps to support four cultural landscape apprentice apprenticeships for local Hispanic and Latin American young adults at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas. According to the NPS, “cultural landscapes reflect our intergenerational ties to the land, with patterns that repeat and change to remind us of the depth of our roots and the unique character of our present.” In relation to these apprenticeships, participants learn skills from NPS mentors through hands-on work in soil conservation, maintenance and landscaping. Another important aspect of the work is the preservation of the historical acequias, the Spanish word for irrigation canals.

As part of increased support from the Latino Heritage Fund, NPFPF retained Noemi Lujan Perez to act as a project manager for the fund in an advisory capacity. She is a public affairs professional with experience managing media and stakeholder portfolios for Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. Her experience includes developing signature Latin American and African American affiliate programs for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

Individuals, foundations, and corporations can support the NPF’s Latino Heritage Fund efforts to preserve and spread Latin American history and culture through national parks by visiting the NPF website.

Endnote: In this press release, NPF uses Latino and Hispanic interchangeably. Although the intent is to honor inclusivity and be representative of different ways of identifying people, we recognize that this language does not account for all identities. We also recognize the importance and need for specificity in relation to different communities.

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The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and parklands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere with the wonders of the parks. We do this in cooperation with the National Park Service, the park partner community and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at

SOURCE National Park Foundation

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