Big Trees and Big Dreams

Hola todxs! First and foremost, a little about me! I am a proud Queer and Trans Xicanx individual with a passion for Science, Nature and Social Justice. My goals for this internship are: 1. To create multi-cultural and multi-lingual interpretive programs for engaging, educating and retaining more Latinx visitation to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. 2. To increase QTPoC visibility and inclusion in the National Parks Service.

Genomé at Marble Falls in Sequoia National Park.  The t-shirt reads “Community & Education & Justice & Love”

  I have completed my first two weeks as a Bilingual Interpretation intern at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks! I will be splitting my time by working at the Foothills Visitor Center one week and the Giant Forest Museum every other week. To summarize, I will be co-leading two formal programs at the Foothills Visitor Center, one is a Bilingual Jr. Ranger program and the other is a Multi-lingual evening program. I will be co-leading an informal bilingual program as a River Rover. I will be leading one weekly Spanish General Sherman Tree Talk at the Giant Forest Museum. Finally, I will be hosting a day full of events and activities on July 15, 2017, for the 4th Annual Latino Conservation Week! There is so much to do and so little time!  

Giant Sequoias and Genomé for scale.

  So what inspires me to go into this field of work? My lived experiences. My family never went to a national park when I was young. I was raised in Greenfield, CA (30 minutes away from Pinnacles National Park) a predominantly poor, migrant field working community, where most people who work extremely hard outdoors, do it out of necessity, not recreation.  I grew up with Spanish as my first language and I did a lot of translating for my parents as a child, once I learned English.   What really drove me towards working for NPS was the constant alienation I felt as a Xicanx who wanted to pursue outdoor adventures and a career in a predominately White cultured space. I felt the need for connection on an interpersonal and cultural level that did not see when I went to public land spaces. I hope to be the bridge for marginalized people to feel included and welcome at national parks, and if I’m lucky, inspire future generations to do the same. Join me! – Genomé Rodriguez

Mi familia at the base of a giant sequoia. Our first family trip to a National Park! (My little brother is missing in the picture)

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