27 Jul Cross-Country Conservation
Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) and Mosaics in Science interns at Big Sur (I am second from the left).
A major reason why I wanted to participate in LHIP was to meet people like myself who form the current and the next generation of environmental stewards who are active in conservation. In mid July 2022, I took advantage of the wonderful opportunity that LHIP gave me to travel to California to connect with other young professionals while learning about protecting natural resources and public lands. Since many of the interns identify as Latino like I do, the trip was also a great way to explore the outdoors leading up to Latino Conservation Week in mid to late July.
Environment for the Americas (EFTA) staff and interns hiking at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
Like me, a number of folks flew into San Francisco from their main internship sites in cities like Omaha, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. Starting in San Francisco, we drove south to Monterey. We experienced action-packed days at several places in the area including Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Big Sur, Asilomar State Beach, and Elkhorn Slough. Every location is magnificent with something unique to offer, and spending an afternoon near a large, calm body of water evokes a feeling of serenity that cannot be put into words.
The view at Elkhorn Slough, the first estuarine sanctuary in the United States.
At Point Lobos, we spent time along the rocky shoreline listening to the waves and observing birds, crabs, and sea anemone in their habitats. From a bluff high above Whalers Cove, I witnessed sea lions tanning on rocks and sea otters floating on their backs. I am very fond of otters, so seeing them was one of the highlights of my day! Another Big Sur-prise was Big Sur, which charmed me because of its rustic beauty in the wilderness. Asilomar State Beach was the busiest in terms of visitors, at least in part due to its popularity with surfers worldwide. On the final leg of the journey, we paused at Elkhorn Slough, which is home to marshes and wetlands that feature animals ranging from migratory birds to marine mammals.
The vista of the Big Sur coast of California near Bixby Creek Bridge in Monterey County.
My infinite thanks goes to EFTA and my supervisors in the NPS Office of Communications for making the adventure possible!