What is this extroverted introvert doing?!?

Welcome back my dear readers! This time we are going to take a pause on the historical trip to talk about what my project this summer is all about. As previously mentioned, I am a Latino Outreach Ambassador at First State National Historical Park. I know what you are thinking, that tells you nothing of what I do so let’s digest that together.

 

BARK program at local winery where the vineyard is leased by First State National Historical Park

Since First State National Historical Park was established, the park staff has noticed a pattern in park usage demographics in the Brandywine Valley unit. The unit is the prime example of a multi-use area and includes things that are a bit different than what you think of when you picture a National Park. For example, the Brandywine Valley consists of more than 1,300 acres yet most of the land is actually made up of various types of leases that include agricultural land leases that encompass livelihood farming, leases of homes and barns, and agrotourism leases, which include the farmstand and corn mazes. Brandywine Valley is a must do if you are a mountain biker, sometimes you go from the typical jagged route to shredding it down a winding farm trail with corn stalks slapping you. Talk about a horror movie rush! The park has bikes for the staff so we shall see if I try to get on one this summer. Also, on the trail you can find hikers that are taking a break from the bustling city and equestrian riders enjoying a stroll with their best friend. Then there are the water recreation users, which include swimming and canoeing/tubing down the creek just chilling on the gentle voyage. Last, but not least, we have the picnic area users at the park’s one and only Smith’s Bridge Picnic Area. This 5-acre recreational space can see anywhere from 300 to 5,000 people on holiday weekends in the summer. This is where things get interesting.

 

My role will focus on direct outreach to the Latinx community to better understand the heavy visitation of this group at Smith’s Bridge Picnic Area. Out of the number of guests, 80% are native Spanish speakers that are not fluent in English. The project will collect visitor data and understand why groups are driving 2+ hours to visit this area. As a Spanish bilingual intern, I will assist the park in overcoming a major deficit of not having the ability to connect to the Spanish speaking community. Once this is better understood, outreach to the communities can begin. I will be working with the Park Superintendent to develop and implement outreach strategies. This will be used by the education and interpretation division to foster an enhanced partnership with adults and the youth to be stellar stewards of the natural resources. This community outreach plan will serve as a written road map for future engagement with the Hispanic community for First State National Historical Park. This is the reason why I am interested in this role. I was a welder, a forest technician, a soldier, and now a community ambassador. I took a course called diversity and inclusion in the natural resources and realized that I could be that familiar face to boost the motivation of Latinx to bridge the gap that my family had lacked growing up. A long-winded post this time, but it be like that sometimes my peeps.

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