Vail Daily column: Latinos speak out about the environment | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Latinos speak out about the environment

Andie Bombard
Trust Our Land

The Eagle Valley Land Trust wants to hear from you (meaning everyone in our community) about how we can best serve you.

An equally important, but less vocal, demographic of the “you” we want to hear from are our Hispanic and Latino neighbors. So we conducted a survey at the Cielito Lindo Music & Heritage Festival held in Avon on Sept. 18 and 19. The responses are important and uplifting.

SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY

Respondents shared with us their love of the outdoors. Seventy-eight percent of respondents, for instance, like to engage with nature and the environment with their children. Eagle River Preserve, in Edwards, offers over 70 acres of open space with public trails, benches, parking and pristine riverfront — a great way to get outside with family. The most important reason why they like to spend time outside is to enjoy time with friends and family and a solid majority also enjoys the fresh air and natural beauty of our surroundings — our scenic vistas, forests, rivers and mountains.

Nearly 80 percent of the Latino community in this survey associate the success of the local economy with the quality of our natural environment, such as that which can be enjoyed at the Eagle River Preserve.

The most dramatic results showed that almost 90 percent of respondents said beautiful natural landscapes are important to the way they want to live their lives, and clean water and clean air are also very important.

Seventy-five percent specified that they like to spend time outside to enjoy the natural beauty, the fresh air or wildlife our natural surroundings offer. The Homestead L and Creamery Ranch open space properties (a combined 190 acres), with their fantastic trails and public parking lot, provide easy access and good wildlife viewing.

IMPORTANT TO OUR ECONOMY

About 80 percent felt that the success of our local economy and our jobs depend on the quality of our natural environment. The Miller Ranch Open Space and Spud Cellar conservation easements provide access to hiking and biking, forever. Horn Ranch in Wolcott will always remain pristine giving us a dramatic red rocky view every time we drive between Edwards and Eagle. These are but a few examples of the places where we’ve preserved our natural environment and promote the character and beauty of our community through conservation; our economy benefits as a result.

For the Eagle Valley Land Trust, these survey results are music to our ears — they show the possibility of partnership and collaboration between our goals and the Hispanic, Latino, and Mexican communities in our county. We are thrilled to explore this synergy further and begin working together to make Eagle County the best it can be for all of us.

INCREASING AWARENESS A PRIORITY

One consistent theme we’ve heard from the Latino community is that they simply do not know where these properties are. The Eagle Valley Land Trust hopes to increase awareness of these conserved, easily accessible and safe places so that our entire community may enjoy them.

The survey was administered to 88 attendees of the event who described themselves as Hispanic, Latino or Mexican. They were young — their average age was 35.5 years old, they tended to live in Eagle County (84 percent) and frequently the surveys were filled out by women (67 percent female). This was not a random sample of our county so these results cannot be extrapolated to the larger Eagle County Hispanic, Latino or Mexican communities but the survey can hopefully give us a peek at what we might learn from a larger statistically valid survey.

THANK YOU

The Eagle Valley Land Trust would like to thank Frank and Addie Navarro and Karen Mendoza (and her employer Daniel Barron Law) for their translation help; Danielle Block, Pauline Agoitia and Marcela Ramirez for their help talking with attendees and collecting their input; as well as Bonfire Entertainment, the town of Avon, and promoter Carlos Mercado for their help creating this great opportunity for Eagle Valley Land Trust to engage with the Latino community.

Eagle Valley Land Trust was founded in 1981 as a nonprofit environmental conservation organization and is state certified and nationally accredited. The Land Trust currently holds 28 parcels and over 7,000 acres of protected lands under conservation easements in Eagle County, Colorado. These properties stretch from East Vail to the entrance of Glenwood Canyon and from Tennessee Pass near Leadville to Yarmony Mountain near the Routt County border. For more information about the Eagle Valley Land Trust, please visit http://www.evlt.org.

Andie Bombard is the president of the board of directors of Eagle Valley Land Trust.