Name: Lesly Caballero
College: Santa Rosa Junior College, California
Major: Environmental Studies
Project Site: Chugach National Forest
Background: Hola! I am one of the Latina interns for EFTA’s Celebrando las Aves Playeras project. This semester I have decided to take my education outside a classroom setting with this internship. I am eager to gain hands on experience in wildlife research, community education, and public affairs. I am interested in this project because it gives me the opportunity to share my appreciation for the outdoors with others. I really look forward to the fieldwork where I will monitor shorebirds in the Chugach National Forest area. This is not only a beautiful location but a place that is extremely important for migratory bird conservation. Of course, I am also thrilled at the opportunities of exploring this natural area that is so different from where I am from.
I first became interested in environmental education when I was a high school volunteer at a community farm that provides healthy food for everyone, regardless of income. I continue to volunteer at Petaluma Bounty where one of my roles is translating educational programs and weekly newsletters regarding healthy food guidelines and environmental sustainability. Last spring I interned with EFTA on a project doing community outreach and bilingual environmental education to Latino communities as part of a diversity initiative. This project was done in collaboration with Muir Woods National Monument and PRBO Conservation Science. After that internship, I obtained an interpretive internship position over the summer at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the Marin Headlands. During this internship, I provided interpretive programs on cultural and nature topics to the general public. Participating in these internships, I was surprised to learn that much of the Latino community in the area was not aware of the protected natural areas in the Bay Area and the environmental education opportunities they offer. It has been rewarding to be able to offer bilingual education, exposing Latino families and students to natural areas like Muir Woods and Marin Headlands. I have enjoyed these volunteer and internship experiences and they have made me realize that I want to be part of making educational opportunities more available to the Latino community.
Interests: I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, birdwatching, and sharing these passions with my friends and family. One of my hobbies is scrapbooking and crafting. I also like being involved in my community, whether it is volunteering or participating in cultural events.
Long-term Goals: I plan to transfer to a university and obtain a degree in Environmental Studies. I hope to pursue a career in environmental education. One of my goals is to be able to offer bilingual programs and to increase the participation of Latinos in environmental education by making people aware of the many learning opportunities offered at public spaces.