For the Group, From the Group: A Dialog with Marcos Trinidad

Throughout Latinx Heritage Month, we chatted with Marcos Trinidad, the middle director at Audubon Debs Park. As their middle director, he has nurtured a rising neighborhood of volunteers, youth and neighborhood partnerships; applied a facility and grounds enchancment plan; and partnered with the Nationwide Park Service to determine a vibrant native plant nursery. He additionally works as a Senior Regional Supervisor at TreePeople, co-directs LA’s Environmental Professionals of Colour chapter, and was the recipient of the Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs Award for his management in environmental justice, training and advocacy. We talked about his roots in Los Angeles, his work making the outside extra inclusive, and his new podcast Human/Nature. You possibly can watch your complete interview right here. A curated model of that interview, which has been edited for size and readability, has been included under.

Your loved ones has deep roots within the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood. Are you able to inform us about that historical past?


My household migrated right here some generations in the past, particularly to northeast L.A. We’ve been right here for simply over 75 years. In truth, my grandmother will probably be turning 100 years younger in a few weeks, and she or he lives about half a block away from Deb’s Park. So it was actually cool that I used to be capable of work right here, as a result of I grew up locally. My dad and mom truly met on the bus cease a block away from the middle. So I usually say that after they met they wished to have the ability to have a terrific large household and have one among their sons in that household be the middle director for a nature middle that will probably be put proper within the neighborhood. 


Debs Park has a holistic, people-focused method and it serves as a neighborhood hub for environmental justice and advocacy work. Inform us how that got here to be.


It undoubtedly is a gaggle effort. There have been wonderful folks which were part of the Debs Park household for a few years, and I have been capable of construct off of their laborious work and all the pieces that goes into creating an area for neighborhood. Every individual that has labored right here has contributed in such a particular manner that it is motivating. Now, some issues that we have achieved deliberately have been alongside the strains of understanding that we want the neighborhood greater than the neighborhood wants us. And I say that not taking away from what we do as a corporation, however when it comes to the priorities that all of us have as a neighborhood, as a corporation. As soon as we have been capable of perceive that, we have been capable of have conversations that have been permitting us to maneuver ahead in a unique route. We have been now not those that had all of the data. We have been now not those that knew all the solutions. As a corporation, we have been coming to a desk with different folks, different neighborhood members, different organizations and serving to establish points that all of us had completely different experience on.


Are you able to share what a typical day in your life as a middle director seems like?


One factor about being a middle director—specifically managing an area that’s open to the general public—each day goes to be completely different and a few days are going to be filled with a ton of actually superior, significant work. After which some days are going to be like, “Oh wow, I can not consider I am having to deal with this.” My day begins fairly early. We attempt to get in some birding as a lot as attainable, and loads of that’s strolling the paths wanting round. That is each for psychological well being and likewise as a result of we have to bodily have eyes on the paths to see if there’s something that must be addressed as a result of we’re open to the general public and people can are available in all through the day. It’s additionally leaping on-line and fundraising alternatives. That is the stuff that loads of of us do not discover pleasure in. However I for one, I actually really feel that it is the alternative to construct our packages. There’s nothing extra thrilling than interested by a program, working via it with employees within the idea section, after which placing it on paper and saying, “Hey, what? Who needs to fund this?”


Marcos Trinidad pointing to something out-of-frame to fellow birders while outside on a trail on an overcast day.

All through your profession, and at Debs Park, you have positioned an significance on partaking and provoking youth to hook up with nature and their neighborhood. Are you able to inform us extra about that?


Rising up within the neighborhood, I used to be round these hills and trails and alongside the river as a child. And at the moment, whether or not it was occurring or not, I used to be unaware of anybody that was doing interpretation of the pure world. And I am grateful that I have been capable of step into this position and discover a subject that I will be part of. I believe what’s secret is offering these alternatives for youth to return in, see what it is like, see somebody that may very well be both their tío or their mother or father to allow them to see themselves on this subject. Now, we do not attempt to flip everybody into a middle director that comes via right here, however what we do attempt to permit is youth to proceed to discover and preserve that curiosity. Take into consideration your spark fowl. And the thrill that got here with that. I get to relive that in a ton of oldsters that come to the middle after I present them the nice hornet’s nest they usually get to see the owl poke its head out and that is the primary time they’ve seen an owl. And simply that curiosity and that pleasure! I am actually excited that we’re capable of facilitate these necessary moments. 


How have you ever seen the affect of your work have an effect on the folks you serve?


I believe a number of the greatest impacts that I am at all times capable of discover is the way it’s affected my household and all the pieces that we have been capable of do. And when it comes to our neighborhood, I must level out a number of the native initiatives that we have been capable of do, like getting laws handed that may spend money on our neighborhood parks. It’s engaged on laws and toolkits that permits us to be an energetic participant in discussions like what’s going to profit our neighborhood or how will we create a system that helps neighborhood members in secure environments open air? And loads of that has to do with funding public packages and making area accessible for our neighborhood members. 


Are you able to speak about what it means to you to make the outside extra inclusive? 


I have been interested by this lately in a unique context. One of many issues that I notice is that there is a narrative that individuals of coloration aren’t essentially within the open air and I believe we must always break that down in quite a lot of alternative ways. One, how will we classify what’s open air or what’s nature? Is nature one thing that you must go to? Is nature Yosemite or a few of these large nationwide parks, or does nature begin as quickly as you stroll exterior a constructing or your private home? it via these lenses, after I hear, “Hey, there is a lack of range open air: are folks of coloration not open air?” My query in response to that’s: if we’re not out but, the place are we? My father works open air six days every week. A lot of the males in my household have jobs that put them exterior as contractors and roofers. However, if we’re wanting on the open air as going someplace, as conquering a mountain or kayaking down a river, then it’s a very unique expertise. But when we take into account nature as being in your yard, underneath bushes, consuming tacos together with your familia? Then we expertise nature fairly a bit. One factor I [push] is that all use of outside area is legitimate. So, I believe the dialog must proceed.


Earlier this yr, you began a brand new podcast known as “Human/Nature”, hoping to encourage listeners to get out and discover and join with nature of their cities. Are you able to inform us extra about it?


It has been wonderful to have a unique platform to attach with and to throw the concept on the market that nature is not one thing you must go to. Nature is throughout us. We’re nature. This podcast actually highlights that truth and what we do is absolutely have a look at all these fascinating issues that exist in our communities. We’re capable of interview a ton of actually wonderful folks doing wonderful work and get to some controversial matters throughout the conservation world. An actual aim we’ve is to encourage of us to speak in confidence to remark. I exploit birds for example. Birds are the one wild animal that we get to work together with each day. You need to exit of your approach to not work together with birds! The podcast is from L.A. Studios, they usually’ve been doing a extremely wonderful job of permitting loads of BIPOC of us to step into these roles within the business to inform these tales. We simply wrapped up the season, so now we’re capable of take a little bit break and chill out a little bit and do some birding.

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