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An evaluation of Latino Outdoors San Diego. Fostering Latinx connections with the outdoors

Castillo, Cassandra
The American environmental and conservation movement of the mid-nineteenth century to early twentieth century created a monolithic outdoor narrative which has made green spaces and outdoor recreation inaccessible for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Community-based organizations are emerging to address the critical need for underrepresented communities to have access to the outdoors by diversifying the outdoor narrative, breaking down real and perceived barriers, and creating bridges between institutional outdoor organizations and historically marginalized people. This thesis examines how Latino Outdoors San Diego (LOSD), a chapter of the national organization Latino Outdoors, creates connections in the outdoors with their participants.   I approach this research and discourse through an auto-ethnographic lens to ground my work. The literature review aims to provide an understanding of the limitations of literature, offers a theoretical framework to critically interpret the historical disenfranchisement of BIPOC in the American environmental and conservation movement, illuminates the shifts occurring to expand the dominant outdoor narrative, and provides a foundation for my investigation and analysis of Latino Outdoors’ programmatic structure. Through an interdisciplinary approach, I maintain the authenticity and validity of my work as a scholar and activist.   The findings are based on a survey, including both quantitative and qualitative questions, which allowed for an evaluation process to be employed to assess LOSD’s programmatic performance. The interpretations of the impact LOSD is having on its participants’ perceptions and experiences with the outdoors are guided by three emerging themes in the data including (a) connection to self; (b) connection to place; and (c) connection to people. I undertook this study with the intent to contribute to the emerging body of knowledge of the experiences and perceptions of Latinx peoples in the outdoors and provide LOSD information that may help guide and inform future programmatic goals.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries
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Latino Outdors,Storytelling,Auto-ethnographic research,Outdoor recreation,interdisciplinary,Critical Race Theory
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