In an effort to motivate Hispanic families to explore our public lands and national forests, and to reconnect with nature through outdoor activities, Hispanic Communications Network (HCN), in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USDA Forest Service), this week launches the third year of their successful Spanish-language multimedia campaign “Descubre El Bosque” (Discover the Forest).
The initiative coincides with the celebration of Earth Day, as well as a series of emblematic events for the protection of nature: National Park Rx Day on April 29, National Environmental Education Week, from April 23 to 29, National Park Week from April 21 to 29 and the City Nature Challenge from April 27 to 30.
The public service campaign features messages on radio, digital and social media to enhance understanding of the direct connection between the health of Latino families and the health of trees and forests.
A USDA Forest Service investigation shows that 80% of the country’s underground freshwater originates from national forest lands; and, almost 20% of all freshwater originates from the National Forest Land System, which is the largest source of drinking water in the United States.
In contrast, neglected and unhealthy forests negatively affect the quality of our water supply. Vulnerable communities, including Latino communities, are more likely to suffer from poor water quality.
“We are excited to deepen this collaboration with USDA Forest Service, as it is critical for Latino communities we serve — who suffer disproportionately higher rates of health problems like asthma due to poor environmental quality — to understand the health of trees and forests impacts the quality of water we drink and air we breathe, which directly affect the health of our population. We are committed to continue the promotion of this message, which is not only positive, but also proactive: we can do something about this,” said Alison Rodden, CEO at HCN.
The core Descubre el Bosque / Discover the Forest national campaign dates are April 21 and May 6. Multimedia elements will reach Spanish-speaking communities via HCN’s daily educational radio mini-programas and call-in shows to help the Spanish-speaking community, such as Dra Isabel, “the Angel of Radio” and Bienvenidos a América (Welcome to America), as well as through HCN’s social media channels like Facebook. All campaign materials can be found on-demand at LaRedHispana.org.
Increasing visitations to public lands, forests and parks among Spanish-speakers can have positive impacts on the wellbeing of US Hispanic communities. “The campaign also highlights the important and valuable role Latino parents can play in instilling positive values of respect and care for nature in their children, making visits to our forests part of a family tradition.”
“Scientific studies have shown that the time spent in contact with nature increases cognitive performance, decreases the rates of anxiety, depression and alleviates the symptoms of other diseases such as attention deficit disorder and Alzheimer’s,” says Helen Cortés, a Program Analyst at USDA Forest Service.
Through the interactive portal, DescubreElBosque.org, the public can search by zip code for outdoor activities that will take place in one’s area and find events open for the entire Latino community. The website also includes a search engine for national forests, national parks, state parks, public parks, beaches, recreational areas, wildlife refuges, museums and visitors center.