What latinos are doing for the environment in PG County
Written by: Danna Matheus 🇻🇪
Raquel Pinton and her son: volunteers at Embajadores de los Arboles on Oct.21, 2023 (Danna Matheus)
Prince George's County hosted its annual Green Summit on Saturday, Oct. 21, in the City of Hyattsville, MD, which showcased organizations promoting environmental education and green action in the community.
Many of these are Latino-led organizations bringing the Hispanic community to the ecological table. Embajadores de los Árboles, EcoLatinos, and the City of Hyattsville offered free trees, forest bathing sessions, educational workshops, Spanish-language invasive vine removal training, clean-ups, and more.
The first table at the Green Summit was Embajadores de los Árboles, its mission is to bring the Latino community closer to nature and educate about the benefits of respecting and connecting with the environment.
The organization offers a variety of activities like tree installments, forest bathing sessions, camps, and green-career educational workshops.
"Sometimes Latinos don't have access to this kind of information because of work, transportation, and many other day-to-day demands," said Raquel Pinton, volunteer at Embajadores de los Árboles, “So these programs are totally free of charge so that there is no barrier to participation.”
“We provide the tree already grown. We have all kinds of trees: small, medium, and large, pines, with berries, magnolias, and flowers. We even have the common persimmon that gives a fruit that can be eaten,” said Pinton.
Ecolatinos is another non-profit organization whose goal is to amplify the voices of Latino communities and their pursuit of social and environmental justice.
Ruby Stemmle, Founder and CEO of Ecolatinos, at the Green Summit at the David C. Driskell Community Park Hyattsville, MD (Danna Matheus)
Ecolatinos does all its work through outreach, education, and engagement in the Chesapeake Bay and the Mid-Atlantic Region and provides multiple programs. They will soon start a Green Infrastructure Training for Latino Landscapers. This program is specifically designed based on the priorities, needs, and culture of Latino landscapers.
“It will benefit the landscapers because they will learn skills to help protect the environment through their work, it will build their business. a,” said Ruby Stemmle, Founder and CEO of Ecolatinos.“Then, on the other side, homeowners will hire a landscaper who is trained and benefit from the environmental practices installed on their property and ultimately reduce pollution that goes into the watershed.”
The City of Hyattsville also promotes environmental education and green activities, hosting its cleanup at the David C. Driskell Community Park on the morning of the event.
“We did about 25 trees total, mulched and removed the vines, and re-fenced them. It was a really successful day,” said Dawn Taft, Environmental Programs Manager, City of Hyattsville Arborists.
“We are really grateful to the county for bringing this event to Hyattsville. Hyattsville takes sustainability and environmental stewardship extremely important, so to have an opportunity to showcase an event like this and bring our community out is a tremendous opportunity,” said Tracey Douglas, City Administrator of the City of Hyattsville.
“All the vendors that came out today have promoted the green efforts that the county has been putting out as well as the City of Hyattsville. The volunteers have shown their support as well in improving the tree canopy within the City of Hyattsville,” said Priyanka Joshi, Deputy Director of Environmental Operations of the City of Hyattsville.
The city also partners with Defensores de la Cuenca to offer Invasive Vine Removal, Community Science, and Tree Care training sessions fully in Spanish.