Latino Outdoors brings the Spanish speaking community for outdoor recreation

by Peyton Leone

Sebastian Castillo, an Environmental Studies major runs the Humboldt chapter of Latino Outdoors, a national nonprofit to get Latino families to experience outdoor recreation.

Latino Outdoors and Ciencia para todos are hosting a tour of the Arcata Marsh on April 27 in celebration of Dia de Los Ninos. This event is also in partnership with Friends of the Arcata Marsh.

Sebastian Castillo, leader of Latino Outdoors.| photo by Peyton Leone

Latino Outdoors is a national nonprofit to get Latinos into outdoor environments. Last year they reported hosting more than 360 events and having 8,300 participants in their published yearly review. Castillo organizes these events without a supporting staff, which make him nervous about the future of Humboldt’s LO chapter.

“It’s very easy for Latino Outdoors to go away,” said Castillo. 

Though he plans to stay in Humboldt a little longer after graduation, his goal is to fill Latino Outdoors Humboldt’s volunteer positions, including regional program coordinator, outing leaders and general volunteers.

Castillo is a senior and plans to stay in Humboldt to support Latino Outdoors Humboldt. He hopes to recruit more volunteers like himself to plan and lead outdoor activity events.

When Castillo isn’t volunteering with Latino Outdoors or completing his degree he works at the center of activities where he can use his position to loan out equipment for Latino Outdoors’ events.

“Since I’m the only bilingual guide at the center activities it makes it more unique that I’m able to do the Spanish interpretation.”

Castillo makes an effort to bring Spanish-speaking families along for an outing. Aside from transportation, many aren’t used to being out in nature, so Latino Outdoors creates a safe environment for them to connect with nature. 

“There is this person who came to three of my kayaking events last year and I remember the first time they came, they speak very minimal English but they came and they were pretty intimidated and they weren’t sure about kayaking at all, but after the three events they did over the summer they felt so good that they were like ‘I could lead one of these’,” said Castillo.

Castillo often reaches out through community groups like Paso a Paso, Centro del Pueblo and English Express to reach Spanish speakers. Through leading events Castillo has met Spanish speakers who have lived in Humboldt County for decades and visited local parks for the first time with Latino Outdoors.

Castillo moved to Humboldt from the Bay Area. He went to community college at Las Positas and Chabot. During that time he worked for the National Parks where he first partnered with Latino Outdoors. 

After moving to Humboldt he joined Latino Outdoors as a way to stay connected with his community. He continues with Latino Outdoors to serve others by removing barriers to outdoor activity.

Castillo is also working against the results of colonization, where people now feel a separation From nature. He can see this in his own family.

“Sometimes my family is like why are you ‘trying to go outside into the woods, it’s intimidating, it’s scary,’ but I think that’s just from a lack of experience.”

Castillo’s love of the outdoors started through attending an outdoor school in the sixth grade working as a camp counselor and his mom taking the family on yearly camping trips. Latino Outdoor events are free to attend but often require prior registration. To learn about upcoming events visit @lohumolbdt on Instagram.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to relfect the correct date of the Dia de los Ninos event. El Lenador regrets the error.

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