TOWN of MENDOCINO, 3/24/21 — In October 2020, Esme Plascencia started a Latino Outdoors Chapter in the Mendocino Coast. A native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, though raised in Fort Bragg, Esme decided that more Latinos needed to learn about the endless paths and hikes along the Pacific Coast. Since then, she has joined efforts with MendoParks.org, the Mendocino Land Trust and Mendocino Woodlands Camp Association to create the chapter and offer opportunities for Latinos to enjoy the natural beauty of the land and ocean and promote a larger conversation about representation, inclusion and leadership.
To present these ideas, she held a “meet and greet Esme” event this last Saturday, March 20, on the lawn of Ford House, in Mendocino Headlands Park, in Mendocino town.
A glorious sunny, first day of spring supplied blue skies, calm waters, blooming flowers and whales in the ocean. A perfect day to learn about this young woman’s dreams.
“I would like to meet other like-minded people, people who may not have had the chance to explore the area and don’t know about all the outdoor activities available. In the future I would like to lead hikes, take Latinos kayaking, bird watching, tide pooling, and even backpacking trips.”
But to start it all, whale watching was ideal.
More than 35 people stopped to say hello and learned about the whales, the organizations and to sign up to receive information about Latino Outdoors local chapter.
Esme Plascencia graduated from Fort Bragg High School and is currently studying recreational parks and tourism administration at Sacramento State University. Esme aspires to become an outdoor educator-guide in her hometown, Fort Bragg.
For Esme this is a chance to get to know not only what is already here to explore on a hike, but also to support each other, getting people outdoors, better one’s health by spending time in nature and do it all in her own language, in Spanish. At the heart of the idea is the premise of connecting with individuals that are already leaders in their communities who can point out to the rest how to get to the existing resources.
Latino Outdoors was started by José González who saw the lack of representation of Latinos in positions of power. In their website one can read their mission statement, “We inspire, connect, and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring our history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented.”
Their vision, shared by Esme and a group of local Latinos is, “A world where all Latino communities enjoy nature as a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place – a world where the outdoors is a place to share and celebrate stories, knowledge, and culture, while growing leadership and an active community of Latino outdoor users, mentors, and stewards.”
For now the chapter will cover the Mendocino Coast and in the future may grow to cover the whole county.
To learn more about Esme Plascencia you can read her own words here: