As I worked with our team for the American Latino Heritage Fund on researching the unique history and landscape of Shenandoah National Park we discovered an interesting rarity- a Latina National Park Ranger! Enedina Gasaway- Mexico-born mother of adult children- found her passion later in life in Shenandoah’s amazing environment. Introduced to the area and the National Park Service by her husband, Enedina pursued becoming a Park Ranger 15 years ago and has been working in one of the East Coast’s national treasures ever since. Throughout the 8-month season in the park, she provides bilingual guidance for families touring the area and many campgrounds as well as presents various park programs including native animal talks and hiking tours. The moment we had an opportunity we switched into Español – a treat for us both. She told me that this job is perfecto for her when you think about the things she loved as a child growing up in Mexico and later in the western United States: chasing bugs and insects, playing outside, climbing, gardening, plants, and anything involving nature. Her colleague Kate Calais cites similar childhood experiences that lead her to a position with the Park Service following her collegiate studies. So NOTICE to all of you padres out there with outdoor enthusiastic daughters- let them explore!
Enedina tells me she’s happy to see more Latino and multicultural families coming out to the Park every year. If you consider the growing ethnic communities in the mid-Atlantic area and the proximity to DC- it’s no surprise that the park’s visitors are also a changing landscape. And that’s good news as we try to spread the important message to future generations regarding their role in conservation. The other great learning is for kids of all ages to see a future career protecting our precious public lands and parks. As Enedina tells us in this video- “in particular for girls it’s wonderful that they can achieve anything they focus on- no matter their age or gender.”
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Saludos a todos! Hello to all and enjoy!
My travel was partially sponsored by the presenters of the American Latino Heritage Road Trip: the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Service.
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, Cristy realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.
A New Jersey native of Cuban decent, Cristy is a board member of Amigos For Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse in the South Florida community. She is a teenage cancer survivor and speaks nationally at conferences and volunteers with cancer-awareness organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Florida.