Last week PRNSA recognized the seventh annual Latino Conservation Week. On Thursday we caught up with retired Tomales Bay State Park Ranger and prolific wildlife photographer Carlos Porrata, who recounted a personal story we first heard in February on a tour of Point Reyes National Seashore with Teresa Baker, activist and Founder of The Outdoor Industry CEO Diversity Pledge.

Los Tres Reyes
“In most Latin, Spanish speaking countries, they celebrate Three Kings Day instead of Santa Claus around Christmas. The Three Kings are also represented by the stars in the Belt of Orion. In winter they appear to get closer and shine brighter.”

Carlos recalls the significance of this holiday during his childhood in Puerto Rico.

“When I would lie on the top of my roof, staring up at the Three Kings,” Carlos recalls, “I would think about what I would like them to bring me. Each January 6, we would gather grass for the camels and put them in a shoe box with water. You put them under your bed, then you go to sleep and the Three Kings visit with their camels and leave you a present. During that time many boys liked American cowboys, but I was always interested in Indians, and I remember wishing for a bow and arrow.”

El Día de los Tres Reyes Magos, known in English as the Epiphany, occurs each year on January 6th. It was on this day in 1603 when Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno anchored in what we know today as Drakes Bay, giving us the name la Punta de los Reyes, or Point Reyes.

“When we moved to Tomales Bay State Park in 1980,” Carlos recalls, “my wife Rebecca became the local public health nurse. I began to realize that there were many Latino families who were the backbone of our local dairy businesses, but I noticed that none of them would ever use Tomales Bay State Park.”
Welcoming, Outreach, and Education
Carlos began to do community outreach, inviting members of the Latino community into the state park and teaching them about conservation ethics, history, and indigenous practices. Gradually, the park became a valued space for the Latino community.

“After about three years of me trying to invite them and welcome them and encourage them to use the park, they started coming to use the park for birthdays, weddings, and other events. I took it upon myself to invite them to their park. Instead of telling them they needed to clean up, I would bring my own bags and talk to them about the importance of leaving the land better than we find it, explaining to them the many traditional uses of the land and their importance.”

Years later, reflecting on his childhood, Carlos recalls his epiphany moment.

Finding Home
“I found myself at Tomales Bay State Park at Indian Beach, teaching 5th graders about the environmental practices of the Coast Miwok. They would stay overnight, learn to make “acorn mush,” and I would show them things like how to work with obsidian to make arrowheads. I myself had made a whole sinew-backed bow. We would use deer sinew, and even make glue from the sinew.”

In this moment, it became clear to Carlos that the gifts he wished for as a child in Puerto Rico had truly been received.

After three months of sheltering-in-place, Carlos is happy to be back in Point Reyes National Seashore with his camera. To Carlos, this is like going to church. 
Now through September, you can view some of Carlos Porrata’s amazing wildlife photography alongside Tom Killion's landscape paintings at Toby’s Gallery in Point Reyes Station.

Be well,
Isaac Taylor
Education Administrative Manager
Rising Latinx Stewards in Point Reyes
by Meghan Garfink, Science Communication Intern
Why Latinx?
Latinx is a gender neutral term relating to people of Latin American origin or descent.
Vanessa Macias
PRNSA Habitat Restoration Intern
Vanessa's interest in wildlife conservation came naturally as she grew up taking care of her family's family of pets. After graduating from CSU Northridge with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, she thought she would be starting a career involving the charismatic feathery and furry animals we all love. However, soon after college, she landed an internship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife mainly inventorying a forest, removing invasive plants, surveying rare plants and monitoring wetlands. Since then, Vanessa has taken an ever growing interest in plants. She realized protecting plants, who make up a vast majority of the environment and home of wildlife, was just as important as protecting wildlife itself. And even more so, plants play a considerable role in society whether they're household pets, for photography, artwork or food. Vanessa hopes to continue to spread her appreciation for plants in a career in habitat conservation, as plants are also the backbone of ecosystems as a whole.

Last year she fell in love with the Bay Area's rich plant diversity after working with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. She happily joined PRNSA this year to continue to conserve Northern California's plethora of plant ecosystems. Now, if you don't see her battling Scotch broom and cape ivy in the Seashore, you might find her biking around Marin county foraging for local ingredients to bake and cook with.
Carter Perez Adamson
NPS Latino Heritage Intern
Carter Perez Adamson is an intern this summer with the National Parks Service and Latino Heritage Internship Program. He is working as part of a team monitoring the status of coho salmon, which are endangered in California. His duties include performing counts of coho on snorkel in local streams, surveying their habitat, and conducting a study to better understand their diet. Here he can be seen performing a non-lethal gastric lavage to examine the stomach contents of an anesthetized juvenile trout.

Carter says, "This internship has been a rewarding and eye-opening experience for me, and I'm certain that it will be a touchstone for my career moving forward, but my interest in streams and the fish living in them extends much, much further back. When I was just a kid, there was a small stream running through a forest park near my house, and I would go there to explore all the time. I used to love watching all the fish swim around in their little pools and sometimes I'd go after them with small nets. I don't remember ever catching any, but if I went back with the field methods I've learned from this internship, I'm sure I'd have a lot more success!"
Photo by Sue van der Wal
The Great American Outdoors Act ensures that significant new investments are made to our public lands, from iconic national parks to local hiking trails.

On July 22, the House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill authorizing billions in funding for two major park-related needs, the National Park Service deferred maintenance backlog and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Yesterday, President Trump signed the bill into law. Read more about this landmark legislation from our friends at the National Parks Conservation Association.
Park Updates
Limantour Road is CLOSED until further notice due to safety issues and construction. Updates on road closures in the park are available here.

Visit our Recreate Responsibly page for guidelines for responsible recreation in the outdoors at Point Reyes and other park lands during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Updates will be posted to this park website and social media channels. For more information, please see Marin County's Stay at Home Order and Frequently Asked Questions.
Community Events
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all Facebook Live events!
Color In Nature 
Panelist Discussion:
Thursday, August 6,
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM;
Community Engagement:
Friday, August 7, 7:00 PM
Color In Nature is a new two-part webinar discussing the significant and often under-represented experiences of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community in the great outdoors. First, on Thursday, August 6, we'll hear from diverse and experienced panelists working to change the face of outdoor recreation. This first webinar will be a discussion among our panelists. Then, join us on Friday, August 7, at 7pm for a listening room where anyone can voice concerns, ask more questions, and be a part of the conversation.
Panelists: Ernesto Pepito, Associate Director for Youth Development at the Crissy Field Center & Administrator for the Environmental Educators of Color; Dr. Keith Nathaniel, Director of Cooperative Extension of Los Angeles County for the University of California Cooperative Extension; and Carlo Arreglo, Interpretive Park Ranger and Program/Volunteer Manager at Point Reyes National Seashore.
Donations are appreciated and will be used for Diversity Equity and Inclusive Initiatives in the outdoors. Register HERE
Shark Week
Tuesday, August 11
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM PDT
Biologist and longtime white shark researcher Scot Anderson joins PRNSA for a special Shark Week webinar! As sharks are often sensationalized and misunderstood, Shark Week gives us a chance to celebrate ancient and amazing creatures that play a crucial role in our ocean ecology. Scot will discuss some of his research and personal experience with these apex marine predators, including recent findings on the significance of rare interactions between white sharks and Orcas off the California coast. Register HERE
Book Read & Conversation with Author Dr. Carolyn Finney! 
Save the Date!! Thursday, August 27
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Please join us for our first Virtual Community Book Club and Conversation. The discussion will be moderated by local chef, entrepreneur, and anti-racist activist Camille Ptak, along with PRNSA's own Isaac Taylor. Registration details coming soon.

In partnership with the Marin County Free Library, we are reading the book Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Dr. Carolyn Finney. Copies of the book are available at both Inverness and Point Reyes Libraries. Note: these copies will be reserved at the desks. Please call and reserve a copy or stop by during curbside hours and request the book. FYI, if someone calls and needs the book sent to Bolinas or Stinson Beach, the librarians can have the book sent to the library and placed on the hold shelf. Also - Black Faces, White Spaces is available on Hoopla through the library with no wait. Instructions for downloading to Hoopla on the library's website:   
Podcast Recommendation
In Episode 22 of the podcast Breaking Green Ceilingshost Sapna Mulki interviews African American wildlife ecologist Dr. Jonathan Hall. In this wide-ranging discussion, Dr. Hall discusses his current work around California condor restoration, his experiences as a scientist, environmentalist, and hunter, and how race is embedded in many issues of ecology and conservation. This interview may be especially interesting to those participating in PRNSA's Community Read!  
Community Film Viewing
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
See the award-winning documentary Rebels with a Cause by Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto, and then join us at this virtual event to meet the filmmakers in conversation with Dr. Sarah Allen and moderated by PRNSA Board Member Seth Rosen. Register HERE Check with the Marin County Free Library to borrow a copy of the DVD. Donations for this event are appreciated and will support PRNSA's conservation work.
"A stunningly beautiful film narrated by Frances McDormand, REBELS WITH A CAUSE spotlights a battle over land that changed the American landscape forever."
Upcoming Classes
Friday, August 21, 7:00 PM - Sunday, August 23, 6:00 PM

Join renowned nature photographer Gary Crabbe for this exciting workshop. Learn the intricacies of soft-light photography and receive personalized coaching to improve your technique and expand your repertoire.

Online Friday night and Sunday, and taking place in-person on Saturday with a small COVID-safe group, you will experience the best of both worlds enjoying a day in the park capturing photos and receiving a personalized critique online the following day. Register HERE
Saturdays, September 26 – October 24
This UC California Naturalist Saturday lecture series is a partnership between the University of California Cooperative Extension and the Point Reyes National Seashore Association. The mission is to foster a committed corps of naturalists and citizen scientists.

Over the course of five consecutive Saturdays, students will experience Point Reyes National Seashore in ways the casual visitor cannot, working in areas less traveled alongside some of California’s most knowledgeable naturalists. Come experience the richness and biodiversity that Point Reyes has to offer.

Graduates of this program are ready to take an active role in natural resource conservation, education, and restoration. Upon completion, graduates will receive an official California Naturalist Certification and are eligible for 4 credit units from UC Davis Extension. Register HERE

If you have special circumstances or questions, please contact us at
Did You Know?
How Buffalo Soldiers Pioneered Mountain Biking

by Isaac Taylor, Education Administrative Manager
Mount Tamalpais in the 1970s is often attributed as the birthplace of the modern sport of mountain biking. However, the physical and mental limits of off-road cycling were tested much earlier by a group of Black U.S. soldiers, who in 1896 traveled by bicycle from Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. Watch this free and fascinating documentary from Montana PBS chronicling their heroic journey and struggles with racial discrimination.
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