Nydia Gutierrez D.C. Coordinator, Latino Outdoors
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I’ve felt the force. The force of water elevating me, pushing me, pulling me, moving me, taking me as far as the eye can see. My fascination and love for the ocean is firmly rooted in the time I spent enjoying the Gulf of Mexico on South Padre Island as a child. I would swim to the point of exhaustion and on the ride home I couldn’t help but smile and think to myself, “I can’t wait to do that again.”

 

I went on to learn to surf and kayak on the island, where I would honor Mother Nature by dancing on her glistening sands, riding the waves provided by the force of wind and the gradual elevation of the shore. Despite the peaceful solitude I often felt while on the water, the fact that I was not alone was never lost on me. Marine life and shorebirds were as much a part of the ocean as water and sand. I not only saw these creatures, I felt them around me while kayaking, surfing and swimming. This beautiful ecosystem would be incomplete without them, and their presence only deepened my love and awe of the ocean.  

 

My innate and growing passion for nature and wildlife lead me to pursue studies in the sciences, focusing primarily on Environmental Science. While at the University of Texas at Brownsville, I worked alongside scientists and professors conducting research on everything from water quality to sediment and flora identification along the gulf and within oxbow lakes in Brownsville, Texas called, “Resacas.” I also had the honor of serving as Campus Greenhouse Coordinator where I was responsible for maintaining healthy Black Mangroves that were then replanted along the Gulf of Mexico. 
Currently, my day job brings me to the world of public relations working alongside corporate and issue based clients in public policy. I have the honor of partnering with national Latino leaders in creating opportunities of which open avenues for the Latino community to be connected to the one of the most necessary 21st century tools, the Internet. 

 

I remain connected to the environmental and conservation movement by way of my volunteer work with Latino Outdoors where I serve as D.C. Coordinator. As coordinator, I work on developing partnerships that will enhance the local Latino community’s awareness and engagement with outdoor recreational opportunities. Through fun outdoor activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, hiking and birding, we are laying the groundwork for our community’s sustained and vital engagement with Mother Nature. This summer and in the fall, we will continue working with local non-profits on river cleanups. We have supported cleanups around the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers that have helped remove over 2 tons of trash this year. This year we began working on educational events that bring a Latino biodiversity experts to teach brief courses about trees and local ecosystem. The class is followed by an informative hike at NPS: Rock Creek Park.

 

I am looking forward to serving as an Advisory Board Member with The Ocean Foundation, and doing my part to support the mission of reversing the trend of destruction of our oceans and promoting healthy ocean ecosystems.