Habitat restoration, stream and floodplain improvements, and conservation education opportunities are taking shape across the region with support from Metro’s Nature in Neighborhoods restoration and enhancement grants. Metro is especially interested in projects like Adelante Conservación that foster innovative partnerships and serve low-income communities and communities of color.
Here, Tualatin Riverkeepers executive director Monica Smiley reflects on planting the seeds of Adelante Conservación – a new collaboration between Adelante Mujeres and Tualatin Riverkeepers that grew from a Metro grant.
Four women gathered around a table in autumn 2012, two Spanish speakers and two English speakers trying to say "Conservación" like it’s a tongue twister. They were meeting for the first time to create Adelante Conservación, a program to blend nature awareness skills with education opportunities for Latinas and migrant youth.
For 10 years, Adelante Mujeres, a Forest Grove nonprofit, has offered education and empowerment programs for Latinas and their children, including English language, kindergarten readiness and leadership programs for middle-school girls.
When Adelante Mujeres wanted to add a conservation component to its education programs, they called their longtime partners at Tualatin Riverkeepers. While Adelante Mujeres has participated in Tualatin Riverkeepers’ environmental education and outdoor recreation programs for 10 years, last autumn’s meeting marked the first time the two organizations collaborated to build a program to meet their common goals.
Each organization can be classified differently – Tualatin Riverkeepers as environmental, Adelante Mujeres as human services. But both need each other to accomplish their shared values and missions: healthy water and healthy people. In addition to the Metro grant to help launch Adelante Conservación, this partnership has also been fostered by the Center for Diversity and the Environment, a national organization to mentor racially and ethnically diverse leaders in the U.S. environmental movement.