Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
Roles at NAAEE:30 Under 30
Alfonso is originally from Oakland, CA. He is the Wyoming Coordinator and the Program Committee Head for Latino Outdoors. He also is currently working towards a M.S. in Natural Science Education and Environmental and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming. In May of 2016, Outdoor 30 Under 30 recognized Alfonso as a young outdoor professional who is, “challenging the status quo and driving the outdoor industry forward.”
His interest in the outdoors came at the age of 21 when he went on his first backpacking trip to Yosemite National Park. It was such a powerful experience that it changed his career track. He not only wanted more personal experience in the outdoors, he wanted to share the outdoor experience with others like him. After he graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration, he pursued a career in the National Park Service working in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Alcatraz, and the Virgin Islands. It was during his time working with the Park Service that his views on nature evolved. He developed a sense of stewardship for these special places and wanted to protect them. This new found responsibility was also something he wanted to share with others. He found that higher education would provide a path to create the change he wanted to make in the world.
He spent a year living in Grand Teton National Park, teaching hundreds of students of all ages using a Place-Based pedagogy as part of Teton Science Schools Graduate Program. Concurrently, he created a culturally relevant program in Jackson, Wyoming to address the low outdoor participation rates of the local Latino Community. His programs were aimed at reducing the barriers to participation and building scientific literacy, while being multicultural, multi-generational, bilingual,. He believes that environmental education can serve as the foundation for conservation by providing a connection to people and place.