Carlos Lerma

Roles at NAAEE:

30 Under 30

Community Programs Coordinator
Nature Kids Lafayette

Carlos is a native Coloradan with family roots in Mexico. He was born and raised in the outdoor mecca of Boulder, CO, but fell in love with nature and the outdoors in rural Mexico on his grandfather’s swaths of ranching land where he spent his summers well into his teen years. He would help his grandfather herd cattle, sometimes on horseback, or feed the pigs and play in the “jungle” that was his grandmother’s backyard garden with his siblings and cousins. He further cultivated his love for nature and the outdoors when he moved to Flagstaff, Arizona to pursue his undergraduate degree. He spent a lot of time wandering the ponderosa pine forests and visiting with the rock formations of the Grand Canyon.

He graduated in May of 2013 and after completing his research in functional morphology at NAU, returned to Boulder, CO in the fall. He accepted an internship with Environment for the Americas (EFTA), a non-profit dedicated to bird conservatio, increasing environmental awareness around the America and the Caribbean, and the home to International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD). Here he was able to merge his passion for biology, nature and the outdoors with his ability to connect with people of different backgrounds. Through his internship, he worked to connect diverse audiences to conservation efforts and helped lead the way for a new generation of environmental stewards. He worked closely with fellow Latino interns to create events all across the west, celebrating a mixture between culture and the environment.

His work with EFTA and the Latino community in Boulder led him to the Thorne Nature Experience and the Nature Kids/Jóvenes de la Naturaleza (NKJN) Program.  He worked on an effort to mobilize a community around nature connection, with the intent of creating a program for the people by the people. The NKJN program went through an extensive one year planning process and Carlos was diligent in representing members of the community whose voices are rarely heard at the table every step of the way. Throughout the planning process he was able to connect in a way unlike before with students, parents, teachers and leaders from the community. They proposed, with the help of some of the best EE providers in the country, a one-of-a-kind program that now provides youth and their families in the community a connection to nature and the outdoors.