Serving as an equal employment opportunity specialist for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Jacquelyn Elizarraraz developed a unique perspective regarding diversity and inclusion in the context of natural resource management. Her work creating opportunities for underrepresented groups to learn about and participate in recreation and conservation eventually introduced her to Latino Outdoors. After facilitating a partnership between Latino Outdoors and the BLM California, Jacky began volunteering for the organization, and today serves as a regional coordinator for the Central Valley. She works with six other volunteers to facilitate monthly outings for community members of all backgrounds. As a queer, Latina woman, Jacky has not always felt safe exploring the outdoors with her wife, and has come to understand the importance of representation and normalization of underrepresented groups in public lands/outdoor spaces. Growing up in her life-long home of the California capitol valley, it is her experiences that drive her to continue to pursue her passions within her community.
“I work for a federal agency that historically is not very well known to the public and often left out of the conversation. I see how it works hard to create a diverse workforce while balancing the challenges of working with the need for recreation and conservation. I also volunteer for Latino Outdoors in a region where the population’s primary understanding of working or being outdoors is field work. Growing up, I saw on a daily basis how my family loved the land they worked on. I see how the local high school students work hard to maintain their love for the outdoors, face their daily challenges and still learn from what we offer. As a gay woman, I do not always feel safe going outdoors with my wife, yet I still strive to make sure that others feel welcomed.”
Jacky is a member of the 2017 Emerging Leaders Program.