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Saturday, September 13 • 1:15pm - 2:30pm
Love in the Tetons: The National Parks of Juan Martinez & Vanessa Torres - FREE ADMISSION

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The NPX film Love in the Tetons tells the story of howfFifteen years ago, Juan Martinez, an at-risk teenager from south-central Los Angeles, stepped off a bus in Grand Teton National Park and saw the stars for the first time in his life. The experience inspired him to connect more diverse and urban youth to nature, and in the process, he met Vanessa Torres, a park ranger, and fell in love all over again. Love in the Tetons, premiered in Feb, 2014 as the debut documentary of the 10-part "National Park Experience" series, reveals the compelling journey that led Juan to the Tetons, to Vanessa, and to his renewed vision of the American Dream: one that blooms out of love, inclusion, and our living, breathing national parks. Speaker Juan Martinez is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, The North Face Ambassador, TEDx presenter, and the Director of Leadership Development at the Children & Nature Network. Vanessa Torres was a Grand Teton National Park ranger, Youth and Diversity Outreach Coordinator, and Co-Founder of the NPS Academy, and currently works for the U.S. Department of Interior. 

Even though many Americans love and visit the national parks, there are still entire communities and an increasing number of youth that don't see themselves as part of the national park story. By making these films, NPX and their visionary leaders Amy Marquis and Dana Romanoff  creates an invitation to every American—regardless of age, race, religion, politics, or economic status—to embrace and become part of "America's Best Idea." Because in 2016, the National Park Service turns 100 years old, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate! Learn more at www.npexperience.com.

Juan Martine
z (Director of Leadership Development and Natural Leaders Network for the Children & Nature Network/a National Geographic Emerging Explorer)

A proud product of south central Los Angeles, Juan D. Martinez is Director of Leadership Development and Natural Leaders Network for the Children & Nature Network. His passion to empower individuals and youth led him to direct Sierra Club’s first environmental justice youth leadership academy in Los Angeles.

 In 2011, Juan was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. The series of National Geographic promotional video’s highlighting Juan and his work won an Emmy in 2011. His TED talk is featured on the curated educational videos, TEDEd. He represents The North Face as an ambassador for outdoor engagement. In 2012 he became the youngest member in history of the Sierra Club Foundation Board. He reached the Summit of the Grand Teton in 2010 with legendary alpinist, Conrad Anker. In 2009 he introduced Department of Interior's Ken Salazar at Powershift in Washington, DC, the largest youth gathering on climate change, and he was invited by the White House to attend the National Forum on Clean Energy Economy. A keynote speaker at the 2010 Outdoor Retailers Winter Show in Salt Lake City, Utah, Juan received a standing ovation following his presentation.

In 2006, Juan was a delegate to the Latino Congreso, the largest gathering of Latino key figures in the U.S. and he is included in “Hispanics Living Green.”  Publication of the book was celebrated in March 2010 with a Congressional reception in Washington, DC. Featured in BlindFold Magazine’s Fall 2013 edition.
He is a recipient of former Secretary of Labor and then Congresswoman Hilda Solis’ Environmental Youth Leadership Award and “Looking to the Future” award from the Breaking the Color Barriers conference, the largest conference on people of color in the great outdoors.  Juan received a “Green for All” 2009 fellowship.

Juan served as Explorer In Residence at The Murie Center in 2012. He dedicates his energy to connecting all people with nearby nature and the great outdoors. 

Vanessa Torres
As a dual graduate from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, TX with a B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Public Administration and a Masters of Education from Ashford University, Vanessa Torres currently serves as the Youth Program Analyst for Department of Interior’s Youth, Partnerships and Service under the Office of the Secretary. In her portfolio, Vanessa is lead on serving as a liaison to DOI Bureaus’ Youth Managers, youth employment, engagement and diversity, relevancy and inclusion.

Torres began her career with an incredible summer with at Kenai Fjords National Park as a Superintendent’s Intern, Vanessa decided to follow her passion for the outdoors and working with diverse communities by pursuing a career with the NPS and now with the Department.  Torres continued her work with the NPS as a student intern during the following summer working at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site and eventually being hired as a Park Guide at Grand Teton National Park in 2008 to assist in opening the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve.   After graduating with her Masters degree, Vanessa was converted into a permanent position at Grand Teton.  In late 2009, Torres began working to reach out to diverse communities in Jackson, WY – Grand Teton’s gateway community— by engaging Latino youth and their families in a variety of park programs.  

Vanessa has aided in developing a variety of outreach programs bridging the gap between diverse communities and their local national green space. Torres also participated in the development of the NPS Academy – a pilot program that brought together 29 diverse college students for a weeklong spring break training to expose students to public lands and potential careers within the NPS.  After the weeklong experience students are placed in internships throughout the NPS. Students serve as “ambassadors” of the NPS Academy when returning to their community to aid in recruiting for the following year. Vanessa was an integral part of developing the NPS Academy program curriculum and assisting in expanding the program to the other regions within the NPS System and assisted in having the program adopted at the NPS national level under the NPS National Youth Program Office.  

Prior to working with the National Park Service, Torres worked for the 21st Century Leadership Center at St. Mary’s University as a Student Community Leader working to bridge the gap between the local San Antonio community and the university.  She also worked as a Policy Intern for Methodist Healthcare Ministries, also in San Antonio, TX.  Torres currently serves at Grand Teton National Park’s diversity outreach and youth engagement coordinator. Vanessa works to establish new partnerships in youth outreach and to connect underserved students and diverse populations to national parks in their backyard. 

Amy Marquis & Dana Romanoff NPX 

Maite Arce, Director HAF (Hispanic Acces Foundation)
Among many initiatives of HAF Maite Arce has launched and championed a most exciting platform for engaging youth with the national parks.

4 Stops, 1 Destination (2014) See:

Following up on last year’s trip, the 2014 Four Stops, One Destination tour will take seven Latino college students to four (okay, it’s actually six this year) national parks to engage Latinos with our nation’s parks and raise awareness about the need to protect these treasures from oil and gas development for future generations. 

During the 1,400-mile trip, the students will produce a video blog and share their experience through social media (#4stops1destination) from each location. They’ll be virtual tour guides showing the beauty and grandeur of each of these parks and educating us all about what they learned firsthand about the energy development threats. 


Maite Arce

President and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation, Hispanic Access Foundation
Maite Arce is the president and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation. Maite’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in search of work and a better life in the 1970s, and she was raised in Southern California. Maite has more than 15 years of experience developing innovative... Read More →


Juan Martinez

A proud product of south central Los Angeles, Juan D. Martinez is C&NN’s Director of Leadership Development and the Natural Leaders Network. His passion to empower individuals and youth led him to direct Sierra Club’s first environmental justice youth leadership academy in Los... Read More →

Saturday September 13, 2014 1:15pm - 2:30pm MDT
The Dairy Center for the Arts, Performance Space. 26th & Walnut Street | Boulder, CO 80302

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