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dc.contributor.author Cuevas, Irma en
dc.date.accessioned 2017-03-08T18:33:53Z en
dc.date.available 2017-03-08T18:33:53Z en
dc.date.issued 2016 en
dc.identifier.citation Cuevas, Irma. 2016. Heritage in the Outdoors—Creating a Cultural Bridge Between the Latino Community and Parks: A Case Study in Sonoma County, California. Cultural Resources Management Program, Sonoma State University. en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/187632 en
dc.description.abstract Purpose: Latinos comprise almost a quarter of the population in Sonoma County, yet local, state, and national parks struggle to increase diversity among park users by promoting participation of Latinos in their park programming and gaining their community support. Maintaining cultural and ethnic diversity in parks is important to park management. This case study seeks to determine if becoming aware and informed of different perceptions of nature and the role of heritage in the experience of the outdoors increases diversity and inclusivity in parks. This study focuses on the Latino community of Sonoma County and their use of Sonoma County Regional Parks. By becoming aware of different perceptions of nature and the various ways in which heritage is expressed through socializing in the outdoors and incorporating this knowledge into park programs and outreach, Sonoma County Regional Parks will not only increase usage of parks by Latinos, it will also increase the quality of park experiences at Sonoma County Regional Parks for the Latino community. In addition, Sonoma County Regional Parks will become a role model for other park organizations seeking to increase diversity among park users and greater inclusion of the Latino community. This research is significant to the discipline of cultural resource management (CRM), whose practitioners are responsible for interpreting and managing cultural resources. Procedure: In this case study, I observed the usage of Sonoma County Regional Parks by Latinos. Based on my observations and needs of Sonoma County Regional Parks, I conducted a survey to help determine how Latinos prefer to use parks, what parks are popular among the Latino community, and if parks are important to this community. I surveyed 253 individuals. In addition, I interviewed ten individuals from the Latino community who did not grow up in the United States about their perceptions of nature and asked if those perceptions had changed since adapting to the American culture. I also conducted a review of relevant literature regarding historical usage and beliefs about the nature of parks. Findings: The results of the current study indicate that Latinos’ perceptions of nature do not align with the dominant environmental narrative, in which Western perceptions of nature exclude humans from nature. Results of my research, observations, surveys, and interviews also indicate that Sonoma County Regional Parks, unlike national parks, are not lacking in diversity of users. Sonoma County Parks are used by various ethnic communities and for various recreational activities. Yet, much like national, state, and city parks, Sonoma County Regional Parks do not take into account different perceptions of nature and heritage practices such as socializing, perpetuating traditions, speaking traditional language, and melding past traditions with the present. In the surveys that I conducted, 51.98% of the participants responded that they would be more likely to use Sonoma County Regional Parks more if there were more group picnic areas. Heritage plays an important role in how parks are used and understood. Parks that are developed based on the dominant environmental narrative do not provide facilities for heritage practices to take place. Dr. Laura Jane Smith has identified socializing as part of the heritage process (Smith 2006:41). Providing spaces for heritage practices in parks increases diversity, inclusivity, and support for parks among park users. Conclusions: Sonoma County Regional Parks, state parks and national parks management, staff, and park planners need to re-examine their perceptions of nature and take into account cultural heritage when developing park programs, creating new parks, and/or updating existing parks. To Latinos and other ethnic communities, parks are locations that facilitate heritage practices. Providing programs that are culturally relevant and facilities that provide spaces for heritage practices to take place and establishing meaningful and lasting relationships with diverse communities will increase the following: quality of park experience, diversity, inclusivity, community support, and financial and political support This case study adds to the growing body of research in heritage studies and environmental anthropology, exploring and analyzing the various ways in which ethnic communities use public parks, issues of diversity in various public parks (national, state, and local parks) and how to create culturally competent park organizations. This research also explores and analyzes different perceptions of nature and can be used as a guide on how to increase diversity and inclusivity in various park organizations and environmental non-profits. en
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.publisher Cultural Resources Management Program, Sonoma State University en
dc.title Heritage in the Outdoors—Creating a Cultural Bridge Between the Latino Community and Parks: A Case Study in Sonoma County, California en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.contributor.sonomaauthor Cuevas, Irma en
dc.contributor.committeeMember Wingard, John, Ph.D. en
dc.contributor.committeeMember Purser, Margaret, Ph.D. en
dc.contributor.committeeMember Watt, Laura. Ph.D. en


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