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Celebrating Diverse Histories

Many national parks reflect America’s natural beauty. Others show another type of American beauty – the cultures and traditions of people from every walk of life. National parks honor our different experiences and united histories. Latino culture is a vibrant part of this cultural mix.

Carmel Benavides was possibly the first Hispano to cross the Santa Fe Trail. Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia was a botanist and conservationist who fought to preserve the Northern Californian redwood forest. Emma Tenayuca was a labor organizer and civil rights activist during the Great Depression. José Sarria was a WWII veteran and LGBTQ+ activist in San Francisco. The stories and contributions of Hispanic and Latino people in America are diverse and continue to impact our lives today. These histories help us explore a broader range of individuals and communities – each with their own story to share – and invite us to imagine our future together.

The National Park Foundation (NPF)’s work in history and culture supports educational programs, professional development opportunities, and the rehabilitation and preservation of historic sites and artifacts in national parks across the country. NPF and NPS are working to expand storytelling in parks to share a more comprehensive history of the U.S. so we can all gain a greater understanding of parks’ history.

NPF uses the terms Latino and Hispanic. While the intent is to honor inclusivity and be representative of various ways that people identify, we recognize that this language does not account for all identities. We also recognize the importance and need of specificity in reference to distinct communities.

NPF's Work in This Space

NPF supports national parks, programs, and projects that highlight the stories of Hispanic and Latino people in the U.S.

Sunlight on the bluffs
Latino Heritage Fund
Latino Heritage Fund
Established in 2011, and originally called the American Latino Heritage Fund, NPF’s Latino Heritage Fund preserves, reflects, and engages the diverse stories and communities of Latinos throughout American history for future generations.
Learn More about Latino Heritage Fund
  • Karli Tirapelle wears an orange hardhat as she uses a chainsaw to cut down a tree.
    Cultural Landscape Apprenticeships
    NPF’s Cultural Landscape Apprenticeships program helps connect young people to careers in historic preservation and natural resource management at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
  • A person wearing a backpack looks out at a mountain vista
    NPF’s ParkVentures program helps engage historically excluded communities through outdoor recreation in national parks by supporting projects that focus on representation, accessibility, and interpretation.
  • Cattle grate leading across an expansive landscape at sunset
    NPS Theme Study
    In 2013, NPF’s Latino Heritage Fund sponsored a theme study for the National Park Service. The study, “American Latinos and the Making of the United States,” provides a framework for NPS to continue their work to identify, preserve, and interpret places that tell stories of Latinos in the U.S.
A suspended bell, bright blue shutters, and two rows of colorful tiles set against a orange stone wall
Area of Work
History & Culture
History & Culture
NPF’s History & Culture programs support dynamic educational programs, professional development opportunities, rehabilitation of historic sites, and the preservation of artifacts and places that help us better understand America today by fully reflecting our past.
Learn More about History & Culture
  • A group of young service corps members walk on an elevated wooden path through a densely forested tr
    Service Corps
    NPF works with national parks and other partner organizations to engage diverse youth and young adults to address priority projects in parks. 
  • Exhibits along the wall of the Pullman visitor center
    Inclusive Storytelling
    Established in 2023, NPF’s Inclusive Storytelling program supports projects that help parks share more inclusive and comprehensive narratives. Grants enable work that documents, preserves, and shares the voices and actions of people who are not often recognized as having shaped our history or for whom the struggle for social, racial, and environmental justice continues.

Related Stories

  • A group of people walk along a dock
    Latino Leaders Create Community Outdoors
    NPF’s ParkVentures program, in collaboration with Nature Valley, supported various Latino Outdoors events in Boston, bringing the local Latino community together to foster a strong connection to nature and embrace their culture and family outdoors.
  • Two women hold their skirts up to the side, standing next to living history performers in 1700s military uniform
    Celebrating Latino Culture at Florida's National Monuments
    In 2022, NPF’s Latino Heritage Fund supported Latino outreach programs at Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments that reached more than 2,500 people, including many first-time visitors from the Hispanic and Latino communities, through a movie night and participation in the Unidos En La Música (united in music) community event.