Arturo Garcia discusses his background, goals and work with the Forest Service

Arturo Garcia with Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell

National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the culture and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Originally started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, it is now a 30-day celebration that starts Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15.

We sat down with Conservation Education Intern Arturo Garcia to learn more about his background and work with the Forest Service.

Arturo was born and raised in St. James, Minnesota. His parents immigrated to the US in the 1980s to pursue their dreams of owning a home, having fulfilling professional careers and raising a family.

He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Political science and cultural anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Arturo holds an associate degree in liberal arts and sciences from Rochester Community and Technical College.

What does National Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

It means the unity of my peoples of color, blood, and sociocultural upbringings in America and across the globe. It means that we are present and that we are celebrating our past as well as our future. It is a celebration, an understanding, a community, a language, an art, a service, a memorial, a person and a place. That is what it means to me.

Why did you decide to work with the Forest Service?

I chose to work for the Forest Service to broaden my understanding of nature, serve my community and discover helpful resources related to my professional goals. After graduation, I plan to enlist in the military and practice law in military courts around the world. Once my service is complete, I would like to go to law school for international law and pursue a career in foreign affairs for the U.S. government.

How has your experience been?

I found the experience very rewarding. So much so that I came back this year! It was powerful to be able to reach out to underserved communities in Milwaukee with messages on the importance of natural resources. Conservation education topics included water, forests, wildlife, plants, fire prevention, stewardship and conservation careers. I’ve observed Regional Office operations, witnessed on-the-ground management of national forests, explored Milwaukee and bridged an educational gap with neighboring communities connecting them to the natural resources all-around them through strong messages and positive mentoring.

How have you applied your cultural heritage to your work with the Conservation Education program?

My cultural heritage comes into play when my assistance is needed to translate lesson plans, direct a particular task, or serve as a role model to a child with the same cultural background. It was inspiring to the youth to observe someone with a similar background working for a federal agency like the Forest Service.

What advice do you have for anyone interested in Forest Service employment?

Si se puede! (It is possible)

Also, since my sister and I were young, my parents instilled in us the importance of education as a gateway to freedom. I have found this to be very wise guidance; it has certainly served me well.