The Field Ranger program was established on the Angeles National Forest (ANF) following the designation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (SGMNM) in 2014. The intent of the Field Ranger program was to provide increased visitor services in high-use recreation areas of the SGMNM and ANF by employing diverse candidates via partnership service-learning programs that created training opportunities for aspiring environmental professionals.

After a 5-year hiatus, the Field Ranger Program has returned! Starting off strong with three Hispanic individuals, the program restarted in June 2023 thanks to partners coming together from the Angeles National Forest, National Forest Foundation, Hispanic Access Foundation, Los Angeles County Regional Park Open Space and Park District, and REI.

Photo by Berenice Martinez

This summer, Field Rangers designed and conducted bilingual interpretive outreach events at the East Fork Oaks Picnic Area in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to celebrate Latino Conservation Week (LCW). This year LCW ran from July 15 to July 23, 2023. It was created to support the Latino community in getting outdoors and participating in activities that protect our natural resources.

For this outreach event, the Field Rangers celebrated their community by creating and leading “Colors of the Forest,” a tabling workshop that teaches the public about their local wildlife, forest ecology, and sustainable recreation. Some activities included creating seed bombs with native wildflower seeds, making nature observations using worksheet prompts, identifying animal pelts and skull models, learning about the importance of composting, and hosting fun quizzes to test the public’s knowledge of Leave No Trace principles. Over the course of the day, there were dozens of contacts with the public, including many local families asking questions about the area and participating in the activities.

Seed Bombs

The seed bomb activity that was led by one of the Field Rangers is a hands-on way to connect the public with nature. A seed bomb is a mixture of seed, clay, and soil. The purpose of a seed bomb is to bring greenery, native plants, and colorful pollinator habitats to the surrounding ecosystem. It was a fun, interactive way to get people of all ages involved and engaged in the outdoors.

Photo by Samantha Carranza

“La Semana Latina de Conservación taught me a lot about the importance of keeping recreational areas safe. Interacting with the youth, locals, and people from all around the world is eye opening and a great opportunity to educate them and also learn from them. The seed bomb activity gives me the opportunity to share knowledge and educate those who aren’t too familiar with plants or the outdoors in general.” - Field Ranger Kevin Torres

Wildlife and Forest Ecology

During the tabling workshop, Samantha Carranza taught the public about the wildlife that lives in the ANF and the importance of recreating responsibly. On the Field Ranger table, Samantha laid out fur pelts and skull models of animals found in the ANF, such as bobcats, skunks, and black bears. This display encouraged visitors to share their own encounters with wildlife in the forest and in their neighborhoods. Samantha also shared recreation practices like the Leave No Trace principles, which promote behaviors that foster a healthy ecosystem.

Photo by Berenice Martinez

“Community events allow the public to experience the forest in a different light and bring back cultural connections that people have with wildlife, while appreciating the beauty of nature. It is important to note that we are one with nature and increasing our exposure to these topics fosters a relationship that benefits all that are involved.” - Field Ranger Samantha Carranza


Berenice Martinez, Field Ranger Crew Lead, educated visitors to the East Fork of the San Gabriel River on the importance of composting and led a “Does it Compost?” activity. The activity created conversations as to why composting can be beneficial to your garden and what and how to compost. There were infographics and handouts the community could take home to learn more. Some even shared that they were starting their composting journey and were happy to learn that not everything can be composted. The children specifically liked guessing what can be composted and shared their joy in getting some of the items correct.

Photo by Samantha Carranza

“The interactions we had this past weekend with the public gave me a sense of joy and pride. I am really happy that the public were receptive and excited to see three people of color out in the forest educating them. Doing this work makes me feel that we are making a difference. It was amazing to see how many people were wanting to learn and ask questions about composting. I hope they learned something beneficial and will use it back at home.” - Field Crew Lead Berenice Martinez.

Latino Conservation Week is one of the many engagement opportunities for the Field Rangers to connect with and educate the public about the Angeles National Forest. For more information about this program, if you’re interested in becoming a Field Ranger, or want to find ways to support, click here.

Cover photo by Paul Preston.


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