Hey friends!

First of all, I want to say how amazing it was have met you all in Colorado! It was definitely a trip to remember. I am sure we can all agree that many genuine connections were made. Every room was full of energy!

There are so many trip highlights it’s hard to pick just one. Even the long bus rides were meaningful. They were full of stories from those sitting around me and also beautiful views! Of course, going to Rocky Mountains National Park was incredible, and everyone I met there was really inspiring and helpful. Like us, they are all motivated by their love for parks, open space, and preserving stories that are important to our cultures.

This was my second year with LHIP (first was in 2015), and I am still amazed by all the grand opportunities that this program provides for us. I am forever grateful.

Written by Ilianna Padilla
My name is Ilianna Padilla and I am a graduate student at Cal State Long Beach studying Environmental Geography. I love all things wild, being in the outdoors, and traveling. What sparked my interest in nature was reading literature that fed my imagination with beautiful descriptions of wild landscapes that seemed so distant for someone who grew up in a densely urban environment like myself. This is why I want to continue working towards connecting people with the outdoors because I believe that it is crucial to our own well being as well as the health of the natural environment. In the future, I hope to have a career in the National Park Service or run my very own nonprofit organization. This summer I hope to gain a deeper insight on all the great things the National Park Service foes as well as take part in their mission of becoming more relevant to all communities.