Barrio Viejo, Tucson, AZ.

During my first week interning with LHIP at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge, Arizona, I had the opportunity to attend a volunteer event run by the National Park Service (NPS) Urban Renewal and Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation at Barrio Viejo in Tucson, Arizona. At this event I met fellow LHIP Intern Alex La Pierre, and learned what the NPS is doing to preserve and protect a very important cultural and historical neighborhood by applying for it to become a National Historic Landmark.

It is a very colorful and charming neighborhood that represents so much in not only Tuscon’s history but also that of Arizona’s and the United States, as it has been a territory owned by Spain, Mexico, and the United States. The efforts to make Barrio Viejo a National Historic Landmark will further recognize and protect the area to preserve this cultural resource from encroachment of modern development and further removal of current and historical residences.

While visiting this neighborhood and attending this event I had the privilege of meeting NPS employees, a fellow LHIP intern, and many involved community members who will all be working together this summer to make this happen. It is the first project of its kind where the NPS in partnership with the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation are crowd-sourcing to make this project possible, and even more rewarding and inclusive by involving the community that cares deeply about and relates fondly to the area.

By attending this event I, not only was able to visit a beautiful place but I also got to learn about other current and ongoing NPS projects near me. This one in particular was very interesting and additionally so closely related to the mission of the Latino Heritage Internship Program. I also learned that the NPS is involved with and committed to our communities in so many ways, and that opportunities with the NPS are broad and inclusive of many professional careers.