Ricardo Granados

Ricardo Granados
Ricardo Granados

The bison of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park just entered their winter pasture by the time I visited. These creatures are a big draw for many of the park’s visitors, who trek twenty minutes or so out of Columbus proper to Galloway, Ohio. Yet, as Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks Naturalist, Ricardo Granados explains, there’s more to this 7,103 acre park than roaming furred mammals. Battelle Darby Creek boasts a variety of educational programming, trails, and picnic sites – and Granados wants Latinos from throughout Central Ohio to visit and take ownership of the park that belongs to them.

Metro Parks seek to provide safe and clean access to nature with a total of 19 sites throughout Central Ohio. For the past three-and-a-half-years, they’ve made more specific attempts to increase their accessibility to Columbus’s growing Latino community. Ricardo Granados is spearheading these efforts, and during our conversation, we talked about his approaches to reaching Central Ohio’s Spanish-Speaking population.

Granados pushes against the dated perception that outdoor spaces and activities are popular amongst Anglos only. He cites the influential work of José González, founder of Latino Outdoors, as one educator pushing to diversify outdoor and conservation projects. To achieve that mission here in Central Ohio, Granados provides much needed translation services with Spanish-language page Descubre Metro Parks and is growing the Spanish-language programs the park offers. He stresses that the diversity of Metro Parks’ visitors should reflect that of the community that surrounds them.

A native Buckeye and nature enthusiast:

🎧 Listen (3:14)
“I’m a Columbus native… raised here since I was three months old and I come from a family of Buckeyes.”
“Growing up in an immigrant family… we were kind of lower income at that point in time, but that meant that we spent a lot of time outside… we would go to parks… go to the metro parks.”

Providing outdoor education for a growing community:

🎧 Listen (2:11)
“Being able to provide an opportunity for people in a language and environment they feel comfortable with … giving them [Latinos] an opportunity to engage is what Metro Parks has been doing for the last three and a half years.”

Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks welcomes Latinos:

🎧 Listen (1:50)
“The message I have for the Latino population is that this space is for you, so come enjoy it… this is all here for you… and 99.9% of the time it’s going to be free.”

Ricardo on embracing nature and culture:

🎧 Listen (2:50)
“Latino culture is about community – how do we interact with each other and build each other up as a family unit or as a culture or community – and I think so much of that can take place in a space like a metro park. A clean, green, open space that is safe and people are welcome to come to.”
Unless otherwise noted, all photos and text are copyrighted to Leticia Wiggins. Music for introduction & interlude by The Original Soundtrack (thanks, guys!).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.