LACE (Latino students, Advancement, Commitment, and Excellence)

Picture of LACE Participants
This wonderful summer youth group in Syracuse was created by Nosotros Radio Inc., “Your Latino Voice.” It is directed by Fanny Villarreal, and the group was created out of the need to provide further education and job training for Latino youth in the Syracuse area.

They worked in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Onondaga County, “La Casita” Cultural Center, CNY Works, and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, among other groups.

LACE youth learned many things over the course of the summer, including job readiness, stewardship, financial security, public speaking, grant writing, and much more. One of the components of their program included creating a community improvement / stewardship project to help people in their neighborhood, attract wildlife, and promote the arts!

Participants Painting a Bench and Mural
The fifteen Latino participants in the program wrote a proposal to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to receive funds, training, and support to create a neighborhood project focused on: habitat improvement (for wildlife and people), the arts, value of the outdoors, and better understanding careers in science. Their proposal was funded!

The students chose to create a bird garden in LIPE Art Park in Syracuse. They built benches, created a beautiful bird garden, painted a mural, and put up bird feeders.

Creating the garden was not an easy task; the park sits on an abandoned train yard, and the soil needed a lot of work!

They traveled to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to showcase their project on Friday, August 24th, 2012. They also connected with scientists at the Cornell Lab, got a tour of Cornell, went on hikes at Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary, visited the Museum of Vertebrates, banded birds with Lab scientists, and learned about careers in science and conservation work in Latin America with senior scientist Eduardo Iñigo Elias.

LACE youth also traveled to the NY State Fair to showcase their project. They planned a poster and interactive activities with the public to teach about habitat restoration and birds.