Leaping to LEP: USDA Forest

Service impetus to reach
Limited English Proficiency
(LEP) audiences

Ricardo Martinez, USDA Forest Service
Elaine Chalmers, M.S., USDA Forest Service
Tamberly Conway, Ph.D., USDA Forest Service
National Environmental Justice Conference, Washington, D.C., March 10, 2016

Improving Our Reach to LEP
Audiences
● LEP Requirements & Link to Environmental

Justice
● Practical Considerations
● Examples of Successful Programs & Projects
● Challenges and Solutions
● Future Opportunities to Reach LEP Audiences

Title VI, Civil Rights Act of
1964
No person in the United States shall, on
the ground of race, color, or national
origin, be excluded from participation in,
be denied the benefits of, or be
subjected to discrimination under any
program or activity receiving Federal
financial assistance.

Executive Order 13166
Orders Federal Agencies to:
● Examine services and develop and
implement a system by which LEP
Persons can meaningfully access those
services…
● Work to ensure that recipients of Federal
financial assistance provide meaningful
access to their LEP applicants and
beneficiaries.

DOJ Interpretation of EO 13166
The significant discriminatory effects that the
failure to provide language assistance has on the
basis of national origin, places the treatment of
LEP individuals comfortably within the ambit of
Title VI and agencies’ implementing regulations.

Legal Precedent
Language elicits a response from others, ranging from
admiration and respect, to distance and alienation, to ridicule
and scorn. Reactions of the latter type all too often result
from or initiate racial hostility.
It may well be, for certain ethnic groups and in some
communities, that proficiency in a particular language, like
skin color, should be treated as a surrogate for race under an
equal protection analysis.
~Hernandez vs. New York (1991)

The Link between LEP and
Environmental Justice
Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and
meaningful involvement of all people regardless of
race, color, national origin, or income with respect
to the development, implementation, and
enforcement of environmental laws, regulations,
and policies. It will be achieved when everyone
enjoys the same degree of protection from
environmental and health hazards and equal
access to the decision-making process to have a
healthy environment in which to live, learn, and
work.

Practical Considerations

Who Must Comply and
Who Can be Found in Violation?
All programs and operations of entities that receive assistance from
the federal government (i.e. recipients), including:



State agencies
Local agencies
Private and nonprofit entities
Sub-recipients (entities that receive federal funding from one of the
recipients listed above) also must comply.

All federal government activities must comply .

Four-Factor Analysis
Individualized assessment balancing four factors:
1. The number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to
be served or likely to be encountered by the program
or grantee/recipient;
2. The frequency with which LEP individuals come in
contact with the program;
3. The nature and importance of the program, activity,
or service provided by the program to people's lives;
and
4. The resources available to the grantee/recipient and
costs.

Develop a LEP Plan
●Identify LEP customers / stakeholders
●Identify language assistance methods
●Train staff
●Provide Notice to LEP persons

Types of Language Services
Oral Interpretation - listening to something
in one language and orally translating it into
another language
Written Translation -the replacement of a
written text from one language (source) into
an equivalent written text in another language
(target).

Training Staff
Staff should know their obligations to provide meaningful access to
information and services for LEP persons. Training should include:
● LEP policies and procedures.
● Contact with the public in-person and over the telephone.
● The more frequent the contact with LEP persons, the greater the need
will be for in-depth training.
● Staff with little or no contact with LEP persons may only have to be
aware of an LEP plan.

Providing Notice to LEP
Persons
Examples of notification that recipients should consider include:
● Posting signs in intake areas and other entry points.
● When language assistance is needed to ensure meaningful
access to information and services, it is important to provide
notice in appropriate languages in intake areas or initial points
of contact so that LEP persons can learn how to access those
language services.

1.

California

20%

2.

Texas

15%

3.

New York

13%

4.

New Jersey

13%

5.

Nevada

13%

● 1 out of 6 Texas

6.

Hawaii

12%

● 1 out of 7 New York

7.

Florida

10%

8.

Illinois

10%

Top 10 States with largest
LEP Populations
● 1 out of 5 California

● 1 out of 8 New Jersey and Nevada
● 1 out of 9 Hawaii

9.

Arizona

10.
Massachusetts

9%
10%

● 1 out of 10 people in the United
States

LEP County Population in the United States
THE COUNTIES WITH THE HIGHEST SHARE OF LEP RESIDENTS
INCLUDED:



Starr County, Texas ( 50 percent of total county population);
Aleutians East Borough, Alaska ( 49 percent);
Maverick County, Texas ( 47 percent);
Webb County, Texas ( 47 percent)
THE TOP FIVE COUNTIES WITH THE LARGEST LEP
POPULATIONS:

● Los Angeles County in California (10 percent of the LEP
population),
● Miami County in Florida (3 percent),
● Harris County in Texas (3 percent),
● Cook County in Illinois (3 percent),
● Queens County in New York (2 percent).
*Together, 5v counties represented 21 percent of the total LEP
population, as of 2013.

Translation
“Straight” Adaptation from one language to another

vs.
Transcreation
Create culturally competent materials

Transcreation Process

LEP Resources
www.lep.gov
Comprehensive interagency website in various
languages

Mexico: pastel
Puerto Rico: bizcocho
Argentina: torta

….however, in Mexico, a torta is a sandwich

National Examples: Managed and Assisted
●CCC - Generation Green
●Hmong community
●International Program Office
●Latino Legacy - Green Ambassador Program
●Descubre el Bosque
●FS NatureLIVE! Distance Learning Programs

Central, Northern and Southern
California Consortium
Generation Green

Hmong Community Outreach

Hmong community outreach
Forest Service Web design

Nyob rau xyoo 2000, lub koos haum Central California Consortium (CCC) pib cev tes pab peb Hmoob
thiab peb lub zej lub zog nyob rau hauv San Joaquin Valley. Lub nroog Fresno muaj li ntawm 32,000
leej neeg uas yog caj ceg Hmoob; Fresno yog lub nroog thib ob uas muaj Hmoob coob tshaj nyob rau
hauv teb chaws meskas. Peb Hmoob nyiam mus ua si thiab siv public lands los sis cov hav zoov rau
kev lom zem xws li tua nas tua noog, nuv ntses, pw yos hav zoov, de nceb, thiab ntau yam ntxiv. Lub
koos haum CCC rau siab ntso txhawb thiab pab peb Hmoob kawm peb tau txais kev kawm qhia txog
peb lub loom tiaj los sis environment. Tsis tas li ntawd xwb, CCC kuj cev tes pab rub Hmoob los ua
hauj lwm rau hauv Forest Service.

www.fs.fed.us/global
www.fs.fed.us/global/wings

Community Engagement
through Monarch Butterfly
Conservation

Dual-Language Publicity

Latino Legacy
El Bosque Móvil - The Forest Mobile
Bilingual FS and partner materials

Forest Information Team

• Employed members
• Over 50% bilingual
• Volunteers

FS LEP Assessment (Latino Legacy

Research focus on program assessment and input
from LEP (Spanish-speaking) audience

Language usage

Topic interest

Program interest

I-Triad
Invite people to participate

Include diverse youth,
community members and
leaders in the planning,
development and delivery
processes

Involve diverse communities
in decision-making processes
related to natural resource
conservation
Chavez, D. (2002) USDA Forest

Latino Legacy Program evolution
Houston Greenbelt
Green Ambassadors
● Educational feeder pattern schools
● Recruiting bilingual youth and community

members
● Train in conservation practices and programs
● GAs deliver educational and community outreach

We accepted the opportunity to present during the 2015 National Environmental Justice
Conference in Washington D.C. to share our Green Ambassador model and the impact of
our work in our community, but it didn’t just stop there …

USFS Executive Leadership Team

USDA Secretary of Agriculture
2015 Abraham Lincoln Honors Award
Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach
Latino Legacy
Houston Greenbelt Green Ambassadors

Green Ambassador EJ Community Focus

Health and Fitness Initiative

Texas A&M Forest Service
Community & Urban Outreach Team
Program considers culture

Community & Urban
Outreach Programing

Community & Urban
Outreach Programing

Community & Urban
Outreach Programing

● Surveyed 750 residential landowners in Peach

Creek Plantation subdivision, 5-50 acre lots,
Montgomery County, Texas
● Cultural diversity:
● 45% Spanish heritage
● 30% Caucasian
● 25% Asian-American

● Languages spoken
● English
● Spanish
● Chinese
● Korean
● Vietnamese

2014 Society of American
Foresters
House of Delegates
Cultural Diversity and
Outreach
Texas A&M Forest Service
Urban & Community Outreach Team
Partners

USDA Forest Service
Friends of National Forests & Grasslands of Texas
School Districts
Non-profit organizations

USFS Interface South

USFS Advertising Council Partnership

Hispanic Communications Network
National radio broadcasts in Spanish

FS NatureLIVE
Distance Learning Programs

The Forest Service Early Childhood
SeedlingCentre Ridge Elementary’s /Green
Team Partnership
“Seeking Access through Equal Language and
Environmental Access in early learners”
How did the partnership come about?
Why start with early childhood learners?
Why the seedling project?

The Forest Service Early Childhood Seedling
Centre Ridge Elementary’s /Green Team
Partnership

Centre Ridge Elementary Cultural
Diversity

● 1 of 3 CRES Students are enrolled in English Language
Services (LEP).
● Centre Ridge community speaks Spanish, Chinese,
Russian, Persian, Korean, Portuguese, and Swahili, to
name a few.
● In totality, the School population is majority minority wit
a very proportion of student diversity.

● Heavily urban landscaped community with high
density living
● School grounds act as a secondary focal point
for community outdoor engagement
● Families seek green spaces

The Forest Service Early Childhood SeedlingCentre Ridge Elementary’s /Green Team
Partnership
“Seeking Access through Equal Language and Environmental Access in early
learners”

The Green Team Focus:






Recycling
Limiting Eco Footprint
Conservation
Sustainabilty
Ecology
STEM, Science, and Math
In tune with nature

The 2016 Seedling- Green Team
Conservation Education
Children in Nature
Environmental Equity
EJ/ LEP programs
Multi-age class- 5th Grade

USFS-FCPS Seedling-Green Team Partnership
2016-2017 Pilot Year Plan (MOU)

THE FUTURE PROJECT
Expand the Garden/Meadow Project in partnership with the Green Team
as Seedling Partners.
Students planted native VA plants last year, the goal this coming year is
to add trees, and other seeds
Green Team Seedlings will add additional signs with LEP sensitive
language assistance to help identify the species, give useful
information and fun facts about each plant in the garden.

Focus on the Future
Tree Media Foundation
● Pollinator conservation film series and
restoration campaign ● celebrity voice

● Benitez Strategies
● Spanish-language transcreation
● Campaign to reach culturally diverse
audiences with messages and engagement
in restoration activities

America’s Latino Eco Festival

Know where you’re
headed….

● Know your audience

● Survey to improve

● Develop culturally

appropriate outreach