Hispanic Heritage Month Employee Spotlights: Kasandra Richardson

This Hispanic Heritage Month, members of the Latinx, Hispanic, and Multicultural Employee Resource Group at National Wildlife Federation are coming together to share our stories — in our own words. Join us as we explore the complexities of our identities throughout the month.

Kasandra hiking at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Name: Kasandra Richardson

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Position: Senior Digital Campaigns Coordinator

Equitable Storytelling and Engagement

What interests you about conservation?

My interest in conservation began at the intersection of outdoor recreation and industrial pollution. I hold my connection to nature close and believe in the power of nature to heal the human spirit – botany and hiking are my favorite way to connect with the natural world. I also was raised in a community affected by industrial pollution which influences the way I look at environmental justice.

I am most interested in broadening the cultural conservation conversation — who counts as an environmentalist or who is considered an outdoorsperson — while at the same time ensuring justice for our communities and working towards a better future for our shared planet.

How would you describe your cultural identity? How do you identify yourself? Why?

I’m a proud Chicana. There are also other identities that influence my expression of culture, like being multiracial and multi-ethnic, but Chicana is the word that best represents my multi-layered identity and allows for nuance. Chicana is also a nod to the political nature of what it means to be “other” in this country at this moment and the activism that has paved the way. For me, it’s also a powerful reclamation of identity.

How did you end up at the National Wildlife Federation?

I came to National Wildlife Federation because I get the unique opportunity to work on conservation projects like gardening for monarchs while at the same time connecting that work to thriving communities and working towards environmental justice and equity and justice within the field. People and wildlife are often viewed as separate in the conservation field and I appreciate being able to work towards a better future for people and nature in a holistic way.

Kasandra hiking with a dunes background
Kasandra hiking at the Indiana Dunes National Park with her cousin.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for people to engage with and experience the diversity of our cultures. To learn from each other and recognize the contributions our heritage and our people have had and continue to push forward. I think creating a greater shared understanding of our individual and collective stories will allow us to move closer to collective liberation.

What is one thing you want others to know about Latinidad?

We are not a monolith – there are many things that we share and there’s power in our community. However, we are often grouped together without an understanding of the nuances of our identities. Indulge your own curiosity with an aspect of Latinidad and engage critically on a topic you’ve never explored before.