Congrats to Chris Urias for joining The Trust for Public Land as a GOCO fellow this August! The GOCO Fellowship Program supports positions at our partner organizations to prepare young people for careers in the outdoors. GOCO fellows gain experience in the fields of conservation, outdoor recreation, and stewardship while growing a professional skill set to apply to future endeavors.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Chris, Son of Juana and Bladimir. My parents are from El Salvador, and I grew up here in Denver, Colorado.  I love to explore new places and enjoy spending time with my partner, family, and friends. I previously worked for Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) as a Program Coordinator for the past six years and went on my first trip with them 11 years ago. That first trip was ice fishing, I haven’t even gone normal fishing! You can say that I was hooked after! I am passionate about my community and love helping connect youth and families to the outdoors.

Chris GlacierWhat’s been one of the best experiences of your life so far?

One of my best experiences was in 2019, my partner and I went camping for our birthdays at Glacier National Park! It was breathtaking and I encourage others to visit. It was great to just get out and celebrate one another and enjoy our time exploring the park.

What do you most hope to learn through the fellowship experience?

I hope to learn more about the variety of park projects throughout the state and national level. The Trust for Public Lands was patient on working on the Montbello Open Space Park throughout these years. I am grateful that we now have such a beautiful park in our neighborhood and now inspired to work alongside our communities to create more! I am interested in the philanthropic work that TPL does throughout the state to create opportunities for community led change. 

How do you think the outdoors contributes to communities or to individuals’ quality of life?

The outdoors is essential to everyone! When I was a busy high school student, I joined every club/organization in my school. Then there was ELK, where I explored the mountains, lakes, and our nearby gem, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, which is basically our backyard here in far northeast Denver. As soon as I was exposed to outdoors, it changed my life. I cared more for my local parks and outdoors spaces. I learned we can enjoy our spaces here locally and use these spaces to eventually branch out.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside?

I love camping! Some of my best sleep is when I go camping. The youth refer to me as bear since my snoring sounds carry throughout the campsite. I tend to close my eyes and drift away much quicker when I camp. I love staring at the night sky and watching the stars and planets travel the sky. When I am home, I like to get outside and longboard/skateboard around the neighborhood. I also like to challenge myself and go to the Manitou Incline at lease once a year.

Got a life dream to share or maybe a strong personal passion?

My personal passion is helping people reach health equity! This includes physical, mental, and financial success!