"The trees don't judge where you come from or what language you speak, the river won't look at your bank account, and the sun won't look at you any different for walking down a certain road" - Juan D. Martinez

explore, empower, and create
for positive change

Working to empower community to bridge the gap between people and the great outdoors

A proud product of South Central Los Angeles, Juan D. Martinez is the Children and Nature Network’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships.  He s also a National Geographic Explorer, and a TED Speaker.


At an early age, his passion to empower youth individuals led him to direct the Sierra Club’s first environmental justice youth leadership academy in Los Angeles, and his interesting journey continued from there.


Juan represented The North Face as an ambassador for outdoor engagement and his adventures include reaching the Summit of the Grand Teton in 2010 with famed mountain climber Conrad Anker.


From there, Martinez was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and travels across the US speaking and encouraging other young people to explore the outdoors.  In 2014 The National Science Teachers Association’s Multicultural and Equity Committee honored Juan for his work as a Global Explorer.


A few years ago, Juan was invited to be a Murie Center Explorer in Residence in Grand Teton National Park, WY.  Following his residence experience, he was elected to the Murie Center’s Board of Directors.


During his time at the Murie Center, he met and married Vanessa Torres.  His compelling journey and their wedding was filmed for the documentary feature, “Love in the Tetons,” which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, and was a finalist in the 2015 Banff Film Festival.


Juan is on The Wilderness Society’s Governing Council, elected in 2015; and in 2012, he was elected to the Sierra Club Foundation Board, their youngest member ever.


An excellent and convincing speaker, Juan participated in the first TED Youth national conference in New York, and TEDx in Jackson Hole, WY.


Crediting his experience of growing up in South Central L.A. with a deep understanding of the need to connect children, families, culture and communities with the natural world, Juan has made a commitment to help empower the next generation of conservation and outdoor recreation leaders.


Juan’s most recent contribution to furthering his mission is joining the Ambassador Program of Yvon Chouinard’s “1% for the Planet,” an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet.


Through the C&NN Natural Leaders Network, Juan is working with strategic partners and dedicates his energy on grassroots campaigns to empower, explore, and create positive change.


Juan and his wife, Vanessa, live in Los Angeles, CA. with their King Charles spaniel Bucky.




Juan Martinez speaks regularly to general and specialist audiences about diversity, youth leadership, conservation, exploration, and environmental education. If you are interested in booking Juan as a speaker for your event, please send an inquiry.


Upcoming Speaking and Event Calendar

Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Location: Baltimore, MD

Host: National Aquarium

Event: Nature for All: A dialogue about diversity in conservation

For More Information: https://aqua.org/Visit/Activity-Calendar/mlb-nature-for-all


Date: Monday, April 8th, 2019

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Host: The City of Phoenix 

Event: 2019 PHX2Zero Lecture Series

For More Information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-phx2zero-lecture-series-tickets-56055817459




Date: Friday, February 2nd 2018

Location: Ocean City, MD

Host: Maryland Association For Environmental & Outdoor Education

Event: 2018 MAEOE Conference

For More Information: https://maeoe.org/professional-development/conference/conference-speakers?platform=hootsuite


Date: Thursday, February 8th 2018

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Host: The Central Arizona Conservation Alliance

Event: Conservation Celebration Luncheon

For More Information: https://www.dbg.org/events/conservation-celebration


Date: Saturday, April 14th 2018

Location: East Lansing, MI

Host: National Geographic Learning at Michigan State University

Event: 5th Annual National Geographic Learning Symposium

For More Information: http://elc.msu.edu/events1/learning-symposium/


Date: Wednesday, September 30th 2015

Location: New Paltz, NY

Host: Environmental Grantmakers Association

Event: Annual Fall Retreat

https://ega.org/events/retreatFor More Information: 


Date: Thursday, October 1st 2015

Location: Austin, TX

Host: Explore Austin

Event: 2nd Annual Ascent Speaker Luncheon

For More Information: http://www.exploreaustin.org/2nd-annual-ascent-speaker-luncheon


Date: Wednesday, October 7th 2015

Location: Jackson Hole, WY

Host: SHIFT Jackson Hole 

Event: SHIFT Summit

For More Information: http://shiftjh.org/


Date: Thursday,  November 5th 2015

Location: San Francisco, CA

Host: Outdoors Empowered Network

Event: National Summit 2015

For More Information: http://www.outdoorsempowered.org/national-summit2015/



Date: Tuesday, April 7th 2015

Location: Austin, TX

Host: Children & Nature Network

Event: Children & Nature Network 2015 Conference

For More Information: http://www.childrenandnature.org/site/conference2015/


Date: Monday April 20th 2015

Location: Atlanta, GA

Host: Keeping It Wild

Event: Keynote

For More Information: http://www.eventbrite.com/o/keeping-it-wild-554952665


Date: Thursday, April 23rd 2015

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Host: Kingsborough Community College

Event: Annual Eco-Festival

For More Information: http://www.kingsborough.edu/eco-festival/Pages/default.aspx

Date: Saturday, April 25th 2015

Location: Fresno, CA

Host: Reedley College

Event: STEM Conference 2015
For More Information: http://reedleycollege.com/index.aspx?page=1861


Date: Tuesday, May 12th 2015

Location: Seattle, WA

Host: REI

Event: Diversity, Equity, and America's Conservation Legacy

For More Information: http://www.rei.com/event/66349/session/114461/06022015


Date: Wednesday, May 13th 2015

Location: Richmond, CA

Host: Bay Area Open Space Council

Event: 25th Anniversary Celebration

For More Information: http://openspacecouncil.org/community-events/conference/


Date: Friday, May 22nd 2015

Location: Telluride, CO

Host: Telluride MountainFilm

Event: MountainFilm Festival

For More Information: https://www.mountainfilm.org

Date: Friday, March 18th 2016

Location: Trenton, New Jersey

Host: New Jersey Conservation Foundation

Event: 20th Annual NJ Land Conservation Rally

For More Information:  http://www.njconservation.org/conservationrally.htm


Date: Friday, April 8th 2016

Location: Wilmington, NC

Host: University of North Carolina Wilmington

Event: 2016 STEAM Expo

For More Information: http://www.ncsciencefestival.org/2016_event/uncw-expo/ 


Date: Wednesday, April 13th 2016

Location: Dallas, TX

Host: National Geographic Learning

Event: COABE National Conference

For More Information:  http://www.coabe.org/conference2016home/



Date: Friday, April 15th 2016

Location: Miami, FL

Host: Miami-Dade County

Event: Great Parks Summit

For More Information:   http://www.miamidade.gov/parksmasterplan/great-parks-summit.asp



Date: Saturday, April 16th 2016

Location: Joshua Tree, CA

Host: Mojave Desert Land Trust

Event: Spring Open House

For More Information: http://www.mojavedesertlandtrust.org/news.php



Date: Friday, April 22nd 2016

Location: Laramie, WY

Host: University of Wyoming

Event: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Outdoors

For More Information:  http://www.uwyo.edu/uw/calendar/#/?i=2


Date: Thursday, May 12th 2016

Location: Seattle, WA

Host: Living Futures Institute

Event: Living Futures Conference

For More Information: http://www.livingfutureunconference.org/