Helping Enrich Natural Resources: New Orange County Soil & Water Conservation Board Member
As a new member of the Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District Board, 24-year-old Raquel Lozano is raring to go. Born and raised in Orlando, Lozano is the daughter of a Puerto Rican Army Veteran and a Mexican immigrant. Her parents, along with her grandmother, taught her the importance of civic duty, nurturing her dedication towards caring for the community.
“My upbringing is a core aspect of why I ran and want to be a public servant,” she said. “My grandmother always told me to be compassionate towards others, to give if we have something to provide.”
While interning for Orange County District 5 Commissioner Emily Bonilla, Lozano had the opportunity to work in local government, hosting community events and organizing resources, and she met people along the way who were passionate about serving and understanding their community and wanting to enrich it.
With oversight from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District promotes responsible use and conservation of soil, water and natural resources. It conducts surveys and studies on soil and water quality, educates community members on best land-use management practices, provides resources to farmers and land owners, and works to establish agreements with local government on soil and water initiatives.
Lozano believes addressing important issues requires a strategic plan that includes acting in the best interest of our citizenry, environment, local officials and future generations. “By enacting eco-conscious mandates and bylaws, the district can facilitate productivity and creative networks and partnerships with other organizations to better protect and maintain the environment,” she said.
Lozano graduated from Valencia College with an associate degree in 2016 and recently graduated with two majors — political science and public administration —and a minor in urban and regional planning and a certificate in human resources at the University of Central Florida. Her education has provided her with a deep understanding of community wellness, land-use development practices and sustainability initiatives.
She hopes to connect people through community engagement, promote democracy through education and unite local resources for collaborative projects.
“I just want people to feel cared for and motivated by being part of the process,” she said.
Photo cutline: Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District Board member Raquel Lozano. Photo credit: Raquel Lozano.