Our Expert Staff

WRA’s team of experts has three decades of working where decisions are made, sweating the details, creating evidence-based solutions, and holding decision makers accountable.

Maritza Arizaga

Maritza Arizaga

Equity and Community Engagement Manager


Equity and Culture

Office Location

Denver, Colorado

Area of Focus

As an interdisciplinary thinker, Maritza is an advocate of environmental justice and equitable conservation. She strives to facilitate opportunities that empower and amplify the voices of communities most impacted by climate change. She embraces difficult conversations to transform conservation/environmental paradigms to dismantle systems of oppression. As a network weaver, she enjoys connecting with peers and colleagues in the pursuit of transformational change.

As Equity and Community Engagement Manager, she fosters equity efforts by coaching and partnering with WRA team members concerning shared principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, as well as building authentic partnerships with diverse communities, individuals, and coalitions who have been disproportionately impacted by climate change.


Growing up in Western Colorado as a first-generation Latina, Maritza was deeply involved in servant leadership and contributed endless hours to her community in the Grand Valley and Roaring Fork regions of Colorado. Those years formed her love for the outdoors, the importance of sense of belonging, and the realization of the injustices that inhibit communities in the West. These principles eventually led her to a career in sustainability which validated that people, environment, and economy are all interconnected.

She acquired her passion for community-led conservation and facilitation during her tenure at The Nature Conservancy where she collaborated with practitioners across the globe using systems-thinking methodologies to develop community-led conservation practices that elevate the voice, choice, and action of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. After her time at TNC, Maritza returned to local work and supported the City of Fort Collins as Senior Sustainability Specialist. She drove equitable public outreach, communications, and involvement processes to engage all stakeholders in implementing ongoing services aimed at improving indoor and outdoor air quality, implementing climate action planning, and increasing recycling and waste diversion.


As part of her Capstone project, Maritza led preliminary research identifying barriers and opportunities for women in conservation. She partnered with the Center for Protected Area Management to identify key practices and recommendations, which eventually led the Center to dedicate a specific leadership program centering women voices in conservation.

She is equally proud of her work at the City of Fort Collins where she facilitated conversations of community governance and partnered with staff to integrate community consultants in the implementation of the City’s “Our Climate Future” guide.

She’s also held volunteer roles as spokes council for the Fort Collins Community Action Network and recently became a volunteer leader for Latinos Outdoors.


  • Associates of Science in Biology – Colorado Mountain College
  • Bachelor of Science in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability – Colorado State University

Favorite thing about the West

There are so many things I love about the West, but my heart will always swell with love and humility when a sunset illuminates a mountain peak while inhaling the surrounding crisp mountain air.

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