Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Audubon Society

Connecting students to state parks through nature and science education

At the beginning of the year, we awarded a $5,000 grant to the Los Angeles Audubon Society to fund 12 busses that helped bring hundreds of students from schools in urban Los Angeles to their outdoor education program at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.

The Nature Exploration Program provides experiential, outdoor learning to inner-city students in a park filled with wildlife and plants, providing students with a greater awareness of wildlife conservation, a skill set for observing and appreciating plants and wildlife in their own neighborhood, and a sense of environmental stewardship toward the city and its natural habitats.

But to get all these benefits of this program, students need to be able to get to Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. Our grant allowed the Los Angeles Audubon Society to offer a bus scholarship program for schools unable to provide their own transportation to get their students into this special outdoor learning environment.

The most recent tour season ended this summer, and Cindy Hardin, Outdoor Education Director, shared with us how successful it was: "A fantastic staff of docents and interns truly gave it their all this year, with lots of positive feedback from teachers and students. In all, 14 different schools visited us at the park, over the course of 17 tour days. A total of 952 students participated in the program. A giant thank you to the California State Parks Foundation for their support!"

Learn more about grants like this.


At last year's Palomar Mountain State Park Apple Festival, volunteers helped run the annual apple pie eating contest

Volunteer and Camp with Park Champions

Don’t pack away your camping gear just yet! Squeeze in one last summer road trip while helping a favorite park or discovering one for the first time. Many state parks across our beautiful state are offering our Park Champions group camp sites as a thank you for volunteering. Volunteer with us and find out why camping with Park Champions is such a treat! Here are just a few of our upcoming projects with camping opportunities:

  • China Camp and Cuyamaca Rancho state parks: Get a workout restoring popular hiking, biking and equestrian trails.
  • Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park: Help preserve this historic town. The park memorializes the only California town to be founded, financed and governed by African Americans. Join us for guided tour of the historic buildings after the workday.
  • D.L. Bliss and Salt Point state parks: Help park staff close the campgrounds for the season by cleaning out fire rings, clearing debris and surveying for future repairs.
  • Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park: Clear overgrowth surrounding historic sites at our inaugural Park Champions workday at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. After the work is done, we'll explore the former site of California’s largest hydraulic mine!
  • Palomar Mountain State Park: Run activities booths at the yearly apple festival! Help organize sack races, old fashioned crafts and an apple pie eating contest. While you’re there, enjoy fresh apple cider, hay rides and live music too!
  • Plumas-Eureka State Park: Explore one of the earliest mining towns in the Sierra Nevadas! Volunteers will work in teams to conduct an archaeological survey at Eureka Mills.

Register for an upcoming Park Champions project near you, and check out our Flickr to be inspired by photos of volunteers' recent accomplishments.


Photo © Julianne Bradford

Keeping San Onfore State Beach Protected

For the last 15 years, California State Parks Foundation has worked with key conservation partners on the Save San Onofre Coalition to preserve San Onofre State Beach from a proposed toll road being constructed through the heart of the park. Regional, state, and federal decision makers all sided with us, denying permits for a road that would decimate the park and the San Mateo Creek watershed. After years of public hearings, community outreach, lobbying, and lawsuits, we were able to permanently protect the park by settling a coalition lawsuit and establishing an avoidance area, which clearly defines where a road cannot be constructed.

Now, the City of San Clemente and The Reserve Maintenance Corporation filed separate lawsuits to undo those protections. What’s more, Congressman Darrell Issa voiced support for undoing the settlement agreement and pursuing a route that would go through the avoidance area.

More information about the campaign to keep San Onofre State Beach protected at Save San Onofre Coalition. We will keep you updated on opportunities to use your voice to defend San Onofore State Beach.


Making a difference in state parks: 2016-17 annual report

The special 2016-17 annual report edition of Parklands is now available online. In it, we share some of our successes, achievements and highlights of the fiscal year, and the impact your support has had on protecting, improving and advocating for our state parks.

With your support, together we:

  • Awarded $112,890 in 22 grants for 35 state parks to restore historic structures, engage their communities and more
  • Engaged thousands of California youth with state parks, many for the first time
  • Helped our park partners collaborate with each other and the state, and build capacity to support their parks
  • Rallied more than 4,000 people to volunteer in nearly 50 state parks, including our first Park Champions volunteers to reach 100 work days
  • And much more!

When you love, visit and support our state parks, you make a difference. You made so much possible over the past year, and we’re even more excited about what’s to come. Read more about these results, and many others, in our 2016-17 Annual Report. Thank you again for all that you do to care for the parks we love.


Birds on the pier at Seacliff State Beach © Bruce J Fournier

August's Photo of the Month

Congratulations Bruce J Fournier, whose photo taken at Seacliff State Beach is August's Photo of the Month!

You could be our next winner! Join our My California State Parks Flickr group to become part of a community of photographers and park lovers sharing their images. Once a month, a winner is selected to win a prize thanks to our sponsor, Lowepro!


California State Parks Foundation

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