In 2009, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation generously funded a pilot program to introduce the educational benefits of California's state parks to youngsters in Oakland, Gilroy and Fresno.
The PORTS statewide program began in 2004 as a collaboration between California State Parks and the California public school system. This alliance puts the great outdoors into the classroom through videoconferencing with Park Rangers and Park Interpreters, as well as augmenting a school districts’ environmental science courses with enhanced curriculum.
In 1977, San Francisco’s Bayview Hunter’s Point community became the home of Candlestick Point State Recreation Area – California’s first urban state park. Although local residents fought to protect this area for use by future generations, the park could not escape the industrial pollution that plagues the entire community of Bayview Hunter’s Point.
When many of us think back to our childhood, we have fond memories of family trips to a special place, whether it is a local, state or national park. These trips out into nature helped us as children bond with our families, explore the natural world, get a better sense of how we fit into that world, and gain an environmental ethic and curiosity.
Coast Alive! is a bold new science education pilot program designed to bring middle school students and their teachers into Southern California state parks and coastal sites to experience and study California’s unique marine environments. Coast Alive! moves students out of the classroom and onto the coast to investigate and help restore fragile coastal environments. The program covers the entire southern coast, including San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
The Outdoor Youth Connection is a collaborative effort of the California State Parks, California State Parks Foundation and Pacific Leadership Institute. Using the outdoors as a tool, the OYC works with teens ages 14 to 17 who are involved in community based organizations to develop leadership and life skills while camping at a state park.