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|Status: Active||Start Date: 2009|
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 Packard Foundation worked with CSPF and the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to build relations and extend resources to these underserved communities where kids are often at risk of a "learning gap" during the summer months.
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The program made it possible for more than 730 diverse, urban and low-income youth to experience the outdoors and engage in a variety of educational experiences related to science, natural resources, ecology and more, all designed to improve their academic performance during the school year. More than half of these students had never been to the beach or a state park, nor had they ever been hiking or camping. They were intrigued by the unexpected animals, answers to their own questions, and new plant smells.
Now in its third year, with added sites in San Francisco, Whittier, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Santa Ana, participants, both new and returning, are set to arrive at their local state park ready to explore, play and learn.