California State Parks Foundation is pleased to announce we will be funding 27 organizations with over a quarter of a million dollars as a result of our most recent grant round. These grants reflect our commitment to increasing youth access to state parks and will be instrumental to our work of bringing more meaningful and highly impactful youth-focused programs into state parks. Find a full list of grantees and a brief description of the programs funded below.
Adventure Risk Challenge
Community Leaders Program for high school youth from the Tahoe/Truckee community and Central Valley (Merced and Fresno Counties). Majority come from families that live below the poverty line and speak no English at home. Students participate in a year-long, intensive, academic and leadership progression, including multiple weekend visits to California state parks. This program aims to build cohorts of youth to become vocal and active leaders in their communities, and to become ambassadors in their schools, families, and communities for the outdoors and, by extension, California’s state parks.
State Parks: Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, San Luis Reservoir, Castle Rock and others
Amigos de Bolsa Chica
Follow and Learn about the Ocean and Wetlands (FLOW) program teaches youth about wetlands, coastal water quality and marine ecosystem health. Citizen scientist volunteers are trained to collect water samples at Bolsa Chica State Beach and perform basic tests.
State Parks: Bolsa Chica State Beach
Bay Area Wilderness Training
Low- cost outdoor leadership training courses and free equipment loans for teachers and youth workers to equip them with the skills and confidence needed to engage their youth in a variety of outdoor activities, such as nature walks, hiking, camping and backpacking. Participants learn about topics such as logistics of trip planning, proper use and maintenance of outdoor equipment, outdoor safety and risk management, diversity and inclusion in the outdoors, and group activities to make trips educational and meaningful for youth. Free equipment loans provided to BAWT trained teachers (such as tents, sleeping bags, pads, clothing, stoves, hiking, boots, and more).
State Park: Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, Henry W. Coe State Park
Crystal Cove Conservancy
Crystal Cove Conservancy Project CRYSTAL is an ecological restoration program for elementary and middle school students in Orange County. The program is a partnership between Crystal Cove Conservancy, UC Irvine’s Center for Environmental Biology, elementary and middle school teachers in Orange County, and resource managers from Crystal Cove State Park. Participating students not only have the opportunity to do ecological research but are also encouraged to be lifelong environmental stewards. The majority of these students come from Title 1, low-income schools.
State Park: Crystal Cove State Park
Hands-on immersive environmental education for minority, underserved youth through outdoor experiential learning opportunities to create leaders and future park stewards.
State Parks: Castle Rock State Park, China Camp State Park, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Henry W. Coe State Park, Sunset State Beach, McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park
Exploring New Horizons
Immersive experiences for 6th grade, low-income youth from schools in Salinas and/or Northern Monterey County, through environmental education that inspires students through storytelling, music and hands-on discovery. Creating future stewards for state parks.
State Parks: Natural Bridges State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Feather River Center
Transportation for overnight science camps for Chico 5th graders, and summer day camp trips for youth and families from Chico, Paradise and Oroville to the North Forebay State Recreation Area. Funds will also support transportation, stipend and training costs for university interns.
State Parks: Lake Oroville State Recreation Area
Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park
This grant will allow diverse, low-income children and youth from Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood to visit Angel Island State Park on a day trip and Mount Diablo State Park on a two-night overnight, providing funding for outreach, transportation, equipment, and staff, as well as visit nearby Robert W. Crown State Beach. The trips will connect them to the wider regional ecologies and history.
State Parks: Angel Island State Park, Mount Diablo State Park, Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach
Leadership and environmental stewardship through outdoor adventure and inner discovery for underserved girls and gender non-conforming youth ages 11-19 from diverse communities.
State Parks: Castle Rock State Park, Big Basin State Park, Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Half Moon Bay State Beach
Leadership development program, Summit Seekers, to develop peer leaders from targeted low-income communities from Richmond. Immersive experiences with outdoor educators that involves camping, hiking, responsible and safe backcountry trip and kayaking.
State Parks: Angel Island State Park, China Camp State Park, Samuel P. Taylor State Park
Vamos Outdoors outings program is designed to alleviate real and perceived barriers to the outdoors by providing culturally appropriate programming and fostering a sense of place within outdoor spaces. This program educates members of underrepresented communities about park access and empowers them to take ownership of these public lands. Program activities will include day-hikes, overnight camping, winter activities and historic talks and interpretive presentations led by volunteer leaders. Will also host a leadership campout for staff and volunteers training.
State Parks: Los Angeles State Historic Park, Rio de Los Angeles State Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Topanga State Park, Leo Carrillo State Park, Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Tomales Bay State Park, Candlestick Point State Park, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Tijuana Estuary NP Point of Interest, Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, Caswell Memorial State Park, Humboldt Lagoons State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and others.
Literacy for Environmental Justice
Literacy for Environmental Justice focuses on serving southeast San Francisco with Eco-Adventure and Eco-Apprentice career development and trainings. Eco-Adventures include in-class presentations and field trips on local cultural history and environmental justice education as well as habitat restoration/stewardship. Field excursions include environmental education, kayak trips, shoreline hikes, and LEJacy Tours. Eco-Apprenticeships include career development and green jobs training in our native plant nurseries and in the field at Candlestick State Recreation Area. This program will serve approximately 200 low-income schools and residents.
State Parks: Candlestick Point State Recreation Area
Los Angeles Audubon Society
This grant will increase the reach of the Los Angeles Audubon Baldwin Hills Youth Leadership and Summer Fellows Program and connect hundreds of urban students to parks like the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park. The program aims to challenge young people (many from under-served communities) to become nature stewards and to empower youth to have a voice in their environmental future.
State Park: Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park
Marin City Community Service District
Leadership training and outdoor experiences for 6th and 7th grade youth who reside in Marin City, historically known for being one of the most impoverished communities in Marin County. The goal of the partnership with various environmental, educational and social service organizations is to expose the youth to outdoor/overnight camping experiences while transforming attitudes as it relates to park stewardship and the environment. The intent is to begin to prepare the next generation of park enthusiasts, naturalists and rangers. This program will strive to leave a legacy that the District provides an invaluable service that prevents criminal behavior, contributes to a reduction in youth entering the juvenile justice system, and supports the health movement through exposure to the outdoors.
State Parks: Angel Island State Park, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Candlestick State Recreation Area
Mendocino Woodlands Camp Association
The Mendocino Outdoor Science School (MOSS) serves youth ages 8-18 (primarily 5th and 6th grade) with outdoor environmental education. The purpose of school is to create good citizens for the planet through discovery-based learning and community building. The MOSS curriculum follows the California Science Framework and employs learning strategies set out in the Next Generation Science Standards. Field groups enjoy hands-on activities investigating the redwood forest, fresh water stream, rocky shore tide pools, and estuary. The concepts of habitat, adaptation, energy flow, nutrient cycling, and interdependence are highlighted and reinforced in each ecosystem.
State Park: Mendocino Woodlands National Historic Landmark State Park
Mono Lake Committee
Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center programs connect inner-city Los Angeles middle- and high school-aged youth to the source of their drinking water through outdoor activities - canoeing, hiking, and service projects - that kindle a lifetime of stewardship and engagement in their public lands.
State Parks: Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, Bodie State Historic Park
Movement Brave Entrepreneur
Mentorship program for high school youth from low-income neighborhoods in San Diego to help them tell their stories before others do. Youth will meet monthly with professionals in their field to gain skills in leadership, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.
State Park: Silver Strand State Beach
50 programs providing opportunities for 475 individual youth to explore state parks, challenge themselves, and discover their strengths. The grant will benefit middle- and high school-aged youth from underserved, "park-poor" communities in San Diego. With every opportunity to hike, bike, surf, camp and kayak, Outdoor Outreach helps youth build resilience and confidence in their power to make a difference. The grant will also allow Outdoor Outreach to work with San Diego Unified School District on recreational learning programs focused on the Tijuana River Valley and backed by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
State Parks: Torrey Pines State Beach & State Natural Reserve, Border Field State Park, Silver Strand State Beach, Seaside State Beach, Mount San Jacinto State Park, Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve, Cuyamaca State Park
Point Bonita YMCA
Y Rangers is a summer camp without walls. Part of a national Y-USA partnership with the Department of the Interior, Point Bonita Y works locally with the National Park Service, California State Parks, and Bay Area partners to provide immersive experiences that connect youth from under-resourced and under-represented communities to Federal, State, and local parklands through an innovative collaboration between YMCA SF and Bay Area recreational, historical and environmental partners. In 2019, the program will offer ten week-long day camp sessions. These summer sessions provide access and allow youth to explore their parks, become better environmental stewards, give back through service, and develop a sense of pride and ownership in their public lands.
State Parks: Angel Island State Park, Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, China Camp State Park
Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center
Series of wilderness outings over the course of two years to enhance the mental health and well-being of under-resourced and overburdened families with young children in Los Angeles. Families living at or below the poverty level face a cascade of issues impacting their mental wellness and capacity to parent well. The Nurture in Nature program provides full-day family outings in nature with the goal of promoting mental wellness, decreasing parenting stress, and enhancing parent-child attachment. Young children thrive when they can access experiences that nurture and support them, and support their parents, too.
State Parks: Will Rogers State Park, Leo Carrillo State Park
Save the Redwoods League
Classroom lessons and field trips to state parks for K-12 schools. Will use the redwood state parks as a learning lab to engage students in science topics such as watersheds, ecosystems, biodiversity and climate change. Youth from ten schools in Humboldt and Del Norte counties will experience the redwood forests as “scientists”.
State Parks: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Humboldt Redwood State Park, Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park
Sonoma Ecology Center
Senderos Naturales serves Spanish-speaking families from Sonoma Valley with opportunities to explore local parks and conservation land with hikes, outings, and camping trips guided by bilingual leaders and designed with their needs in mind.
State Park: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Student Conservation Association
During the summer of 2019 and the following school year, approximately 60 under-served Bay Area youth will visit several state parks in the Bay Area and Northern California. One youth crew will spend three weeks repairing the Rhododendron Trail in Prairie Creek State Park, while the other five crews will visit Henry Coe, Big Basin and Mount Tamalpais State Parks for day-hiking, camping, backpacking adventures. The crew members will be from East Palo Alto, Redwood City, Oakland, Richmond, and California.
State Parks: Prairie Creek, Henry Coe, Castle Rock, Mount Tamalpais State Parks
The Bird School Project
Series of field trips and two Big Day bird counts for 6th and 7th grade afterschool attendees, celebrating the birds and building youth leadership toward stewardship of local state parks.
State Parks: Natural Bridges State Park, Palm Beach State Park
University of California, Merced Foundation
Series of outdoor experiences to expose university students and local youth to outdoor spaces near them and to foster a sense of responsibility for these spaces. They will engage several cohorts of students in a series of 8 service projects, recreation experiences, and retreats in various state parks. The project will also include a capstone project of the course of the academic year that engages a group of local youth in environmental education at a local state park. Participants impacted by these programs will represent the diversity of the central valley and the greater California population. The participants will also be selected from a wide array of academic disciplines found at the University of California, Merced.
State Parks: Parks will vary but will include Wassama Round House State Historic Park, McConnel State Park, San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area, Great Valley Grassland State Park
Four multi-day camping and wilderness trips with underserved youth ages 14 - 24 from the East Bay. For most youth participants, this will be their first time camping.
State Parks: China Camp State Park, Angel Island State Park, Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Salt Point State Park
William C. Velasquez Institute
Hands-on internship program that serves Latino and minority communities in Northeast and Southeast Los Angeles with the goal of bringing together high school students to learn about LA River revitalization, water and park policy, leadership development, college and professional mentorship and public health education. The program will also include an Earth Day Urban Campout event and World Environment Day events at LA State Historic Park which will bring together Eco-Interns, their families, and community members for a weekend filed with outdoor activities, information, and a connection between east and southeast LA communities and the Los Angeles River.
State Park: Los Angeles State Historic Park
These grants are partially funded by Edison International, The Peter and Mary Russo Family Foundation, Margaret Donner Spencer Competitive Grant Program and Ranger Lane Volunteer Enhancement Fund.
Learn more about grantmaking opportunities through CSPF and when the next grantmaking opportunity will be announced.
Learn more about our grantmaking process and our commitment to increasing youth access and exposure to state parks.