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.

In the summer of 2015, the program made it possible for over 3,000 diverse, urban and low-income youth grades K-12 to experience the outdoors and engage in a wide range of outdoor activities including taking part in a living history program at William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park, learning to paddle a kayak, and camping overnight for the very first time. The programs were all designed to improve their academic performance during the school months. 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 eighth year at sites in Oakland, San Francisco, Glenn County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Rafael, Guerneville, and North San Diego County, parks throughout the state are welcoming participants ready to explore, play and learn. More than 12,000 youth have participated in this successful program to date.

2016 Summer Learning Program Providers

East Bay Asian Youth Center, Oakland
Hillcrest Elementary, San Francisco Unified School District
Latino Outdoors, San Rafael
Bahia Vista Family Center, San Rafael
Outdoor Afro, Oakland
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, Guerneville
Glenn County Office of Education
LA’s BEST, Los Angeles
Think Together, Los Angeles
San Bernardino City Schools District/CAPS
Boys and Girls Clubs, North San Diego County
Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority in partnership with Community Liaison Project, Los Angeles

Support for the Summer Enrichment Program has been generously provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Programs, the Russo Family Foundation, and CSPF members.

Teacher Resource Guide

"Explore! Play! Learn! Connecting student groups with their local California state parks" is a planning and resource guide from the California State Parks Foundation.

This resource guide is designed specifically to help connect student groups with their local California state parks and the educational programming found within them. Though this guide addresses some of the special concerns of afterschool and summer program providers, it’s designed for use by grade school teachers, scout leaders, parents, and youth group instructors as well.

View the CSPF Teacher Resource Guide for how to plan your visit to a state park

Additional Links and Resources

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California State Parks Foundation

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