The San Diego Foundation Friday announced nearly $350,000 in grants for programs aimed at increasing connections to the outdoors for local youths and families.
The grants were awarded through the foundation’s Opening the Outdoors program to 13 nonprofit programs, with a focus on communities with fewer parks and available green space.
“Nature is not an amenity but a necessity for the well-being of San Diegans,” said Lydia Van Note, the foundation’s director of environmental initiatives. “The 2020 Opening the Outdoors grants will help create healthy individuals, communities and economies by making access to the outdoors more equitable across the region.”
Grant awardees include:
- Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center, which was awarded $58,000 to support a partnership between the learning center and A Reason To Survive to design and deliver a two-semester internship, and National City’s first Resident Leadership Academy for youth rooted in outdoor learning, health, creativity, resiliency and sustainability.
- Outdoor Outreach received $50,000 to support in-depth nature-based job training, employment opportunities and youth-led advocacy activities for 40 young adults. Those community leaders will in turn lead and mentor more than 1,000 youth through outdoor youth development programs.
- The Escondido Creek Conservancy, which will use its $45,000 award to develop week-long outdoor engagement opportunities for underserved youth in Escondido to connect with nature through hands-on scientific learning.
- WILDCOAST, which received $45,000 to support the Explore My Marine Protected Areas project, aimed at conserving and managing 11 MPAs comprising 17,779 acres of the region’s coastal and marine ecosystems.
- Ocean Connectors, which got $40,000 to continue offering the Paradise Creek Habitat Restoration and Education and Sea Turtle Discovery Programs to third- and fourth-graders in National City public elementary schools. Ocean Connectors will also add one additional school to the Paradise Creek program and develop virtual education content for the Sea Turtle Discovery Program.
- Living Coast Discovery Center, which received $37,000 for its Trail to Bay Challenge, which encourages families to participate in three guided hikes and one cleanup event in South Bay communities. Funding will expand the Trail to Bay Challenge to areas outside of Chula Vista.
- And Ocean Discovery Institute, which received $25,000 to provide outdoor opportunities to middle school students in the nature-deficient and underserved community of City Heights.
A half dozen capital grants were also announced:
- San Diego County Bicycle Coalition received $15,000 to provide free bicycles and bike safety education to residents of Mid-City through an “Earn a Bike” program and new urban park area.
- City Heights Community Development Corp. received $10,000 to activate an urban trail and steward a community vision for a new park along Chollas Creek in City Heights.
- San Diego Canyonlands was awarded $10,000 to support a pilot internship program that will create a pipeline for City Heights students to develop professional careers in the environmental industry through restoration in San Diego canyons.
- Earth Discovery Institute was given $4,940 to support the Explorers Program, a comprehensive conservation effort that includes education and outreach to elementary students, their families and the community of San Diego.
- Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation received $3,900 to support the Surrounded by Science program, which will provide enriching science-based field trips to Mission Trails Regional Park to local high school students.
- And San Diego River Park Foundation, which will use its $1,150 award to provide 150 youth from an El Cajon elementary school the opportunity to become environmental leaders and engage 1,300 members of their community.
— City News Service
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