Parks California – It’s in our nature Donate

2020 Route to Parks Grantees 


Justice Outside
Outdoor Educators Institute (OEI)

Justice Outside has long worked to remove the barriers that have historically prevented communities of color from accessing meaningful experiences in nature and professional opportunities in the outdoor sector. This grant will support Justice Outside’s Outdoor Educators Institute (OEI), Fresno. Program participants will join trainings that emphasizes cultural relevancy and equity alongside technical outdoor skills. Through this intentional approach, young leaders and partnering organizations get a chance to better understand each other and shift institutional culture and operations. The goal is to expand opportunities for underrepresented youth and connect with leaders in outdoor education programs.

City Heights Community Development Corporation (City Heights CDC)
BLVD to Beach 

City Heights Community Development Corporation will lead 40 low income youth from urban communities on their 6 to 8-hour BLVD to Beach Community Transit Ride and Community Bike Ride to Silver Strand SB. The instructional trips teach participants how to get to Silver Strand SB via bus routes the Metropolitan Transit System plans to brand as “beach buses” and via a 16 mile one-way bike ride with bikes loaned by Outdoor Outreach to navigate through urban street routes to Silver Strand. At Silver Strand SB, through their partnership, Outdoor Outreach is supervising activities and providing equipment for 2 hours of beach and water recreation. 

Ventana Wildlife Society
Ventana Wildlife Society 

In partnership with the “Parks Prescription” program where health or social service providers encourage their patients to spend time in nature for health and wellness, Ventana Wildlife Society is providing free of charge bilingual programming and transportation to bring Salinas youth and families to State Parks in Monterey County. Their programs provide experiences with hands on science learning, physical and relaxation activities. Ventana Wildlife Society is holding weekly youth classes, four family days, and two family campouts in Monterey County State Parks and Beaches. Families will receive equipment backpacks with supplies for future visits and transportation assistance via bus vouchers, gas cards, or reimbursement. 

Sonoma Ecology Center
Increasing Access to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park  

The Sonoma Ecology Center is bringing 800 youth and families from predominantly Latinx communities in the Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa communities to Sugarloaf State Park. The Senderos Naturales program provides monthly bilingual programming for hiking, nature walks, family campouts, outdoor exploration, activities. With assistance with Robert Ferguson Observatory, they also plan to host bilingual Star Parties. Their EnviroLeader program provides youth with opportunities to gain career skills and outdoor training in sustainable agriculture and stewardship. Part of the funding will go into repairs on their van to continue participant transportation. 

Big City Mountaineers
Deepening Relationships Through the Outdoors – A Strengths-Based Partnership Approach 

Big City Mountaineers is partnering with Yoots (Youth Organization Transportation) to transport 40 youth from 4 youth development non-profit partners (YES Nature to Neighborhoods, College Track Sacramento, Multicultural Center of Marin, and Groundwork Richmond) on two hikes and one overnight trip to their local state parks in Richmond, Sacramento, and Marin Counties. BCM is providing free, all supplies included trips with the goals of teaching how to properly prepare for trips to parks, plan future park visits, navigate the outdoors, safely participate in outdoor recreation, and achieve personal growth through experiences in the outdoors.  

Pukúu Cultural Community Services
TUTCINT Nature Advocates 

Pukúu Cultural Community Services hosts monthly nature walks and seasonal cultural workshops, education, wellness experiences, and activities for Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and youth in San Fernando. Pukúu Cultural Community Services provides support and social services to indigenous youth and incorporates healing into their programming to reconnect Native American youth to their ancestral lands. There is also an emphasis on providing knowledge and education about tribal sovereignty and how Tataviam and Chumash land became state land. Programming is aligned with the 4 seasons, teaching traditional ecological knowledge on yucca, elderberry, acorns, as well as story telling, ceremonies, soapstone carving, and the game “Shinney”.  

Regional Parks Foundation (East Bay Regional Parks District)
Parks Express 

The Regional Parks Foundation is supporting transportation for 600 underserved Alameda and Contra Costa county youth to parks in the East Bay Regional Parks District and other supporting programming at State Parks. Regional Parks hosts a variety of different programs and events including programs that focus on fishing and boating, outdoor education, outdoor recreation, litter prevention, and community outreach. Depending on the program, the Regional Parks district provides multiple immersive outings monthly through the year and multi–day experiences with programming specially created for different grade levels and locations based on county. For example, “Adventure Crew” is their 10 month program that brings students to a total of 30 outings and one multi-day camping trip.  

City Surf Project
City Surf Project Surfing 101 

City Surf Project provides no cost access to surfing and ocean instruction and recreation to Title 1 schools and community organizations in underserved communities in San Francisco. The requested funding will go directly into purchasing a van to provide transportation to and from their programs. City Surf Project currently partners with five San Francisco Unified School District schools to support multi-week physical education sources and afterschool enrichment programs through water skills and science. They also host introductory surfing camps and a summer leadership training program to recruit and train City Surf Project graduates to return as instructors for their programs.  

Oxnard Police Activities League, Inc.
Every Kid Needs a Park 

The Oxnard Police Activities League (PAL) is seeking funding to purchase a van to transport youth and volunteers to and from local and out of county programming through their leadership and outdoor youth connection program, “Every Kid Needs a Park”. Their programming includes one day leadership programs in local state parks and beaches as well as local park restoration and cleanup activities in local state beaches. Youth will participate in overnight camping trips and recreation such as kayaking, fishing, and long boarding. PAL focuses on providing experiences that will allow youth to experience the outdoors and take roles of leadership and responsibility in their communities.  

Bay Area Wilderness Training
Increasing Equitable Access to State Parks for Bay Area Youth Through Training and Transportation 

Bay Area Wilderness Training takes educators and youth workers on one day Hiking Leadership Trainings, two–day Frontcountry Leadership Training courses, or six day Wilderness Leadership Training courses to gain skills to be able to lead outdoor trips of their own. BAWT teaches “group and risk management in the outdoors, planning and logistics, backcountry navigation and orientation, gear and equipment needs, group cooking and meals, Leave No Trace Principles, and BAWT-specific Community Principles”. Trainees gain access to unlimited free and reduced cost gear at gear libraries in San Francisco, Oakland, and Milpitas as well as scholarships to offset fees and outing transportation for their youth.  

Earth Team
Asphalt Break!: Outdoor Explorers Program 20-21 

Earth Team supports two programs with the goals of providing hands-on learning in Earth Sciences (Informal STEM Learning Program), lowering barriers to outdoor education and opportunities, and fostering healthy transition to adulthood. Their Outdoor Exploration Program is providing the opportunity to take 112 youth from East Bay Title 1 schools in trips to 6 different Northern California State Parks for multi-day, hiking, kayaking, backpacking, snow shoeing, and camping to fully immerse themselves in nature and recreation. Participants become stewards of CA State Parks and share their experiences with peers in a series of presentations at different schools. 

City of Dreams
Youth to Parks 

City of Dreams hosts their “Super Saturday” program with many local recreational organizations to provide educational outdoor activities for underserved youth in the San Francisco community. Experiences include a monthly rotation of different local coastal recreation including nature walks, bird watching, fishing, and kayaking. They also host quarterly day trips at parks for windsurfing, white water rafting, surfing, and hiking. Their four overnight trips to engage in skiing, hiking, and camping occur during school holidays. City of Dreams is in a transportation partnership with Yoots (Youth Organization Transportation) to rent vans for all their trips.  

Angeles Sierra Club Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO)
Angeles/Orange County ICO Outings to State Parks 

The Angeles chapter of the Sierra Club ICO is bringing youth from Title 1 schools, and disabled youth and their families from Los Angeles and Orange counties to one of their six local state parks and beaches to explore the local ecology and history through outings, overnight camps, guided hikes, and outdoor activities. They support a three–day leadership camp, “Inspiring Leaders Outdoors”, that teaches basic outdoor skills to high school students. Angeles ICO also supports other partner programs with schools to inspire students to develop leadership skills through outdoor environmental projects.  

Latino Outdoors – San Diego
¡Vamos A Los Parques Estatales! 

Latino Outdoors seeks to foster a sense of belonging and connection in their participants with California State Parks by bringing 20 low-income, first generation, and English learners from the Latinx community to a series of three bilingual instructor led day trips. Participants get to experience riding on e-bikes through Anza-Borrego Desert SP; kayaking, beach barbeques, and games on Silver Strand SB; and hiking, birding, and learning about ecology and astronomy at Palomar Mountain SP and the Palomar Observatory. Outdoor ethics and conservation are deeply integrated into Latino Outdoors’ programming to inspire underrepresented communities to become stewards of their local State Parks.  

Los Angeles Audubon Society
Explore LA 

The Los Angeles Audubon Society is connecting the community to State Parks by bringing youth and families from Los Angeles Unified School District to 23 field trips and 2 family trips to Kenneth Hahn SRA, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook SP, and Dockweiler SB. They provide specialized trainings for docents and interns leading their programming in ecology, natural resources, watersheds, soil, and habitat conservation. Participants get opportunities to hike, learn ecology, explore through hands-on and up-close experiences. Los Angeles Audubon Society also hosts after school programs in environmental stewardship, leadership, and restoration at an on site greenhouse at Baldwin Hills.  

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks
Kids2Parks @ Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park 

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks is bringing 800 youth from Title 1 schools in San Jose, Watsonville, and Santa Cruz on a total of 15 field trips to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park as a part of their “Kids2Parks” program. The park experiences can be personalized and differ by grade level and curriculum at the request of their educators. Each student receives a Kids2Parks reusable water bottle and a free pass to use at any state park and are assigned to write a letter to their family about their experience and invite them for a future trip to a State Park. They have prepared virtual live guided field trips to Henry Cowell if field trips cannot be held.  

Mendocino Woodlands Camp Association
Mendocino Outdoor Science School (MOSS) – School Bus Acquisition Project 

Mendocino Woodlands Camp Association provides three to five one-day trips for programming along the Mendocino coast. Students from participating schools across Northern California learn about redwood, freshwater, estuarine, and tidal habitats, energy and nutrient cycling, and ecology through immersive in person and hands-on exploration in Mendocino Headlands State Park. Students may also get the chance to participate in coastal restoration through European Beach grass removal. The funding from this grant is going into replacing their diesel school bus to be able to reach a greater number of schools in Sacramento, Alameda, Solano, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties.  

Crystal Cove Conservancy
Project Crystal Community Science at Crystal Cove State Park 

Crystal Cove Conservancy is giving 5th graders and middle school students in the Latinx community the opportunity to be part of a 2-year long community science study at Moro Canyon in Crystal Cove SP. They will be provided transportation and will work with State Parks staff and scientists to learn about the environment, study, collect data, and share their findings in teams. Over two years, participants start with a field trip and classroom instruction, return to take part in scientific study, and share their final findings in a presentation. Participating teachers are given 4-6 hours of professional development to train them to integrate the program into their classroom.  

Save the Redwoods
North Coast Redwood Education Program 

As part of their North Coast Redwood Education Program, Save the Redwoods developed curriculum that is being incorporated into participating Humboldt County schools to bring redwood curriculum to the classroom through lessons and field trips. Based on grade level, the trips teach students redwood habitats, connections to their watershed, ecology, links to climactic variability, scientific data collection, and scientific research related to climate change. The content builds on one another as the students move through grade levels. Grant money is being used to support the education program staff and field trip transportation costs.  

Los Angeles River State Park Partners
Embedding State Parks in Public Transportation Networks for Disadvantaged Communities of Color 

Los Angeles River State Park Partners (LARSPP) is working to find and study communities to connect to Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP) through increased usage of the public transportation system (light rails and three LA Metro buses). They are also partnering with the Anahuak Youth Soccer Association to support their Anahuak’s Palomitas Mensajeras Family Reunion event at LASHP. The event will be promoted with preloaded TAP card for disadvantaged Latinx communities in attendance. The partnership opens opportunities for LARSPP to share other culturally relevant programming to bring these families back to LASHP. 

Youth Transportation Organization (YOOTS)
Yoots Routes to Parks Program 

Yoots is a transportation solutions organization that is working with 3 of our finalists (Bay Area Wilderness Training, Big City Mountaineers, and City of Dreams) to match funding to cover part of the transportation fees to transport youth to and from their partners’ State Parks programming. They focus on transportation logistics planning and providing access to the best value transportation solutions to simplify the process and suit the needs of their partners.