The first San Gabriel Valley/El Monte region Leadership Development cohort graduated!

Our first Leadership Development course in the San Gabriel Valley attracted engaged community members who demonstrated the high need for urban greening in this target region. They came ready to learn about community empowerment and knowledge from our curriculum that addressed parks, public lands, sustainable watershed planning, community organizing, environmental advocacy, and public speaking. We awarded certificates of completion to 17 graduates and welcomed another eight core participants for the course in 2020.

To mark the occasion, the graduates embarked on a tour of the San Gabriel River watershed parks and mountains with us. Vrej Haroutounian of Amigos de los Rios provided insight into Gibson Mariposa Park, Jeff Seymour Family Center (El Monte) and Peck Water Conservation Park (Arcadia). We moved upstream to Duarte’s Encanto Park, Nature Walk and the San Gabriel River Trail, where our Bryan Matsumoto described sustainable design elements from his previous work on the project as a park designer. We continued up to the San Gabriel Canyon Gateway Center, where a lead volunteer spoke about the Canyon and the National Monument. 

Heading up into the mountains, we stopped to look at the dams and reservoirs, with our final destination at the West Fork of the San Gabriel River/National Scenic Trail. It was the first time for most of the class, and participants reflected after the hike that the visit to the mountains. Highlights: it was “magical” and “inspiring.” One graduate said it gave them a ”feeling of pride for being from the San Gabriel Valley” and a connection to nature they hadn’t realized before. We also heard that many participants look forward to applying to the Leadership Academy, and growing their relationship with Nature for All. 

More: Watch our Reflection” video

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