April 2023 Message from Our Executive Director, Belén Bernal

After a few years of virtual meetings and events, working with community while actually being out and about in the community feels so much better. Getting outside this spring and connecting with community members—as we work to protect and increase access to nature—has been more motivating than ever.

Breathing fresh air, enjoying beautiful landscapes, seeing wild flowers on trails and water flowing—I am reminded often of how access to nature is essential for our wellbeing and mental health. For these reasons and more, our work to protect and create access to our forests, rivers and parks via our leadership development programs, All Aboard for Nature trips and coalition priorities is critical for our region.

The latest cohort of our Leadership Academy has been engaging more outdoors, our community ambassadors continue to connect with neighbors, and we have had good recent occasions to connect in the field, with community members, tribal leaders and partners, from the City Nature Challenge to the 626 Golden Streets event. We are grateful to all supporters of our mission and daily work. Thank you!

I was also thrilled to join Nature for All staff members at We Are Justice Outside!’s Cultivating Community Outdoors conference in Oakland last month. We spent time with other outdoor leaders learning to discuss how we can all cultivate community and foster relationships in the outdoors. We’re grateful for opportunities like these that allow us to connect with other outdoor leaders working with their communities to reap the benefits nature and the outdoors bring.