Morgan’s project focused on empowering BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ youth to explore the outdoors and connect with nature.

On June 24, 2023 Morgan led their Leadership Academy capstone project at the Hilda Solis River Outlook in Azusa, California. Their main focus for this project was to create a safe space for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ high school youth to explore nature and learn from Community Science representatives from the LA Natural History Museum and Gabrieleño Culture Keeper, Kevin LoneWolf Nuñez.

To complete this project, Morgan applied what they learned in the Leadership Academy sessions and received support from Nature for All staff throughout the planning process. Morgan planned the project throughout the Leadership Academy sessions and created a project presentation to pitch their project to Nature for All staff to receive funding as a way to practice pitching a project. Based on their presentation, Morgan’s project was approved for funding and they began to work with Nature for All staff to develop their project.

Morgan’s Leadership Academy Project Presentation cover page and the scoring rubric used.

Morgan began to meet with staff to check in and book the location, buy the materials needed, develop marketing materials, and check in with the Naturalists and speakers who would be part of the project. Before the event, Morgan and Nature for All staff scouted the location to ensure it was still in good condition, how the weather may affect the event, see what native plants are in the area, and to see where participants would be able to park. Once the location was approved, Morgan began to outreach for participants. They also prepped an interpretive outline and even created a BINGO game!  

Morgan scouting their Leadership Academy project location by identifying local fauna, the environment, and the weather.

The event started with Gabrieleño Culture Keeper, Kevin LoneWolf Nuñez talking about the Native history of the area as well as the impacts of visitors.  Kevin stressed the importance of forest health and our duty to recreate responsibly.  Participants were also able to have a Q&A session with Kevin. 

An iNaturalist bioblitz activity, in which they explored the area and photographed as many organisms as possible, was planned. An iNat project was created allowing for observations to be used for future reference and to build a sense of community. After the bioblitz, everyone regrouped and reported any cool observations that they made and shared any information they discovered. Participants even saw a hawk carrying a snake! 

Day of Morgan’s Leadership Academy Project at the Hilda Solis River Outlook.

The participants also had a presentation from an LA Natural History Museum Community Science rep. The focus was geology, natural disturbances and the importance of Community Science in documenting change. As part of the event, lunch was provided as well as the Wild LA book.  

We are proud of Morgan for their dedication and work to make this project possible. We are also grateful to LA2050 and USDA Forest Health Protection for making these projects possible. A special thanks to Trailmixer for the extra support.