Christina Harrington with Patagonia sign

Leadership Academy Spotlight: Christina Harrington

Christina Harrington with Patagonia sign

How did you hear about the Leadership Academy and what inspired you to apply for the program?

I first learned about the Academy when I started volunteering with Sierra Club’s Nearby Nature campaign and their community organizer Roberto Morales told me about the program. It sounded interesting, but what really convinced me to apply was Academy graduate Liliana Griego. She told me about her project and encouraged me to apply. Knowing the focus was environmental justice and we would be empowered to design and carry out a community project was an exciting opportunity.

What was your project?

I call it The Chaparral Project. I recruited 15 local artists, focusing mostly on students from Pasadena City College, to join me on 2 guided hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains. We taught folks about the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, ecology, local history, and native plants. I asked the artists to create visual artwork that reflected on their outings with us, on their connection to the land, and their relationship with the Monument. I organized a month-long public exhibit to showcase their work in the Patagonia store in Old Town Pasadena and organized the exhibit’s opening night event.

What’s the best thing you learned?

There are so many intersections with environmental conservation, whether you’re passionate about public health, racial and economic justice, youth empowerment, or spirituality, to name a few, there are so many reasons why our open and green spaces need to be protected Lots of people connect with this work and it just takes someone, or usually a group of someones, to get the ball rolling.

What surprised you about the program or your work on the project?

I was honestly surprised how many artists were interested in joining my project. Maybe I was being too cynical or underestimated my outreach efforts, but I didn’t expect so many people to apply. Sadly, I couldn’t accept every applicant and more people reached out to me to join later on too, but the response showed me there are a lot of people who are excited about these opportunities and want to get involved.

Describe what being in the great outdoors means to you.

The first image that pops in my mind is something grand and dramatic, like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, but I think the “great outdoors” can be and is anywhere we find nature. Whenever and wherever we witness nature taking its course, when we can let our curiosity about the natural world take root and grow, and where we can admire small things, like how a bird makes its nest in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, there’s something really exciting about that for me.

What’s your favorite way to spend your day in the San Gabriel Mountains?

Ahh that’s really difficult to answer because I really love slow, solo hikes, where I can absorb the scenery and be observant, when I can take the time to not worry about my destination and instead take note of the plants, sounds, and interactions around me and journal and draw while on the trail. But I also really enjoy taking people hiking for their first time or exploring a new location with someone and sharing information about native plants and animals. I don’t think I could enjoy the San Gabriels fully without doing both of those things.

What has post-academy life been like?

It has been really busy with preparing for my Academy project, but I have also been feeling really empowered by the support from Nature for All and the friendships I built in the Academy. This whole experience has helped me find my community and more rootedness rooted in myself and in where I grew up in San Gabriel Valley. I’ve been able to build relationships within Nature for All and outside of it, connecting with other people and organizations that are also passionate about protecting our public lands.

N4A 2017 Impact Report

In 2017, Nature For All increased local access to green spaces

Findings from our 2017 Impact Report

N4A 2017 Impact Report

2017 was a big year for the Nature For All (N4A) coalition. We took great strides transitioning from San Gabriel Mountains Forever to renaming the coalition to be more inclusive of the diverse arrays of programs we have.

We credit our success to all our supporters — member organizations, local representatives and elected officials, and funders.

Just to highlight a few of our accomplishments:

  • We have rebranded as Nature for All while continuing our San Gabriel Mountains Forever program.
  • We have secured funding to expanded our community base building programs around parks, water and transit to parks.
  • We have graduated 12 Leadership Academy classes and 121 environmental leaders, who carry these skills beyond Nature For All.
  • We continue to show strong support for permanently protecting the San Gabriel Mountains and River so that our elected officials continue to make public lands protection a priority.
  • We have led 2,955 community members on hikes to date… and that number continues to climb.

We’ll stop there with the previews, so you can go ahead and take a look at Nature For All’s 2017 Impact Report!

Thank you for all your support and participation over the years — from our days as San Gabriel Mountains Forever to the Nature For All coalition that we are today.

Click here to read the report.

Nature For All is Hiring!

Nature For All has come a long way since our coalition establishment in 2008. Formerly known as San Gabriel Mountains Forever, our coalition gathered support to get the San Gabriel Mountains designated as a National Monument in 2014. Since then, we have expanded our programs to include equitable access to parks and nature throughout Los Angeles County and leadership development for community members.

To support our diverse range of programs, we are hiring a Program Organizer/ Outreach Coordinator. The selected person will work directly with the Program Manager to engage with Nature For All’s volunteer base and stakeholders.

Applications are due 5pm Friday March 16, 2018.

For the full job description and how to apply, click here.