Leadership Academy Spotlight: Leyda Alvarado Ramirez

Leyda was a graduate of our 4th Leadership Academy cohort.

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

I heard about it online. I was inspired to apply because they were asking for Los Angeles residents to learn about local issues, run by individuals involved locally.

What’s the best thing you learned and/or what surprised you about the program or your work on the project?

I was surprised to be part of an organization and network that was involved in making the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument! I learned so much about the creation of national parks and politics. I was a high school senior and I was not aware about these things before. I was also surprised to actually bond with my cohort and still keep some type of communication over the years.

Did the Academy experience help you on your path? If so, how?

Yes, it did! I was already interested in environmental issues before I started, but joining the Academy made me aware of so much more. I was set to major in Environmental Studies in College. I loved being politically and socially involved. I would like to reconnect to continue my journey as an activist and pioneer of open spaces. 

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


What followed your graduation?

I moved back to Los Angeles after finishing my undergraduate career at UC Santa Barbara. I am currently volunteering for the National Parks Conservation Association, part of the  LA Young Leaders Council. I am focusing on National Parks with the NPCA. Individually, I am also interested in environmental health issues. I am currently looking for a job in the environmental field (open to anything!).

Welcome, Leadership Academy Cohort 17

We kicked off the first day of the Leadership Academy on January 12. We’re excited to welcome the group and help them develop into environmental stewards to care for our public lands and to join us in advocating for the protection and enhancement of our mountains, forests, rivers, parks, and urban open spaces. For the next five months, they will meet weekly to learn about environmental justice, advocacy and plan projects to help us protect, create and connect for our communities.

For our orientation: We toured Rio Vista Park, visited Hilda Solis Outlook, had lunch at the Oaks Picnic Area, and went on a hike at the East Fork Trailhead. During the day, we kicked off our discussions about about community engagement and advocacy, the benefits of connecting with nature, our collaborative work with local elected leaders to protect our forests, rivers, public lands and open spaces and create more urban green spaces, and more. And we’re just getting started.

Welcome to the new cohort: Edgar Pedroza, Paloma Avila, Bryan Medina, Demi Espinoza, Khristina Rhead, Laura Santos, Samantha Tayag-Gamboa, Brenda Contreras, Carlos Casas, Helen Huynh, Brenda Gonzalez, Erica Law, Emily Cobar, Jazzar Taylor, Will Chiu.

Cleanup Success: East Fork’s Golden Preservation

Leadership Academy graduate Joel Glen hosted another successful trail and river cleanup with his East Fork’s Golden Preservation group. Volunteers collected 828 pounds of trash in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, near the Oaks Picnic Area.  

2019 By the Numbers: Nature for All Accomplishments

Wow, what a year!

Our work continues to focus on leadership development (let’s hear it for our 26 Leadership Academy graduates!); advocacy (we had 174 meetings with elected officials); and community engagement to grown and engage with our base (9,207 + petitions collected; 816 supporters actively engaged in the San Gabriel Mountains Forever/Nature for All programs) and spend time in the great outdoors (37 hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains with 769 individuals; 400+ people from all over LA County came to our All Aboard for Nature event to participate in 5 free transit-to-trails adventures). Onward!