Apply to the Leadership Academy!

FALL 2019 Leadership Academy

Applications for the FALL 2019 term (July – November 2019) are now OPEN. Applications are due Thursday, July 11th, 2019.

Our Goal

To find, educate, develop and encourage environmental stewards to care for our public lands and to advocate for the protection and enhancement of our mountains, forests, rivers, parks, and urban open spaces.

Our Work

The Leadership Academy is a five-month training program of Nature For All that focuses on developing organizing and advocacy skills, civic engagement, and local community action.

Our Progress

Since 2011, the Leadership Academy has graduated 15 cohorts and a total of 165 individuals.

Leadership Academy Projects: Academy graduates have successfully executed 60+ community engagement projects around Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley, and in the San Fernando Valley. Projects have included leading educational bike tours of the watershed area; organizing community workshops to raise awareness on protecting public lands among park-poor communities; and painting trash receptacles along the West and East forks of the San Gabriel River.

Read more about Leadership Academy projects.

Learn more about the Leadership Academy.

Nature for All applauds key House of Representatives hearing on historic San Gabriel Mountains legislation

LOS ANGELES, CA — We are extremely pleased to announce the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act was considered in a key hearing in the United States House of Representatives. The historic legislation, introduced in April by Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Judy Chu, will protect wild lands, open space and rivers and improve recreation opportunities in Los Angeles County. Stretching from Santa Clarita to San Bernardino, these open space resources, particularly the San Gabriel Mountains, are the recreational “backyard” for more than 17 million Southern Californians.



“Since the designation of the National Monument, we’ve seen our rivers cleaned up, our picnic areas cleared of trash, increased access to trails that are safer and better marked, more rangers interacting with visitors, and most importantly, our entire community at the table developing the management plan for our San Gabriel Mountains,” said Congresswoman Chu. “Building on that success through the San Gabriel Mountains Foothill and Rivers Protection Act will mean more Angelenos – many of whom are among those with the least access to parks in the country – will be able to experience these rivers, forests, mountains, and trails in a safe and sustainable way that supports our entire area.”

This is a historic progress in the effort to protect and restore the best remaining parts of our public lands in the Los Angeles region. The legislation will:

  • Expands the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by adding approximately 109,143 acres in the upper Los Angeles River watershed;
  • Establishes the San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area for the San Gabriel and San Jose Foothills and the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers comprised of over 51,000 acres;
  • Expands Wilderness area designations within the San Gabriel Mountains by 31,069 acres; and
  • Designates 45.5 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) in the San Gabriel Mountains

With the Committee Hearing, Representative Chu has put us one step closer to implementing our vision, which is that everyone in the Los Angeles area – no matter where they live – has equitable access to the wide range of benefits that nature can provide.

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About Nature for All

Nature for All, formerly known as San Gabriel Mountains Forever, is a coalition of 11 organizations working to build a diverse base of support for ensuring that Nature for All is best known as the leading community group that built support for the designation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in 2014. For more than a decade, Nature for All has been advocating for policies and programs to protect the mountains, rivers and parks in our area, create more natural spaces, and connect people to public lands. We bring together local, state and national organizations to develop leaders who advocate for policies and programs to positively impact our historically-underserved communities.

2018 Nature for All Impact Report

Nature for All’s mission is to build a diverse base of support to ensure that everyone in the Los Angeles area has equitable access to the wide range of benefits which nature provides. We’re committed to building support to protect, create access to our forests, rivers, and parks, and developing a new diverse generation of environmental leaders and stewards who connect to and care for our public lands.

As you’ll see throughout our report, 2018 has been a banner year for Nature for All. We celebrated numerous achievements and milestones, including tremendous policy wins, such as the Safe Clean Water Program and the development of equitable grant guidelines for Measure A; finalized the SGM Mountains Monument Plan; completed the Metro Transit to Parks Plan; established a new office in a central SGV location; filed Articles of Incorporation with four committed advisory board members; and launched our Community Leadership Development Program.

With more than a decade of experience, Nature for All has coordinated efforts among a diverse array of organizations and constituencies to restore and protect the San Gabriel Mountains and watershed. We partner with local, state, and national agencies to fund and coordinate policy initiatives, ongoing sustainability programming, and on-the-ground community projects that recognize the region’s diverse and rich natural, historical, and cultural heritage.

Because of your continued support, all of this has been possible for Nature for All. As we work with tireless passion over the next year, we invite you to join us!

Belinda Faustinos

Executive Director

Roberto Morales

Chair, Nature for All Coalition

Welcome Cohort # 15!

One-hundred and thirty seven people have graduated from Nature for All’s Leadership Academy! This month, we welcome 15 new participants to the 15th Nature For All Leadership Academy Cohort!

The Leadership Academy’s six-month training program helps community members develop new skills in political organizing, civic engagement and communications techniques.

The fifteenth class is composed of Tania Romero, Miguel Ramos, Margarita Gatica, Sierra-Dawn Bennaton, Lupita Solano, Jacqueline Ramirez, Carly Curiel, Adriana Lola Pellicer, Felipe Guzman-Donate, Karlamaria Aguilar, Marisa Cherry, Danielle Furuichi, Alfredo Martinez, Manuela Garay, and Jaime A. Jorge-Memije! Yet another VERY  impressive group — get to know them!

Check-out the new crew here.

Apply for the Nature for All Leadership Academy

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Our Nature for All Leadership Academy application for the Spring 2019 term is now OPEN! Applications are due at 11:59pm, January 8, 2019 (deadline extended). Apply online today!

The Nature for All Leadership Academy is a five-month training program focused on organizing, advocacy, civic engagement, and local community action.

Individuals must meet the following criteria:

A) Individuals must demonstrate experience OR interest in environmental protection related to the San Gabriel Mountains, River, watershed areas and local parks.

B) Individuals must commit to carrying out Nature For All’s vision of engaging diverse communities in protecting and improving equitable access to the San Gabriel Mountains and our public lands.

C) Applicant must live in the San Gabriel Valley OR within the greater Los Angeles region.

Learn more and apply online by January 8th.

Thank you, Senator Kamala Harris, for introducing public lands legislation!

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Senator Kamala Harris has introduced the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act today, which will protect wild lands, open space and rivers and improve recreation opportunities in Los Angeles County. Stretching from Santa Clarita to San Bernardino, these open space resources, particularly the San Gabriel Mountains, are the recreational “backyard” for more than 17 million Southern Californians. This legislation mirrors two bills previously introduced by Congresswoman Judy Chu, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act (HR2323) and the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Act (HR3039).

This is a historic milestone in the effort to protect and restore the best remaining parts of our public lands in the Los Angeles region. The Harris bill will:

  • Expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by adding approximately 109,143 acres in the upper Los Angeles River watershed; and
  • Establish the San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area for the San Gabriel and San Jose Foothills and the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers comprised of over 51,000 acres; and
  • Expand wilderness area designations within the San Gabriel Mountains by 2,027 acres; and
  • Designate 25.3 miles of wild and scenic rivers in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Senator Harris has also introduced the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act in the Senate. The bill will restore forests and fisheries, protect wild lands and streams and improve recreation opportunities in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties.

Help us say thank you to Senator Harris by posting on social media: Thank you Senator @SenKamalaHarris for introducing legislation that will protect precious areas of #NorthwestCalifornia and the #SanGabrielMtns! #ProtectCAPublicLands

or by sending an email to her office.

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.