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.

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.

Welcome APIFM & DO to our coalition!

We are excited to announce the addition of two members to our Nature for All coalition, API Forward Movement and Day One.

APIFM & DO

API Forward Movement (APIFM) cultivates healthy, long-lasting, and vibrant Asian and Pacific Islander communities through grassroots organizing. APIFM envisions a world where Asian and Pacific Islander communities – and all communities of color – have full power to access good health and a healthy environment.

The founders were advocates who saw that Asians and Pacific Islanders were being left out of public health efforts to address the obesity epidemic. Since then the organization’s focus has broadened to ensure APIs are served and represented in efforts to address a range of community health and environmental justice issues.

Day One is a community-based nonprofit organization with a 25 year history of providing effective, high quality and culturally-sensitive public health education, intervention, policy development and environmental prevention efforts. 

Day One grew out of a collective vision of concerned community leaders in 1987. Their vision was spurred by the drug epidemic in Pasadena and Altadena, especially among youth and in the Northwest area. Since then the organization has become a leader in youth advocacy and community health in the San Gabriel Valley.

We are excited to have them join our Nature for All team!

Support Leadership This #GivingTuesday

We need good leaders, now more than ever.

This #GivingTuesday, we give thanks to the future leaders helping us care for our public lands and advocate for the protection and enhancement of our mountains, forests, rivers, parks, and urban open spaces.

Now is the time to lead, and to take a stand. Our public lands are being threatened — including our beloved San Gabriel Mountains National Monument — by a federal administration that has no regard for protecting our environment or serving our communities.

On this #GivingTuesday, you can take a stand with us and support our Leadership Development program to find, educate, develop and encourage a new generation of environmental stewards to carry on our work.

IMG_4546 1Earlier this month, we celebrated the 12th graduating class of our Leadership Academy at a newly created urban park, the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The six-month training program focuses on developing outreach and advocacy skills, civic engagement, and local community action, and it was inspiring to look around and see faces of local citizens ready to rise up and resist — to defend our public lands and demand justice for our underserved communities.

meg-convert-a-canIt was also inspiring to see previous graduates in the audience, including Meg Devine, who developed the Convert-A-Can project in the program several years ago and continues with running it today. The program enlists volunteers to turn trash bins into art installations, to curb graffiti and beautify our public spaces. Meg is among 121 Leadership Academy graduates have worked on projects to enhance and improve our public lands; provide access to nature for kids and families living in park-poor communities; clean our trails, rivers and streams; and educate students about environmental justice and the public health benefits of spending time in nature.

In addition to the academy, our Leadership program supports 100+ volunteers and dozens of super-volunteers activists working with us on community engagement projects. We are grateful for these volunteers and inspired by them. You can be, too. We can do this together.

With your support, we can continue to grow our Leadership program and work to protect the mountains and rivers in our area, to conserve resources and be more climate-resilient. We can continue to create more natural spaces, such as parks and bike paths, in our historically underserved neighborhoods. We can continue to connect people to public lands through more trails and other outdoor recreational opportunities, to improve public health.

With your help, we can find and support the leaders we need to ensure 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.

Thank you for giving.