Redwood Connect grantees providing meaningful redwood experiences

Young people benefit greatly from time in nature

child with seedling
Children thrive in nature. Photo by Julie Martin.

One of the highlights of my job is being able to spend time outside, among the redwoods, with youth of all ages. Seeing them laugh, explore, observe and have fun in nature, is an experience I never get tired of. That is why the League makes it a priority to break down transportation barriers and help provide equitable access to the redwoods.  

Through our Redwood Connect Grants, every year the League assists around 5,000 youth to have a redwood experience which fits their needs and that of their community. Four of our redwood grantees are highlighted below and the unique and exciting ways they allow youth a place to experience nature.  

children Wildcare
Youth explore nature with Wildcare.

Wildcare 

A nature hike at Muir Woods led by a Terwilliger Nature Guide is one filled with questions, close observation of your surroundings, loads of great information, interesting facts, with a priority on having fun. Wildcare provides these nature hikes to hundreds of students throughout the Bay Area. With a small instructor to student ratio, these experiences are tailored by the nature guide for the class and group of students. They learn all the interesting and unique features of a redwood forest, touch banana slugs with their ‘nature fingers’, listen for birds and ultimately spend the morning walking through an old-growth redwood forest with friends.  

Exploring New Horizons 

There is nothing like a 3-day overnight trip among the redwoods as a 4th grader, with your classmates, to have a profound impact on your connection with nature. After almost two years of no outdoor school, Exploring New Horizons (ENH) welcomed 3,000 students this spring to their camp in the redwoods. These students are emersed in three days of outdoor learning – discovering the wonders of a redwood forest, conducting scientific studies of a creek, and playing fun and educational games. Through these experiences students not only are more aware of the natural world but they grow more confident and independent. With excellent instructors and a beautiful campus, ENH provides a meaningful redwood experience to thousands of students every year.  

Camp Phoenix 

How many people remember summer camp when they were young? Well Camp Phoenix is definitely a camp to remember. This three-week camp for middle school students from Oakland, is in the forests of San Gregorio where youth get to experience the redwoods and ocean. A place where students feel like they can be themselves without any outside influences. The camp is a mix of a “fun sleepaway camp and exploratory learning” and really empowers youth to be leaders and builds community. To continue to foster the connections students make during the summer, Camp Phoenix also hosts day adventures throughout the year including visiting museums, rocking climbing and nature hikes.  

First Place for Youth 

Experiences in nature are often so much more than just getting dirty and playing with sticks and rocks. Being among the redwoods can build community, and create a safe, relaxing and healing place for many. That is what First Place for Youth hopes to create with their redwood experiences. They serve youth transitioning out of the foster care system and support them as they “build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood.” Through their redwood outings they try and give these young adults a chance to make connections with others and help build that community of support they often need.  

All of our grantees have a unique way of using the redwoods to support their communities and have a profound impact on their participants lives.  

To learn more and apply for one of our 2022-2023 Redwood Connect Grants visit our grants webpage.  

Avatar for Deborah Zierten

About the author

Deborah joined the League's staff in 2013 as the Education & Interpretation Manager. She brings with her extensive experience teaching science, developing curriculum and connecting kids to the natural world.

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