Friends of the Desert Mountains Receive Funding for Outdoor Youth Education Program

Friends of the Desert Mountains was recently awarded the Environmental Connections por Vida grant during the annual Anderson Children’s Foundation grant distribution. The $10,000 grant will be used to fund the Friends of the Desert Mountains youth education program.

The Anderson Children’s Foundation funds area charities, nonprofits, churches, and schools. The foundation has awarded more than $18 million in funding to programs that support local youth since 1993. Friends of the Desert Mountains was one of the organizations that received a portion of the grant funding, totaling $1 million , for the 2022-2023 winners.

The Friends of the Desert Mountains Youth Education Program has been providing outdoor education to elementary school-aged children for two years. The goal of the Outdoor Education program is to get “…children active and outdoors and engaged in scientific research” by implementing the STEAM program, or Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, while teaching students about the Indigenous history of the area. Region.

Newly hired Director of Education Oscar Ortiz, who is also Indio City’s Pro Tem Mayor, said the grant will go towards the purchase of art supplies and bound notebooks for children entering the program. Ortiz says getting kids involved in outdoor education is more than a fun summer pastime.

“It seems to really promote conservation and get them thinking about how to take care of the wildlife here,” Ortiz says.

Ortiz says implementing these resources will not only encourage his students to deepen their field observations, but also their connection to nature.

“Almost every day that we have a program here, we’ll see this light on for some of these kids, okay, let them start asking about animals, asking about mountains, asking about the area. So just hearing all these questions, we know they’re starting to get interested,” Ortiz says.

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