West Hills Community College District Receives Outdoor Equity Program Grant | Local News
The West Hills Community College District recently received a $692,605 grant from California State Parks through its Outdoor Equity Program.
Distributed among 125 low-income urban and rural communities, the Outdoor Equity program helps establish local activity centers and trips to natural areas for underserved communities. The program also enables youth and families to benefit from outdoor leadership training, career paths, a commitment to environmental justice, and access to nature.
With the funds they received, West Hills intends to create the Citizen & Undergraduate Science Project program. CUSP will be available to residents of the West Hills Community College District service area.
The program will include approximately 30 days of activities in the community for approximately 1,200 participants and approximately 20 outings to natural areas for 670 participants over the four years of programming.
“This grant is a major win for our residents, students, and communities,” said Brian Boomer, District Grants Manager at West Hills Community College District. “As a district, our goal has always been to provide educational opportunities equitably. Many members of our communities have not had the opportunity to experience California’s beaches, mountains, deserts, forests, and parks. CUSP allows our residents to travel to unique destinations of their choice free of charge.
Through CUSP, West Hills plans trips to natural areas outside of the community, including King Beach in North Lake Tahoe, Scorpion Anchorage Trail on Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park, from Sequoia, Lassen Volcanic National Park, McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, Pinnacles National Park, Anza-Borrego State Park, Inyo National Forest, Hearst Castle, Salmon Creek Falls , Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, Huntington State Beach and Crissy Field in San Francisco.
“California State Parks is incredibly proud to announce a grant to strengthen access to parks and open spaces and contribute to a better quality of life for Californians,” said California State Parks Superintendent Armando Quintero. “These programs will transform parks into outdoor classrooms, inspiring a new generation of environmental leadership in California.”
“We intend to use a portion of the grant funds we have received to provide opportunities that engage residents in fun science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) citizen science projects with West Hills faculty. when traveling to natural areas,” Boomer said. “This grant will provide the means to conduct field-based scientific research in places usually inaccessible to underserved and underrepresented residents.”