SRT earns $300k education grant

(VISALIA, CA) - Cal Resources has awarded major funding to Sequoia Riverlands Trust's education program, the state agency recently announced. A $300 thousand grant will be distributed over three years for the purpose of supporting youth access to cultural and natural resources in underserved communities.

One hundred percent of the first-ever Youth Community Access Program (YCAP) grants will fund 65 projects around the state for educational, job training and outreach programs, and small capital asset projects located in low-income communities across California. Tulare County's high poverty rate means limited access to outdoor recreation and education for many children of low-income families, which the grant program is designed to address.

"SRT is very pleased and grateful for these essential resources that will be used to encourage young people to get outside and experience the benefits of access to natural places," said SRT Education and Volunteer Director Bud Darwin. "Physical, emotional, and mental health improvements are among the many upsides of getting kids outside."

Of the newly-launched program, CA Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said, “Helping kids from all our communities get outdoors and into nature supports their physical, emotional and mental health,” said Secretary Crowfoot. “Governor Newsom has been clear on our goal: Enable all Californians to get outdoors and explore our natural places, historical sites, and diverse cultures. Launching this grant program today is a big step toward this vision.”

SRT will use the funding to establish a Youth Advisory Council aimed at encouraging greater experience and understanding of outdoor activities in nature.

The Youth Community Access projects include a vast variety of efforts to develop youth leadership while sailing the ocean, constructing trailheads, exploring the Gold County, restoring a fish hatchery and other activities that encourage getting outdoors.

Youth Community Access is a grant program funded by the Proposition 64 marijuana tax to support public, educational, job training and outreach programs, as well as small capital projects and clean vehicle purchases that expand youth access to cultural and natural resources. Awards are prioritized for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies, as well as other underserved communities.

In 2016, Californian voters passed the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64), which allocates marijuana tax dollars to the Youth Education, Prevention, Early Intervention and Treatment Account (YEPEITA) to promote youth wellness. Each year, 5 percent of the YEPEITA fund is specified to support the California Natural Resources Agency’s Youth Community Access Program.

"SRT is grateful for the opportunity to improve the lives and experiences of our region's next generation with this new support," said Logan Robertson Huecker, SRT Executive Director who was appointed to her post in October 2021. "SRT's dedicated stewardship of these necessary resources will mean effective use of these funds to better the lives of Tulare County residents."

Watch for more news and announcements as this SRT program takes shape.