Kids Teaching Kids About State Parks

Last month in Chico, California approximately fifty 11th and 12th grade students from Pleasant Valley High School’s ACE-LIFE Academy HERO and Careers with Kids classes had their annual Public Safety Day for K-6 students in our area.

The event is an educational experience for hundreds of elementary students. The high school students researched and collaborated on a safety topic of their group’s choice.  Some of the safety presentations included: California State Park safety, water safety, fire safety and playground safety.

It is exciting to see kids interested in state parks. What an amazing idea to teach other kids how to safely enjoy our state parks. The high school students also made a fun scavenger hunt to help others learn and enjoy even more. Great job!

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Free Memorial Day Admission at State Parks for Veterans, Active and Reserve Military Personnel

6_mar_pgCalifornia State Parks will honor men and women who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces this Memorial Day by offering free admission at participating state parks.

State parks participating on Memorial Day include 133 parks that are accessible with the “Surf Explorer” Annual Pass, plus eight State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs), as well as the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

Veterans, active duty, and reserve military personnel must show a valid military I.D. or proof of honorable discharge (e.g.: signed copy of DD214 From), in order to receive free admission.

The free admission is part of AB 150, authored by Assemblymember Kristin Olsen and signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in 2013. The bill authorizes California State Parks to offer veterans, active duty or reserve military personnel for the United States Armed Forces and the National Guard of any state a reduced or free day use at participating California state parks. California State Parks will also offer free admission for active duty or reserve military and veterans on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015.

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen accepts her Park Legacy Award from CSPF Board Trustee Virginia Chang Kiraly

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen accepts her Park Legacy Award from CSPF Board Trustee Virginia Chang Kiraly

CSPF honored Assemblymember Olsen at Park Advocacy Day on May 5 for her leadership on this legislation as well as for her efforts to raise visibility of the state parks system’s 150th anniversary in 2014.

We hope those who have served our country can enjoy our state parks on Monday!

Source: CA State Parks Press Release

Park Advocates Bring State Parks to Sacramento

Tuesday, May 5 marked another successful Park Advocacy Day at the Capitol hosted by California State Parks Foundation. This year, over 160 park advocates from all over the state joined together for a day of advocacy and lobbying on behalf of state parks. The day included presentations by legislators, an expo on the Capitol lawn featuring state park partners and activities, a busy afternoon of legislative visits, and an evening reception to honor two park supporters in the Legislature — Kristin Olsen and Anthony Rendon.

The expo on the Capitol lawn was themed, “California State Parks are Great Places for You and Me.” It included booths from dozens of park partners showcasing why they love parks and what activities their local parks provide. Booths included trail stewardship, water sampling, recycling, theater, animals, historic dress, fire research, documentary, marine life, and more.

Advocates lobbied three bills in particular during their legislative appointments:

  1. Assembly Bill 327 (Gordon) — This bill would extend a prevailing wage exemption for public works volunteers for the next 7 years so that volunteers may continue to offer unpaid work to state parks. Advocates expressed how important volunteer work is in state parks, particularly as budget cuts have stretched park staff too thin.
  2. Assembly Bill 988 (Stone) — This bill would create an Outdoor Environmental Education and Recreation Grant Program within DPR to award grants to public organizations and/or nonprofits for outdoor environmental education and recreation programs. Advocates emphasized how important it is to give kids, particularly at-risk youth, the opportunity to experience the outdoors.
  3. Senate Bill 317 (De León) — This bill would create the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers and Coastal Protection Bond of 2016, a $2.4 billion bond to be placed on the November 2016 ballot for approval by California voters. The bond would provide substantial funding for various park areas, including local parks, state parks, rivers/lakes/streams, coastal conservation, climate resilience, and more.

After advocates finished meeting with nearly every office in the Capitol, they rejoined together at the Elks Tower Ballroom for a reception to celebrate their hard work, as well as recognize Assemblymembers Kristin Olsen and Anthony Rendon for their work on behalf of state parks.

It was a great day in Sacramento. Kudos to all the amazing park advocates who came out to support their state parks!