The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District awarded its first community grants to seven organizations, including Groundswell Coastal Ecology and Vida Verde, located in San Gregorio. 

“Midpen is trying to take a regional approach and invest in projects that both align with our mission but have a greater positive impact on the community as well,” public affairs specialist Leigh Ann Gessner said. 

With 21 applications for grants, MROSD looked for projects that mirror the district’s priorities, have a feasible timeline and aspire to leadership and innovation, among other categories. 

Pescadero High School students will have a hands-on opportunity to learn about coastal resilience and stewardship at Tunitas Creek Beach County Park thanks to Midpen’s $50,000 grant to Groundswell Coastal Ecology.

Groundswell Coastal Ecology’s “teaching design thinking for coastal resilience project” will run until October 2020. Students will assist with data collection, mapping and even present their work. 

“The goal is to engage students in the full circle of how we manage our coast from a well-rounded perspective,” Groundswell Director Bill Henry said. “The components include thinking about how can you integrate access while enhancing coastal resources at the same time.”  Groundswell Coastal Ecology works with 10 schools already. When Henry and his team learned about the grant opportunity, they thought it’d be a great opportunity to engage more students in a coastal resilience project. 

“What we’re hoping to do is cultivate the next generation of informed coastal stewards,” Henry said. 

Vida Verde also received $50,000 and will sponsor students to attend its summer leadership camp and provide free outdoor education trips for students who may not have the opportunity. The organization serves kids across the Bay Area. 

The teen summer leadership camp started two summers ago as a one-week opportunity for older students who attended Vida Verde’s program as youths. Students hike, milk goats, learn outdoor skills, cook camp meals, practice teamwork and leadership, and engage in other outdoor activities. 

“It’s a great match between the mission of Midpen and Vida Verde,” Vida Verde co-founder Laura Sears said. “Both organizations are working hard to promote access for individuals who might not otherwise be able to get outdoors.”

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