Junior Field Rangers
The National Forests that ring Southern California provide great beauty, invaluable natural resources and are loved by the 20 million people that call them home. From the 3.5 million acres of habitat to the miles of open space for hiking, bicycling, and picnicking, to the gallons water supply for millions of residents, the ecosystem benefits from these forests are priceless.
Unfortunately, many from Southern California’s underserved communities do not have access to these resources and many visitors who do find their way to these Forests do not understand the impacts they may have on the landscape.
The economic disparity in Los Angeles County where more than 40 percent of residents live in disadvantaged community census tracts and 30 percent of minority 18-24-year-olds live below the poverty line means that access and knowledge of the benefits of this public land are not always shared.
The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is addressing these challenges by sharing the numerous benefits of nature with youth from underserved areas of Southern California through the Junior Field Ranger Program.
The Junior Field Rangers receive STEM-based outdoor education, training as naturalists and California Naturalist Certifications. The youth interact with the public at popular trailheads, picnic areas, and destinations. Visitors learn from the junior field rangers in multiple languages about our sources of water, the reasons to protect our forests and methods to implement sustainable recreation. The youth also bring their new knowledge home to share with their communities.
This program has expanded from the Angeles National Forest to the Cleveland and San Bernardino National Forests.