SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – To provide underserved community members of all ages with opportunities to connect with nature, the Tahoe Fund has partnered with the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science to create a new pilot program.
In coordination with California’s Outdoor Access for All initiative, Tahoe’s Nature for All program will bring immersive experiences to hundreds of people who don’t have access to nature.
“It’s easy to assume that those who live close to Tahoe’s hiking trails and recreational activities have the same access as everyone else. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Cory Ritchie, CEO of the Tahoe Fund. “By funding the Tahoe Nature for All program, we hope more people in our community will be able to experience the benefits of Tahoe’s natural beauty.”
A portion of the Tahoe Fund’s funding for TINS’s Tahoe Nature for All program comes from Palisades Tahoe. The resort participates in the $1 for Tahoe program, which allows guests to support conservation, recreation and responsible education throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin and Truckee River watershed through the purchase of lift tickets and season passes. This year, these Palisades Tahoe contributions will be earmarked for the Tahoe Nature for All program. In addition to their financial support, Palisades Tahoe will also be hosting one of the High Camp nature experiences in late August.
“Our employees and our guests are passionate about inspiring others to enjoy the great outdoors. We recognize the value that comes from connecting with nature, not only for the personal well-being of the individual but for that of the wider community,” said Dee Byrne, President and COO of Palisades Tahoe. “Supporting this effort is a meaningful way to use the funds raised through our guest donation program.”
In the program’s inaugural year, experts at the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science will offer free nature experience programs in partnership with four nonprofit and educational partner organizations. This contains:
— Six field programs for regional youth between the ages of six and 13 suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression, in collaboration with The Courage Project.
– 10-day program with the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe offers South Lake Tahoe youth unique opportunities to learn natural history and participate in facilitated outdoor experiences.
— Six programs with Sierra Community House provide guided nature experiences to survivors of abuse, underserved women and youth, Hispanic speaking communities and families who for various reasons do not generally have access to the outdoors.
— Five-day field trip program for two fifth-grade classes at Incline Elementary School, which has a diverse student population with 51% Hispanic students, 39% English learners, 33% of students who qualify for free and discounted meals, and 16% of students with disabilities.
“We want to serve as many people as possible through connections both with nature and with each other, as this encourages everyone involved to improve our community and be good stewards of our natural resources,” said Will Richardson, co-founder and CEO of TINS. “We hope that the success of these programs will lead to the opportunity to partner with more community-focused organizations, breaking down previous barriers to our programs and reaching more sectors of our community in the future.”
Source: Tahoe Fund