Last Thursday we were able to celebrate the graduation of SAMO Youth 2017 at Peter Strauss Ranch. The 22 youth have spent an incredible eight weeks working with the National Park Service in the heat of summer carrying out valuable projects for a full time salary throughout the Santa Monica Mountains.
Starting at the end of June, these twenty-two high school and pre-college students from the Greater Los Angeles area and Oxnard began their journey as SAMO Youth. They have repainted picnic benches for public use, built new fences, volunteered at school gardens, removed invasive plant species, carried out maintenance on miles of trails, run booths at the Night Sky family festival, completed habitat restoration projects on the Channel Islands – and more!
On graduation day families gathered to enjoy lunch together and hear presentations by the youth, learning about each student’s experience and how they were impacted by the program. In only eight weeks, they have gained an enhanced appreciation for nature and its importance in Los Angeles.
When discussing the impact of the program, many students felt inspired to teach others about the importance of spending time outside and appreciating the beauty of nature, encouraging their own families to witness the many beauties of the Santa Monica Mountains. And their salaries have helped some of their families in difficult circumstances. As a result of the program some students are determined to study Environment Science and work with the National Park Service in the future.
We are excited to witness the next generation of students who will help change the future of Los Angeles – and the world! Thank you SAMO Youth 2017. Your hard work contributed to our mission to conserve and protect the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.