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Nov 7 - Dec 31, 2019

Return of the Natives (CSUMB)

Mission

The mission of Return of the Natives is to bring people to nature and nature to people through hands-on experiences restoring habitats and environmental education.

The Big Idea

Return of the Natives (RON) brings people to nature through environmental education and hands-on experiences restoring habitats. RON’s “Getting Kids and Volunteers DIRTY” project aims to get thousands of hands, big and small, DIRTY. Every fourth- and fifth-grader enrolled in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District will help plant native plants on school gardens as part of the eco-ambassador program (that’s 1,850 students with dirty hands over eight months). Other school classes and weekend volunteers will get dirty planting natives in the Big Sur Land Trust’s new Carr Lake restoration area in Salinas, in Salinas’ Natividad Creek Park, at the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District’s Palo Corona Ranch, on the campus of CSUMB, and on the dunes along the Monterey Bay.

Return of the Natives has provided lifelong hands-on experiences that I will take with me forever. As an undergraduate student I learned about native plant restoration and environmental education that led me to many life-changing jobs: from designing and building a garden with school kids, to mentoring youth groups, to developing leadership skills through becoming RON’s volunteer and outreach leader. Now, I will take these skills and bring them back to my roots in Southern California.

- Nancy Vielmas