Spending time in the outdoors is integral to both physical and mental well-being. However, children growing up in low-income, urban communities are commonly denied access to nature. My program, Acorns to Oaks, aimed to combat this systemic issue while also inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards. Acorns to Oaks is an after-school nature exploration program for elementary school-aged children in low-income urban communities. The foundation of my program was a partnership between the UCSB Adventure Programs student staff, my volunteers, and the Boys and Girls Club of Goleta. Every other week, my volunteers and I would take Boys and Girls Club students to an open natural space (such as Elwood Mesa or the San Marcos Foothills) and facilitate a nature experience with interactive games and open exploration.
Elianne Gutierrez Sanchez
My ELI project was inspired by my childhood in the Diesel Death Zone of Los Angeles where marginalized communities face the brunt of pollution and the climate crisis. From there I created AnthropoScene - a podcast where I interviewed people about their environment and what it means to them. My podcast explores the power of folklore and science in order to build a bridge between marginalized communities and the larger environmental movement.