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We  connect   diverse communities to the outdoors with culturally relevant programming.

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Our programs are designed to address the barriers to accessing the outdoors faced by historically underrepresented communities. These barriers include lack of transportation and proximity to natural areas, lack of knowledge of recreational opportunities, and lack of representation in visitors and staff of public lands and open spaces. We hire a staff that reflects the communities we serve and work in partnership with communities to offer programming that is culturally relevant.


Naturalist Explorers


This sixteen lesson program introduces youth to natural and cultural resources, outdoor and camping skills, principles of interpretation, park careers in the field, community advocacy, public speaking, and career development. Each program is facilitated by a naturalist who transforms the mountains, coast, and urban parks into outdoor classrooms. At the end of the Naturalist Explorers program, graduates are encouraged to apply for the Outdoor Leader position.

Participants are recruited through community organization partners. Interested organizations should contact us for more information. Naturalist Explorers 2019 program is full.


I’ve gained a new perspective on things in nature and life. I believe I’ve become a better leader, better person, and better outdoorsman because of it.”

 - Joshua, Naturalist Explorer

PSRRP clean up photo


In partnership with the National Park Service, Community Nature Connection leads a year-long internship for ages 18 to 26 that focuses on habitat and ecological restoration. Interns learn about about local vegetation, ecology, restoration planning, volunteer coordination, group management, interpretation, and risk management. Interns  also learn  more  about  government  agencies  like  National  Park  Service  and  local non-profits. After completion of a minimum of 640 hours, interns are eligible for non-competitive hiring by federal land management agencies.

Interns work primarily at Peter Strauss Ranch and Rancho Sierra Vista leading activities and events for the purposes of park restoration and propagation of native land vegetation.

Peter Strauss Ranch Restoration Project


One of the largest barriers that communities face in accessing the outdoors is a lack of transportation. The city of LA runs along the beautiful Pacific ocean and is bursting with parks and natural areas. The reality is that without the knowledge of how to get to these locations, or the ability to get there at all, many communities never visit parks or even see the ocean. The Transit To Trails program to address these barriers, so that everyone has the opportunity to get outdoors and fall in love with nature.


The program provides free bus rides from urban community hubs to natural areas around LA, such as Topanga Beach, Franklin Canyon Park, and various locations within the Santa Monica Mountains. Each trip is lead by a seasoned naturalist, who provides interpretive programming specific to the destination.

Transit to Trails
Girls at CNC Community Campfire


Community Nature Connection’s naturalists transform local urban parks into gateways to the outdoors. Our public interpretive programs include community campfires, nature talks, guided hikes, skills shares, and more. These programs are designed to with accessibility in mind bringing outdoor knowledge and practices to local community parks.

Public Interpretive Programs
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In partnership with the National Park Service, WODOC (William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom) guided field trips are offered free of charge for Title 1 schools and schools serving special needs students. This form must be received by our scheduling office before a program date can be confirmed.  

If you have any questions regarding your applications, please email us at



Students truly experience the natural world while immersed in a 3-5 day overnight program in the Santa Monica Mountains! During their stay in comfortable lodgings with wholesome meals, students learn about nature and its inhabitants, gain opportunities for personal growth, and cultivate friendships and experiences that will last a lifetime.

Our lessons focus on STEM and NGSS, as well as the unique Mediterranean ecosystem, dynamic local history, and threatened watersheds.  Our programs predominantly serve 4th-6th grade students who have limited access and familiarity with nature. Some popular standard-based lessons include Plant & Animal Adaptations, Outdoor Skills, Fire Ecology, Native American Culture and History, Sensory Awareness Night Hikes, and Astronomy. Residential Outdoor Education provides students with a deeply meaningful experience.



River Ambassadors are local high school students who have spent a semester learning about the history, quality, and ecological role of the Los Angeles River. Through culmination projects related to camping, art, teaching local schools, and recreation along the river, the River Ambassadors are striving to involve the local community in positive actions that can improve the river and environment for all.



Urban Archaeology Corps (UAC) is a national program that uses archaeology as a vehicle for small teams of young people ages 15-25 to learn about urban national parks, the communities that surround the park, and the diverse histories and resources that make these places special. Through the UAC work experience, participants gain broad experience in resource management, community-based outreach, and critical thinking in heritage work.

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