Skip to content

Nearby Nature: Connecting Underserved Kids with the Environment

Today’s post comes from our Education Coordinator, Erika Bjorkquist Erika-team

One great thing about San Diego is the access to nature. Scattered throughout its urban areas are canyons, preserves, and open space, so no matter where you live, nature is at your fingertips. While the natural world is within our reach, many people are not aware of the benefits of spending time in nature or even its proximity to their communities. Through our Nearby Nature program, ILACSD hopes that students become more familiar with their surroundings and enjoy their local environment.

Literally reaching new heights in environmental education!
Getting a closer look at the natural world

Research is showing that children need connections with nature as part of their healthy growth and development. Though nature is beneficial, children are spending less time outdoors. This disconnection can add to health problems like obesity or event result in a fear of the outdoors.  ILACSD hopes to reconnect students in under-served schools to the natural environment. This two-step program first introduces students to what they can find in nature and the importance of protecting these natural places, and then leads students on an educational hike through a nearby natural area. By helping students experience the nature in their own neighborhood, this program allows them to better understand and value the nature surrounding them every day.

This program is a favorite of ILACSD staff, as shown through our education staff:

My favorite thing about NN is spending time outside, enjoying and appreciating San Diego’s canyons with San Diego’s kids.” Monica Rosquillas, ILACSD Environment Educator

I learn as much as the students we lead, they have a curiosity that is contagious!” Erika Bjorkquist, ILACSD Education Coordinator

If you are interested in learning more about our Nearby Nature Program, please contact Erika Bjorkquist at

Students today, future environmentalists tomorrow!
Students today, future environmentalists tomorrow!