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Healthy in Nature Equity Program

Youth Served
Community Activity Days
Nature Area Trips

Amount $685,021
Grantee Loma Linda University
Award Year 2022
Funding Source General Fund, Outdoor Equity Program
Project Type Program Operation
Project Status


Conduct the Healthy in Nature – Equity Program (SHiNE) Program for residents near the Garden of Health in the City of San Bernardino. This program will include approximately 60 activity days in the community for approximately 1,900 participants and 82 trips to natural areas for approximately 1,500 participants during four years of programming.

Activities in the community will include careers and occupations in nature, animals in nature, wellness and sustainability classes, San Bernardino environmental history, nature and food sovereignty, composting, aquaponics, wellness, Self-sustainability, and Skill Building, as well as hiking and camping planning safety, and community gathering.

Trips to natural areas outside of the community will include animals and safety in nature in the San Bernardino Mountains, animals in nature at the Phelan Big Cat Sanctuary, water/air testing and local water/air pollution education at Silverwood Lake, I Spy: spotting animals in our local hills, local animals 'Great Horned Owl' at Lake Arrowhead, Wolf Connection in Palmdale, water/air testing and local water/air pollution education in Yucaipa Forest Falls, The Living Desert Zoo in Palm Springs, Nature Conservancy's Crystal Cove in New Port Beach, Nature Conservancy's University California Riverside Botanical Gardens, Nature Conservancy's Oak Glen Nature Conservancy in Oak Glen, mindfulness & self-discovery at White Water Preserve in White Water, mindfulness & self-discovery at Painted Canyon in Mecca, mindfulness & self-discovery at Lake Gregory in Crestline, Nature Conservancy's San Diego Safari in Escondido, introductory experience & skills building for outdoor recreation Orange County day sailing in Newport Beach, introductory experience & skills building for outdoor recreation San Diego day fishing, rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park, snowboarding at Big Bear Mountain, surfing in San Clemente.

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Community Home Base Location
Garden of Health, 1455 E 3rd St San Bernardino, CA 92408
County San Bernardino
Assembly District AD 45 James C. Ramos (D)
Senate District SD 23 Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R)
Congressional District CD 33 Pete Aguilar (D)

Annual Report Details

Programs may span from one year to multi-year, not to exceed four years. The specific length of the program is contained in the description above.

Category Total
Youth Served 157
Days for Activities in the Community 14
Nature Area Trips 20

List of Educational Goals Achieved


Educational goals achieved are as follows:

Educational goal #1: Instruction in arts, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that connects nature experiences, or environmental stewardship. The following activities contributed to educational goal #1: Wellness and sustainability series, Animals in Nature, Animals and Safety in Nature, Water Testing, Exercise in Nature, Nature Conservancy, The Living Desert, Mindfulness and Self Discovery series, Whale Watching, and Rock Climbing. The goal guided the development of the lesson plan for these trips as well as the activities incorporated into the trip. Trip leads incorporated STEAM into these activities via journaling, group discussion, drawing, and painting. Participants learned how to identify types of plants, animal habitats, and local wildlife based on scat and tracks.

Educational goal #2: Foster stewardship of the environment using curriculum pursuant to Public Resources Code, Division 24, Part 4: Statewide Environmental Education Teaching about animal conservation, how certain animal populations can affect others, and how animals are affected by the environment. Game-based instruction, hands on instruction, teacher-led. Additionally, guidance from Beetles Science and Teaching for Instructors will be used for: Focused explorations, Investigations, Assessment & Reflection. The following activities contributed to educational goal #2: Wellness and sustainability series, Careers in Nature, Animals and Safety in Nature, Water Testing, Exercise in Nature, Nature Conservancy, The Living Desert, Mindfulness and Self Discovery series (White Water Preserve, Painted Canyon), Whale Watching, and Joshua Tree Rock Climbing. The goal guided the development of the lesson plan for these trips as well as the activities incorporated into the trip. Trip leads incorporated hands-on learning via hiking and rock climbing and encouraged students to follow a leave no trace principle.

Educational goal #3: Curriculum that is aligned to the content standards for California public schools adopted by the State Board of Education, including, but not limited to, the Next Generation Science standards, or the California History-Social Science Standards. The following activities contributed to educational goal #3: Wellness and sustainability series and skill building/community gathering. The goal guided the development of the lesson plan for these garden workshops. Events incorporated STEAM into these activities via group discussion, drawing, and painting. Participants learned about green space cultivation and development specially to benefit their San Bernardino neighbors and family members.

List of Formed Partnerships


In the first year from the grant award until December 1st, 2023, SHiNE has fostered strong partnerships with various organizations, each making significant contributions to the program’s achievements. SHiNE has maintained consistent communication with both partners outlined in the grant: Outdoor Outreach and the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD). Additionally, two new partnerships were established with the UCCE Master Gardeners of San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire Resource Conversation District (IERCD).

Four youth overnight trips have been facilitated by Outdoor Outreach and additional partnerships have already resulted in the successful execution of three garden events. Furthermore, our collaboration with SBCUSD has played a pivotal role in recruitment efforts, enabling us to expand our reach to youth and families throughout San Bernardino.

SHiNE plans to continue working with partners to maximize efforts and increase community impact. One notable lesson includes the importance of proactive communication and preparation. Setting a designated time for pre-event meetings has been a key practice, allowing us to review lesson plans, agendas, and logistics ahead of time. This ensures that everyone is on the same page on the day of the event, contributing to smoother execution and successful outcomes. Additionally, establishing clear expectations with partners regarding overnight trips has been vital. Regular communication throughout the year and addressing any changes or updates has allowed us to work more collaboratively and maintain transparency among stakeholders. These lessons learned emphasize the significance of strategic communication, preparation, and ongoing communication in order to maintain a successful partnership and maximize the impact of our programs.



In our journey of developing our outdoor program, we’ve discovered that continued trust and relationship building with families plays a pivotal role in the program’s success. To foster a sense of community, we ensure there is a familiar face present at every event. We’ve learned that effective communication is key, and therefore we started utilizing the platform SimpleTexting to keep our participants informed about upcoming events in both English and Spanish. This not only facilitates the dissemination of information but also provides a direct avenue for families to ask questions.

To boost participation, we’ve found success in sending out fun and appealing flyers as well as scheduling reminder emails and text messages. Prior to trips, preparation emails with packing lists help participants feel more confident and prepared. On the day of the event, having sign-in sheets ready streamlines the check-in process and allows us to keep accurate records. Pre-event meetings have proven to be very beneficial, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding agenda, logistics, and any questions event leads or partners may have.

Furthermore, we’ve learned that post-event feedback is crucial for improvement and have implemented surveys for both participants and event leads/support staff. Understanding our family’s concerns has made all the difference. From this feedback we found that many parents wanted to be more involved in the program and participate in trips with their children. We took these notes seriously and have adjusted programming accordingly to be even more family focused, and allow additional opportunities for parents to be involved in activities. Taking the time to interact with families and youth has allowed us to better understand the needs of our community and has significantly impacted the way we tailor our programs. Along with utilizing SimpleTexting, we always make sure a Spanish speaker is at every event in case someone needs a translator.

Lastly, an important lesson learned is that flexibility and planning go hand in hand. Developing an open mindset and learning to pivot is a skill we learned in year one. This could entail investing extra time in staff training to ensure everyone feels well prepared or having to present without a slide deck because the projector malfunctioned. These instances required us to problem-solve and learn from our mistakes, which in turn helped us overcome immediate challenges but also encouraged continuous improvement for future events.

Other Program Goals

Service Learning/Career Pathway/Leadership Opportunities

5 residents will receive LLU OEP Leadership Certificates - The LLU OEP Leadership Certificate would be presented to outstanding participants who have shown dedication, leadership, and ownership in the programs. These participants would be identified by leaders as participants that have demonstrated commitment to the environmental justice foundations in the programs, have shared new initiatives with the group, and/or have assisted the programs in an exceptional manner. These certificates would be signed by our university President Dr. Hart and could be added to their resumes and experience CVs.


6 residents will be offered paid LLU Internship: Students and community members can build on their experience and take on leadership opportunities by helping plan and execute the programming. By building on their existing skills and knowledge base they can gain opportunities to participate as the leaders of the opportunities strengthening their logistics skills, administrative background, and program planning and implementation. These internships would offer paid opportunities therefore addressing the inequity in access to unpaid internships and participation in our existing nature and nutrition efforts and new programming. Two interns per quarter (6) will be hosted with all interns coming together during the Summer when there are more planned activities.

15 residents will take part in service learning and service opportunities for the University and their programs with an emphasis in mutual learning, community empowerment and assets, and reciprocity. Participants in the program would be eligible to participate as both givers and receivers of service opportunities, learning about reciprocal relationships in the community both with nature and each other. Participants in service learning would be invited to serve and reflect through a reflection paper drafted to have participants meditate on their learning, community involvement, relationships to nature, and role in their community. The Service-Learning Coordinator who is part of the existing team can offer participants a recognition for their participation which participants can add to their resume once they complete the Service-Learning components. Participants will also be able to form 1:1 relationship with LLU students who are also participating in Service-Learning activities through the University and learn more about their careers and journey in healthcare.


Outdoor Outreach provides implementation and coordination of the program which includes transportation to all outdoor engagements, food, education, and organized fun.

San Bernardino County Unified School District - will be providing service learning, career pathway, leadership opportunities, and mentoring youth leaders after the grant


The six interns through the OEP program will each be assigned a mentee whom they will mentor throughout their internship period and for the calendar year after. These mentees will be identified through their leadership, primarily those who have completed either the LLU OEP Leadership Certificate or the Service-Learning components, demonstrating interest and dedication to serving their local community. The interns will utilize their time to connect mentees to local organizations, such as the Sierra Club, for opportunities to learn about advocacy, policy, and to participate in local environmental justice projects such as cleanups. These mentees will also have the opportunity to participate in a networking session after the Careers in Health and Nature Equity Panel. This panel will take place once a year during the grantee’s existing Pipeline Summer program intensive series of events where local youth learn about professions and develop professional skills such as presenting, research, and interviews. Mentees will have a private session to network with these panelists with careers in nature, nutrition, and natural resource management to connect personally with those whose journey they would like to learn more about. Mentees, and all participants in the Summer Pipeline Program, are supported as lifetime alumni of the LLU Pipeline Alumni Association which hosts monthly professional development workshops, quarterly networking events, annual scholarship opportunities, and more. 

Annual Reports Start in December 2023!

Grantee will report the number of children served, partnership accomplishments and lessons learned, how educational goals were achieved, and unforeseen challenges and recommended solutions, with the goal of inspiring and building capacity for future outdoor program providers throughout California.