Education in the San Gabriel Mountains

By Kumar Bloomstein/Amigos de los Rios –

A core tenant of Amigos de los Rios is our dedication to experimental, tactile learning. We believe strongly in the power of interactive, connective learning that gives individuals both an understanding of the scope of environmental problems, but also empowerment to feel able to solve issues that are most pertinent to their lived experience.

As part of our comprehensive, mission-driven approach to sustainability and environmental stewardship, the next generations of environmental leaders are being trained through our environmental education programs. Our goal is to create an atmosphere of learning that is built in reality, in practice, and in experience. We want the next-generation leaders we work with, from elementary students to collegiate aged young adults, to see and experience the value of treating nature as a “living laboratory;” a space that is both interactive and reactive. A laboratory that rewards risk, exploration, and grit, but remains grounded in safety and reason.

Recently, students from Mountain View Elementary in Azusa, California, spent a day in the San Gabriel Mountains, with our environmental educators, Marian Coensgen and Jeremy Munns. The students were able to learn about the unique value of San Gabriel Mountains ecosystems, the fragility of the urban-wildland interface, and the decisions they can make every day to better help protect our natural resources. From learning about native, drought-tolerant plants, to feeling mountain lion and bear fur, to hiking adjacent to the West Fork River, students received a comprehensive, nature-based educational experience.

For the majority of the students, this trip marked their first foray into the wild mountains of California, despite living in Azusa, California, at the base of the Mountain range. This reflects the larger issues of access that Amigos de los Rios has been tirelessly working to bridge over the past 15 years.

From our weekly Saturday events, in which volunteers, students, and community members engage in biodiversity growth, tree planting, and citizen science, to our educational curriculums that engage students as active stakeholders in the health of Southern California ecosystems, we are so proud to helping build the next generation of environmental stewardship and support.

If you are interested in becoming a part of our environmental education mission, don’t hesitate to contact us at, or call us at 626-791-1611.


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