Shop for a Cause 2015!

Support the Santa Monica Mountains Fund!

Written by Gayle

I love National Parks.  We visited them often when I was a child, and I have always harbored a secret desire to be a Park Ranger, preferably in some far-off wilderness where I could hike daily, and when not hiking I would sit atop a fire spotting station.  So anytime I can visit or support National Parks, I'm in.  And we are lucky to have a great one right in our back yard--from Mugu Lagoon to West Hollywood and from the ocean to past the 101 freeway!

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In 1978 the Santa Monica Mountains National Park was created.  It is the largest urban National Park, with 153,000 acres.  It includes local, state, and National parks, as well as private acreage.  There are 21 different ecosystems in the Park, because of the many climate differences, which means huge biodiversity.  There are more than 500 miles of trails in the Park, including a 65-mile long mountain-to-the-sea trail through the park.  There are many historic and cultural sites, including movie sets and Native American centers.  This hidden gem is right in our back yards, and many people aren't even aware of it. There are 17 million people within a one-hour drive of the Park; you don't have to travel far to enjoy the wilderness!

And this year, in connection with our Earth Day Events on April 18, Lassen's is pleased to support  the Santa Monica Mountains Fund, the philanthropic partner to the National Park System for the Santa Monica Mountains.  A percentage of sales from all of our locations on our Earth Day will be donated to the fund to support their efforts.  They foster "protection and enjoyment of park resources by the public through education, research, improved facilities, citizen engagement and stewardship" (all quotes are from materials provided by the Santa Monica Mountains fund.)

I visited with Art and Charlotte at the Fund offices in Thousand Oaks last month, and came away so excited to be able to partner with them this Earth Day.

The Santa Monica Mountains Fund has existed since 1988, and in the last few years has really taken off and is growing.  Last year the Fund was able to contribute over a quarter million dollars to the Santa Monica Mountains National Park, which has helped to provide research and education funds.  The Fund has developed curriculum-based educational programs for all ages, which serve particularly  underserved communities that are close to the Park.  For over ten years, "disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles and Ventura County have been provided an opportunity to learn about nature and their environmental impact through an innovative experiential learning program."  In this program students learn about water usage, thriving and endangered wildlife, and how the land is used and protected.  The kids get to have many experiences unfamiliar to urban youth, such as hiking, planting, removing invasive species, and many other activities.  The Fund assists with transportation, which is generally a big hurdle for urban schools.

The Fund also supports a program in downtown LA that holds events in community centers or schools to bring the park to the people.  Rangers give children and adults a taste of the wildlife and biodiversity of the mountains.  The Park has requested a "mobile visitors center" -- a van that brings exhibits to the people -- and the Fund is working to secure funding for the van.

Art, of SAMOFund, says that the Fund serves as a "handmaiden" to the Park--they do what needs to be done.  For example, the National Park sponsors a "Recreation Fest" as a community outreach to get people excited about visiting the park, but the National Park Service is prohibited from providing food.  So the Fund will take care of the food for the Event.

Four times per year the Fund also publishes "Outdoors," which includes a schedule of events for the Park.  In it you can see all of the programs and events on a given day.  You may have seen copies of "Outdoors" at libraries and other public spaces around town.  (You can find "Outdoors" at samofund.org)

One of the most exciting things that SAMOFund does is support research.  You may have heard of the mountain lions that have been tracked in the Santa Monica Mountains.  An article in the LA Times (March 9, p. B3) reported that a camera caught three pumas (mountain lions) eating a deer.  The Fund assists with the purchase of collars for wildlife, as well as the research the scientists are doing on all aspects of the Mountains.  The Fund aid for research done by a grad student on the declining health of bobcats in the Park.


So you can see that the Santa Monica Mountains Fund does some great work to support the National Park.  As our visit was wrapping up, Art mentioned that SAMOFund also assists Channel Islands National Park, as well as Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego.   They are doing lots more exciting work than this short summary!  And we at Lassen's are excited to help the SAMOFund by donating a percentage of our sales on our Earth Day, April 18, 2015.  When you shop, you know that you are also supporting this wonderful organization!

Love,

Lassen's