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Connecting Youth with Nature

"If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it." 
-David Sobel

Research confirms that the natural world offers a wide range of benefits for our children.  Connecting with nature supports mental health, well-being, resilience, enhanced mood and reduces stress.  Experiences in nature help children become more mindful, manage behaviors and reactions, cope with new environments, control impulses and focus attention.  Time in nature nurtures a sense of self identity, belonging with others and connection to place.  Ultimately, children who grow up having regular contact with nature are more likely to develop a lifelong love for the natural world and want to preserve it.  


Unfortunately, not only has childhood in the United States gravitated more and more towards indoor activities, but regular access to nature is too often determined by race, income, identity, ability and postal code.  Turning this tide will take sustained effort, mostly at the local community level.

The Joseph & Vera Long Foundation seeks to support organizations that provide meaningful, hands-on experiences for school age children to get outside and learn in the natural world.  ​By providing funding for programs and projects focused on experiential learning, we hope that more children in Northern California and Hawaii will have equitable access to encounters that deepen their respect for nature, influence them to value and protect natural resources, and improve their physical and emotional health.

Grants will be made for:

  • Program Costs (including supplies and transportation)

  • Capital Improvements

  • Capacity Building

  • Subsidized Tuition

Populations Targeted:

  • School Aged Children (6-17 yrs.)

Examples of the types of programs and projects that we seek to support include:

  • Outdoor Wilderness Programs

  • School Field Trips

  • School & Summer Camps

  • Family Camps & Activities

  • School Gardens

  • Greening Schoolyards

Preference will be given to organizations with high outreach to families in low-income communities.

To submit a grant application for the Connecting Youth with Nature grant program, please follow the process outlined on the Apply page.

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