Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation
The Sonoma County Parks Foundation raises funds, fosters partnerships and advocates on behalf of Sonoma County Regional Parks. We are an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports programs and projects at 56 Sonoma County parks and trails, including popular destinations like Spring Lake, Doran Beach, Sonoma Valley, Ragle Ranch, Foothill Regional Park and more.
One of the programs the Parks Foundation supports is Youth Exploring Sonoma Coast (YES-Coast). YES-Coast engages underserved youth between the ages of 13 and 18 with coastal parks and open spaces through a year-long series of outings. These activities interweave themes of coastal and marine ecology, local history and culture with instruction in photography and the concept of using pictures as a vehicle for self-expression. The objective is to connect youth from underserved communities to nature through environmental education, while at the same time providing an introduction to the potential of art in general, photography in specific, to reflect their experiences.
The teens check out the same camera for each outing and receive instructions in its use, allowing them to record what they see and feel during the program’s diverse hikes, camping trips, and stewardship projects. Their pictures will also be displayed in a special exhibit at the Gualala Arts Center this summer, and will subsequently travel throughout Sonoma County with exhibits at local library branches. Sonoma County Regional Parks partners with VOICES, a trusted local nonprofit, to recruit youth for the program, including teens who are fostered, homeless or have gang affiliations. Regional Parks also partners with California State Parks and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide career presentations, environmental education and stewardship activities.