They were led on the backcountry hike starting at Forsee Creek trailhead by Seth Shteir of the National Parks Conservation Alliance (NPCA) who taught them about: how fires shape the ecosystem, black bears in southern California, birds, trees, plants and flowers, federally designated wilderness areas and the creation of the Sand to Snow National Monument.
El Nuevo Comienzo Church is led by Pastor Raul Velasquez who has been an effective advocate for the new California Desert National Monuments as a member of the Por La Creación: Faith Based Alliance. He has discovered a passion within his fellow Pastors and congregants for their desert public lands.
The area where they hiked is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and is a part of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. The group started their hike at 7,200 feet and walked about 4.5 miles in total. Along the way they got a close up look at the amazingly-colored western tanager, shooting stars, Indian paintbrush, incense cedar, ponderosa pine, dark eyed junco and much more!
The youth expressed appreciation for nature and being outdoors and talked during lunch about the impact nature is having on their lives. They are looking forward to many more hikes like this as well as the opportunity this September to participate in an ecosystem restoration project in Afton Canyon, which is part of the Mojave Trails National Monument.