West Hills Community College District Celebrates Selection as a Parks California 2024 Route to Parks Grantee

West Hills Community College District (WHCCD) is thrilled to announce its selection as one of the 29 Parks California 2024 Route to Parks grant recipients. Now in its fourth year, the program aims to break down barriers to accessing state parks and foster a deep appreciation for nature among participants. WHCCD's project, known as the CATCH (Creating Access to California’s Heritage) project, is set to engage underserved, underrepresented, multi-generational, and "park poor" families in outdoor education opportunities. 

Parks California's Route to Parks grants program is a testament to the power of public-private partnerships, with support from private fundraising by Parks California and the California Department of Parks and Recreation's Waterway Connections Initiative. In alignment with the California Natural Resources Agency's Outdoors for All program, the 2024 Route to Parks grants program is expanding to include increased opportunities for water-related outdoor access and experiences.

"The CATCH project by WHCCD will serve 60 participants across three trips, offering unique, intensive, and immersive experiences," said Brain Boomer, WHCCD Director of Grants. "This project, the first of its kind in the state, aims to raise awareness of California's outdoor spaces and the importance of human capital in maintaining them. By working with the California State Parks system and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the project is set to make a significant impact."

Participants in the CATCH project will explore the state's unique parks and wild areas and embark on their own Heritage Trout Challenge (HTC). Following the CDFW's HTC model, participants will aim to catch three trout species (Coastal Rainbow, Coastal Cutthroat, and California Golden trout) toward a state-certified Heritage Trout certificate. This educational initiative provides participants with a solid foundation, halfway to a certificate, and encourages future outdoor exploration.

"West Hills Community College District is honored to be part of Parks California's 2024 Route to Parks grants program," said Boomer. "We look forward to a lasting impact on participants' lives while fostering a love for California's diverse outdoor spaces."

West Hills Spotlight

Stay in-the-know regarding West Hills with updated news and featured events.