The San Diego Foundation Opening the Outdoors program connects, protects and increases access to nature across the county, especially for San Diegans in underserved and park-poor communities.
In 2010, The San Diego Foundation commissioned the Parks for Everyone report to better understand green access in the San Diego region. The report found that while 45 percent of San Diego County’s total land area is green space, many low-income, ethnically diverse communities have limited access to parks and open spaces. There was also a strong correlation between communities with high rates of childhood obesity and low park access.
The Opening the Outdoors program was established in response to these findings and our region’s need to connect, protect and increase access to nature across the county, especially for San Diegans in underserved and park-poor communities.
- 13,000+ accessed the outdoors to experience nature through our program partners in 2012-2015
- 20,000+ volunteers engaged in community outreach, advocacy and environment-based education programs
- 40,000+ acres of critical natural habitats and green space was acquired (equivalent in size to six Balboa Parks)
- 2,300+ residents helped revitalize green space and reduce exposure to toxic pollutants
- $165+ million secured in private and public funding for land acquisition and stewardship
- The beautification of two sister parks, Border Field in San Diego and Parque Sauces in Tijuana, now provide a welcoming place for families
- Increase community-driven efforts to enhance trails, signage, and natural amenities in neighborhoods where resources are deficient (provisions that increase access to resources including hiking/biking/horse trails, picnic areas, gathering places, etc.);
- Encourage kids from park-poor communities to engage with the natural environment through physical or educational activities;
- Connect and protect nature through conservation/restoration/acquisition of key lands or building community support for relevant public policies or funding; and
- Engage residents in revitalizing natural areas in their communities and diverse volunteers in community outreach, advocacy, and environment-based education programs.