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Kings River Conservancy Youth Program Kicks Off in February

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Volunteers with the Reedley-based Kings River Conservancy work on the river in December 2023. (Kings River Conservancy)
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The Kings River Conservancy’s new youth-led program, developed to help young people get outdoors and learn through experience, starts Saturday, Feb. 3, at the education pavilion near Pine Flat Dam.

To learn more about the program, call the Kings River Conservancy at (559) 787-9500 or email Denise Jameson at YouthPrograms@KingsRiverConservancy.org.

The California Natural Resources Agency awarded the conservancy, a non-profit dedicated to encouraging public safety and conservation practices, nearly $214,000 via its Youth Community Access grant program.

The grant’s goal is to enable youth in underserved and low-income communities to experience nature and locations of culture and historical significance.

The program, still in development, plans to provide children, ages 10-18, with opportunities to gain career and life skills and experience. This includes learning about leadership, mental wellness, and the Kings River’s natural resources.

Youth will be given access to water safety training and certification and explore the cultural history of the Kings River area and the local Native populations. They also can participate in invasive species removal, releasing trout into the river, and maintaining public trails and access points.

“With this youth-led program, we will now be able to expand the opportunity for youth and get them outside to not only learn about science but be able to see it, feel it, and experience it with a ‘Learn by Doing’ approach,” said Denise Jameson, a Kings River Conservancy program manager. “We are here to provide a service to youth, to give them knowledge, opportunities on how to better their lives, a way to give them those moments of awareness, and bask in the beauty of what nature has provided us.”

The KRC Youth Led Program plans to provide activities, including tours and projects that focus on various areas of learning each month.

“We have been given this fantastic opportunity to teach our youth that nature is a precious commodity — it is not limitless — and to provide the understanding that if they don’t join in on conservation efforts, they may lose that opportunity to enjoy it,” Jameson said

The Youth Community Access Program grants will fund nearly 71 projects in California, totaling roughly $18 million.

To learn more about the program, call the Kings River Conservancy at (559) 787-9500 or email Denise Jameson at YouthPrograms@KingsRiverConservancy.org.

Anya Ellis began working for GV Wire in July 2023. The daughter of journalists, Anya is a Fresno native and Buchanan High School graduate. She is currently at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in film and media studies and minoring in creative writing. She plans to pursue her masters in screenwriting after graduating. You can contact Anya at anya.ellis@gvwire.com.

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