Explore the Coast Advisory Board
The Advisory Board to the Explore the Coast program represents the interests and needs of communities served by this important grant program. The Advisory Board counsels Conservancy staff on the application process, review of applications, and ongoing delivery of the Explore the Coast grant program.
The Explore the Coast program seeks to increase recreational, educational, or stewardship opportunities particularly for people and communities that may face challenges visiting and enjoying the coast. Over the past five years, this program has distributed over $5.3 million through nearly 200 ETC grants throughout California to connect more people to California’s spectacular coast. Through these grants, tens of thousands of Californians have been able to experience the coast, often for the first time.
The Conservancy aims to equitably distribute this funding and maximize the impact of every dollar spent. The Advisory Board brings a wealth of insight and diverse experience to help this program better serve the needs of all Californians.
Advisory Board Members
Ms. Aguirre is a middle and high school science teacher in Marin County with a background in marine biology. She believes strongly in the importance of outdoor education to connect students with their community and engage them as learners. Ms. Aguirre is deeply interested in increasing marginalized community members’ access to their local environment and reducing barriers to access our natural resources.
Professor Rodriguez has a long and distinguished history of connecting young people and people of color with outdoor recreation. He has been an outspoken advocate for communities of color and the outdoors throughout his professional career, having written numerous articles on unique strategies to involve people of color with natural resources as well as serving on several advisory boards focused on underrepresented communities and the outdoors.
Mr. Williams is the founder of Black Surfers Collective, which aims to promote the sport of surfing and ocean education to underserved youth. He works to assist underserved communities through programs that increase exposure to fun and educational opportunities so members of those communities feel welcome, comfortable, and included in utilizing and protecting our outdoor spaces.
Ms. Smith, Founder and Director Emerita of AXIS Dance Company, is one of the world’s driving forces in dance and disability. She is an avid hiker, having covered miles of trails in her power wheelchair, many of which were not technically wheelchair accessible, and advocate for universal accessibility in the outdoors.
Myrian Solis Coronel
Ms. Coronel is a Marketing Manager at REI as well as Commissioner on the California State Park and Recreation Commission. She has lead numerous efforts in the private, public and non-profit sector to use sensitivity, cultural and generational insights, and technology to connect communities with public lands.
Ms. Mohnot is a Senior Policy Analyst and Program Manager at the Greenlining Institute. She manages the CalSEED Initiative; a clean energy grant program administered by CalCEF that encourages diverse entrepreneurs from around California to find ways to advance equity as they develop their clean energy technologies. She also leads the organization’s climate adaptation and resilience work, to ensure low-income communities of color have the resources and support needed to adapt to a changing climate.
Ms. Nielsen is experienced in environmental education with a special interest in climate change education. Most recently she ran the Humboldt State University Natural History Museum education programs, which provide environmental educational resources for students from kindergarten through university age. She is committed to developing place-based curriculum that incorporates exploration of the natural world in California’s North Coast to ground and inspire students in their community.
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