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Tuleyome Youth Program Wins National Award
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 - Winters couple Jeff Falyn and Lyndsay Dawkins claimed the National Kids and Trails Award at the American Trails International Symposium near Scottsdale, Arizona. The award recognizes their work with Tuleyome’s Home Place Adventures program.
“Wow, we feel so fortunate!” Fayln states. “This program is still growing and we couldn’t be more excited about the direction it’s headed. Home Place Adventures provides young people with opportunities to get outside, learn about their surroundings and feel connected to something much greater than themselves.”
The award was granted by American Trails, the only national nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests, including hiking, bicycling and mountain biking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, water trails, and trail use by motorcyclists, ATV and four-wheeler enthusiasts and even snowmobilers.
The Kids and Trails Award honors efforts to engage children and youth in outdoor experiences using, but not limited to, trails. The award also focuses on creative interpretive, educational, and/or recreational design components, along with innovative programs which stimulate children's imagination and promote their interest in and appreciation for the natural environment while developing healthy lifestyles.
Last summer, Home Place Adventures partnered with five teen organizations and more than 35 volunteers including naturalists, teachers, and business leaders that led and assisted the youth outings. The program reaches hundreds of deserving youth, helping them develop an environmental ethic and active lifestyle. The program focuses on nature awareness, sustainable living, leadership skills, and getting youth involved in community giving projects.
Home Place Adventures is sponsored by the Wynant Foundation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, U.S. Bank, Conaway Preservation Group LLC, and others. The program began in 2006, with the creation of a Summer Youth Outdoor Exploration program initially designed to provide rafting activities for underserved youth.
Since then, the program has evolved to include environmental and community-based themes and a variety of outings. Home Place Adventures is an umbrella program that includes a Youth Outdoor Exploration Program, Nature’s Theater, and Tuleyome Trails, a program to build and maintain trails throughout the local region, founded by Andrew Fulks, President of Tuleyome.
The Youth Outdoor Exploration Program facet of Home Place Adventures offers diverse outdoor experiences. Last year, during a twelve-week period, Falyn and Dawkins ran eighteen outings with youth ranging in age from 11-17. But the couple recognizes that there are many more children to reach, citing an apparent “disconnect” between today’s youth and Nature. Some of the children who recently participated in the program, for example, had never hiked before or had an opportunity to play and swim in a lake. Many thought it would cost money to visit public lands, and stated that they didn’t understand that it was okay for them to go out and explore nature.
“Teens want to belong,” Lyndsay Dawkins observes, “but with few opportunities to connect to positive role models, they usually look elsewhere. Often, ‘elsewhere’ is an unhealthy option, and both the youth and the community suffer. When youth connect to their surroundings and environmental issues via shared experiences with peers and mentors, they feel included, develop a sense of purpose and become involved community members.”
Dawkins and Falyn also operate a separate program that opens up the outdoor world to play and exploration, called Nature’s Theater. Through appealing, live-action story-telling, Nature’s Theater helps young people experience the natural world first hand, with joy and wonder. The program encourages older teens to take on the role of story-tellers and leaders by providing them with easy-to-learn stories to tell to the younger children. As children participate in these interactive stories, go on quests, solve mysteries and meet costumed characters, their senses are heightened and they become more aware of their environment. The young participants not only retain what they learn, but are eager to share it with others.
“The success of this program has and will always be the people who volunteer their expertise to lead the outings and to those who see the value in Home Place Adventures and donate financially to its continuation,” says Dawkins. “If you are interested in collaborating, and becoming part of the Home Place Adventures mission, please reach out. When a community works together, great things take place.”
For more about Home Place Adventures, please visit www.tuleyome.org, or contact
In October 2012, the Conservation Lands Foundation hosted the 2012 Friends Rendezvous in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Forty-eight groups from around the county attended to share their stories of success in 2012.
The first segment shows Tuleyome Director Sara Husby-Good, sharing some of the successes of the Berryessa Snow Mountain campaign.
Editorial Notebook: Once inaccessible, Berryessa Peak is an island no more
By Pia Lopez The Sacramento Bee
Last modified: 2013-02-15T07:19:50Z
Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 - 12:00 am | Opinion | Page 14A
Not far from Sacramento and Davis, the Inner Coast Range beckons hikers, particularly around the Berryessa Reservoir. But anyone who has tried to access the ridges and peaks on public lands soon learns the old adage, "You can't get there from here."
Though public lands abound – state lands managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management – many are landlocked, surrounded by private ranches and thus inaccessible to the general public.
That lack of public access slowly is changing.
Organizers of a new public trail in Napa and Yolo counties hosted a hike to the top of Berryessa Peak late last month. This is the view from the top, at 3,057 feet.
Berryessa Peak, an island of BLM land surrounded by private lands, is a prime example. It took a unique public-private partnership to connect a mosaic of public lands through a private easement before the public could access the peak. The new Berryessa Peak Trail was a long time coming, a tribute to persistence and relationship-building.
The driving force was Andrew Fulks, a landscape architect, land manager at UC Davis, founder of Yolohiker.org and president of the Woodland-based Tuleyome conservation nonprofit. In the mid-1990s, Fulks, then in his 20s, tried to find a way to the public peak from the end of every county road, but dead-ended at private ranches.
To cobble together connections, he says, took 15 years of persistent politicking, one year of bureaucratic wrangling and two years of trail-building by himself and committed volunteers.
But the critical piece was enthusiastic support from owners of the Running Deer Ranch, which stretches from the Berryessa Valley to the steep slopes of Blue Ridge, part of the Berryessa brothers' original land grant dating to 1843. John and Judy Ahmann own the lone private parcel in the gap between state and federal lands. Approached by Tuleyome in 2007, the Ahmanns agreed to grant a trail easement for the key half-mile stretch in Green Canyon to connect the public pieces together.
Fulks' goal was to finish building the 7.2-mile trail to the peak before he turned 40 last May. "I beat it by one month," he said.
Thirty-five people met at Mile Marker 20 on the Berryessa-Knoxville Road, two miles north of Lake Berryessa, on Jan. 27 and made the challenging trek over steep, rugged terrain – oak woodland, chaparral and impressive sandstone outcrops and bluffs. Twenty-two made it to the top of the peak and ate lunch at the site of a former fire lookout tower destroyed in the 39,000-acre Rumsey fire of 2004.
At 3,057 feet, Berryessa Peak is the high point of Blue Ridge. We took in spectacular views of Lake Berryessa, Snow Mountain to the north, Mount Konocti near Clear Lake, Mount St. Helena near Napa Valley, Mount Tamalpais near San Francisco, Mount Diablo in the East Bay and, of course, the Central Valley and Sacramento. Communications towers atop Berryessa Peak make it easily identifable from surrounding areas.
There is still work to be done on the Berryessa Peak Trail. The public has to climb through a fence to begin the hike on state Fish and Wildlife land. To improve access, a gate and an official sign are needed.
But Berryessa Peak is an island no more.