Written by: Catherine Ronan, ICO Leader, Fundraising Committee

On a glorious sunny day in April with the spring blooms in full flower, students from Vista Middle School hiked up the hills above Sycamore Canyon to a viewpoint overlooking the ocean. After descending to the campground and boarding the bus for a quick trip across Pacific Coast Highway to the beach, students enjoyed a picnic lunch before spending some time chasing the waves and splashing in the ocean.

An Explore the Coast grant from the California Coastal Conservancy made this trip possible and will fund thirty trips to the coast for Angeles ICO schools and agencies over the next year. Leaders are encouraged to plan a day outing or an overnight camping trip to a park or beach along the coast for their schools.

Ideas for day outings along the coast
In Malibu, some parks such as Leo Carrillo are still closed due to the Woolsey fire but Solstice Canyon is now reopened. Sycamore Canyon was not touched by the fire at all and Temescal is also open. Malibu Lagoon offers a two mile walk and a visit to the famous Surfrider Beach.

Further down the coast, Ballona Wetlands is open to the public on some Saturdays and the beach is a short walk away. Tours are also offered on weekdays for school field trips through Los Angles Audubon and Friends of Ballona Wetlands. For a service trip, consider registering your school group for a Heal the Bay clean up event. These are held the third Saturday of every month on an L. A. County beach.

In Palos Verdes docents can take students to visit the tidepools at Abalone Cove through a program sponsored by the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. Or visit White Point for a short hike and a visit to the tidepools.

In Orange County, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is another location where a walk through the wetlands through the auspices of Bolsa Chica Land Trust can be followed by a visit to the beach across the street. Crystal Cove State Park offers the chance for a hike in the hills followed by a short walk through a tunnel under Pacific Coast Highway to the beach.

Camping at the beach: Up the coast Sycamore Canyon Campground and La Jolla Group Camp are open and there are several camping spots on the beach in Orange County such as Crystal Cove and Doheny State Beach Campground.

For more information about these and other trips to the coast, visit our website at http://angelesico.org/info-for-leaders/list-of-hikes. Don’t forget that you must arrange for lifeguard coverage if you anticipate that students will be in the water.

Explore the Coast grants fund a wide range of programs that bring people to the coast. Several projects, including Angeles ICO, fund transportation for school groups from inland areas to the ocean particularly people from underserved communities.