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First Partner Jennifer Newsom Wants To Get More Underserved Kids To State Parks

The entrance to Malibu Creek State Park. (Caleigh Wells/LAist)
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When Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s sister died… she found green spaces were healing.

"Because of my opportunity to be outdoors and in nature, I was able to not just survive, but thrive," she told LAist/KPCC on Wednesday.

The First Partner of Gov. Gavin Newsom was in L.A. to promote a new campaign to make it easier for low-income young people to visit state parks.

Siebel Newsom is partnering with the California State Parks Foundation on the campaign, called Pathways to Parks.

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Research from the UCLA shows that most young people in California live within walking, biking, or driving distance of state parks — but often face obstacles to getting there.

Siebel Newsom says those young people are missing out on what should be a mental health resource for all.

Gov. Newsom's proposed budget includes $20 million to help eliminate barriers to parks faced by underserved communities.

The funds could go to support non-profits like L.A.-based Community Nature Connection.

High school senior Michelle Gutierrez went camping for the first time with the group and learned to identify species of sage by smelling the plants.

She couldn't wait to share her newfound knowledge with her family.

"At first they would be like why do I care about this? But I feel like when you see someone who cares about something, you grow to care about it, too," she said.