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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.

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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.