All of the seven programs of the Southern California Mountains Foundation take funding to run smoothly. Our Fire Lookouts and Children's Forest Native Plant Nursery are no different. Buildings need upgrades and maintenance; programs need supplies and materials. This past year we were fortunate enough to be awarded grant funding from Edison International to help boost these two programs.
'Edison International funding helped us complete vital nursery building upgrades to ensure our plants will be disease free in the future," says restoration project manager Lisa Underwood. "Additionally, there is now more space for school groups to gather to assist with our forest restoration projects." The Children's Forest Native Plant Nursery compound is located within Children's Forest above the Deerlick Fire Station in Running Springs, and was recently given a facelift with new concrete pads, concrete retaining walls, gravel walkways surrounding the treebeds, and an improved drainage system within the greenhouse. Funding also paid for our Urban Conservation Corps to assist with all of the heavy lifting and construction.
Edison grant funding also paid for our Fire Lookout Coordinator to recruit and train 80 new volunteers to become fire lookout hosts. This included 9 classroom sessions and in-the-tower training. 7 refresher courses were also offered to keep volunteers up to date on information to keep them safe while in the towers. The Fire Lookout Hosts gave out visitor and fire information to over 26,000 visitors in 2019 and contributed 15,515 hours to keep our communities fire-free. Additionally, Edison funds helped support tower maintenance projects such as paying for new flooring and paint. Funds also paid for our Urban Conservation Corps to clear brush from the routes leading to the 7 fire towers that the Southern California Mountains Foundation manages.
"We couldn't keep our programs running without donors such as Edison," says Juli Goss, Deputy Executive Director of the Southern California Mountains Foundation. "Funding to pay for building maintenance is especially hard to find and we are so grateful to have them as a partner."