SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--San Diego Canyonlands and the Lucky Duck Foundation announced an initiative to boost training and long-term employment opportunities for persons at risk of homelessness while simultaneously combating climate change by enhancing the City’s most valuable real estate.
Supervised by Canyonlands staff, individuals experiencing and at risk of homelessness will form a paid working team to remove more than 1 ton of fire-prone invasive species and replace them with more than 250 fire-resistant native plants across several San Diego canyon habitat ecosystems.
Their efforts will reduce wild-fire and flood risks, while simultaneously improving water quality, air quality, climate resiliency, biodiversity, wildlife, property values, and the physical and mental health of all San Diegans.
Funds were awarded by the Lucky Duck Foundation (LDF) and build on a legacy of innovative programs aimed at preventing and alleviating San Diego’s homelessness epidemic, this time by supporting a habitat restoration skills training program for the City’s most vulnerable residents.
Taught by Canyonlands experts, apprentices will learn local ecology; how to lessen fire risk; how to safely use and care for landscaping tools; and be taught skills for potential long-term employment in environmental restoration and potentially within the newly launched American Climate Corps.
“This initiative teaches people how to make our canyons more fire-resistant with native plants, which helps combat climate change while providing meaningful employment opportunities,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “I appreciate this partnership between San Diego Canyonlands and the Lucky Duck Foundation, and I applaud their efforts to creatively address homelessness and climate change with this program.”
“Employment is a key factor in preventing and overcoming homelessness,” said Drew Moser, LDF Executive Director. “We are pleased to partner with Canyonlands to create a paid environmental restoration skills training program with the dual benefit of employment while restoring San Diego’s canyonlands.”
“Innovative people-centric solutions are the future of environmental management,” said Clayton Tschudy, Canyonlands CEO. “The Environmental Careers Opportunity (ECO) initiative, supported by the Lucky Duck Foundation and generous community donations, is a great example of how restoring the natural environment can simultaneously provide green job training opportunities, improve physical and mental health, and make meaningful progress on some of the most pressing challenges facing society today.”
Jen Ochoa, Canyonlands ECO training program leader remarked, “It’s inspiring that some of our most vulnerable residents are helping to restore and protect San Diego’s most precious and valuable canyonland habitats. I look forward to expanding this initiative.”
About San Diego Canyonlands: San Diego Canyonlands is an entrepreneurial environmental restoration non-profit dedicated to clean, safe, and beautiful urban canyons, particularly those in underserved communities. Led by professional restoration crews, green workforce apprentices, community stakeholders, youth leaders and volunteers, Canyonlands transforms urban canyon spaces into thriving native habitats, simultaneously enhancing San Diego’s water quality, air quality, natural beauty, fire and flood resiliency, wildlife, biodiversity, property values, access to nature, physical and mental well-being, and overall quality of life. During a critical era for habitat restoration across the globe, Canyonlands is demonstrating how restoring sensitive ecosystems can be a wellspring of inspiration for climate justice, social equity, educational opportunity, and infrastructure.
About Lucky Duck Foundation: Since 2005, the Lucky Duck Foundation (LDF) has raised funds and awareness for numerous charitable causes throughout San Diego. In 2017, due to the growing homelessness epidemic, LDF pivoted to focus on providing aid and relief for individuals and families suffering from homelessness. Since then, LDF and its co-founders, Pat & Stephanie Kilkenny, have funded, activated, and led several high-impact programs that alleviate the suffering of homelessness throughout San Diego County, including bridge shelters, employment and job training, research, permanent supportive housing, outreach, and more. Originally called the AGIA Foundation (Arrowhead General Insurance Agency), the name was changed to the Lucky Duck Foundation to honor the Kilkenny family's Irish heritage and as a nod to their love of the University of Oregon. The premise is simple: if you have had some good luck and fortune in your life, share your luck with those less fortunate. And, all donations are matched by Pat & Stephanie, up to $1.5 million per year.
About San Diego’s Canyons: Most San Diego neighborhoods contain one of the ~200 canyon habitats located across the city. Managed and supported by government agencies, nonprofit entities, and volunteers, San Diego’s canyons are biodiversity hotspots that provide homes and passageways for wildlife, including sensitive and endangered species, while offering restorative respites for anyone seeking natural beauty and solitude in our fast-paced urban environment.
About American Climate Corps: President Biden announced an initiative to train young people in high-demand skills for jobs in the clean energy economy. The American Climate Corps will put a new generation of Americans to work conserving our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, advancing environmental justice, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and tackling climate change. American Climate Corps members will gain the skills necessary to access good-paying jobs that are aligned with high-quality employment opportunities after they complete their paid training or service program.