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D.E.E.R. Program

We are actively recruiting for a DEER Program Coordinator

Discovering the Enviroment through Education and Recreation

Inexpensive alternatives for nature education outside of the classroom in San Luis Obispo are rare. Seeing an unmet need, San Luis Obispo County is providing this new opportunity! Discovering the Environment through Education and Recreation (DEER) Program will offer a hands-on nature experience where participants can commune with nature and gain respect and knowledge of the natural environment. Groups of 12 youth will be accommodated on each DEER Program weekend to one of four park locations: Lopez Lake Recreation Area, Santa Margarita Lake Recreation Area, El Chorro Regional Park, or Oceano Regional Park.

On a program weekend, the group will learn camping skills and etiquette as well as a foundation in natural and cultural resources. The interpretive program for the weekend will offer a broad perspective on human impact, geology of the area, climate changes, urban encroachment, fire ecology and watershed as well as camping 101, survival and basic first aid. San Luis Obispo County encompasses diverse ecosystems that provide a platform for integrating natural history with resource preservation. The program will also provide the education necessary to encourage program participants to support the preservation of parks and wild lands. Participants will also learn leadership skills, team building, conflict resolution and problem solving. The DEER Program will instill values necessary to correct behaviors that negatively impact parks and public lands such as poor camping etiquette, improper waste management, the inability to recycle, noise pollution, and common safety risks.

The DEER Program will provide an opportunity for youth from our community’s range of diverse cultural and economic populations to enjoy and experience nature in a safe and comfortable setting. A key component of the DEER Program is to provide basic yet quality camping gear for all participants who might otherwise never go camping for want of a sleeping bag or camp stove. A trailer with program supplies will be transported when needed at different sites for program weekends.

Community outreach is extremely important and vital for the continuation of the DEER Program. Funding is limited and continues to become scarce, similar to that of the open space which we all benefit from as a global ecosystem. Financial support as well as in-kind donations are gratefully accepted. Volunteers serve as a major component of the program to provide environmental education and program activities as well as management of the program itself. Partners in the community are continuing to grow too, with shared values such as outdoor recreation, children and family, education, and well-being of our natural world.

For information on the D.E.E.R. Program please contact Kristin Howland via email at or at


In partnership with


A big "Thank You" goes out to the following sponsors for their generous donations!


Last revised: May 8, 2013

Phone: (805) 781-5930
Fax: (805) 781-1102