The SAMO Fund Thanks Its Online Donors

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin

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The SAMO Fund Thanks Its Online Donors
The Santa Monica Mountains Fund supports mountain lion research and preservation, fish, wildlife, native plants and vital youth programs inside the largest urban national park in the United States. “Love Our Parks” was the theme for a fun, upbeat online presentation and silent auction hosted by the Santa Monica Mountains Fund (SAMO) on July 24 to raise money for research, wildlife and youth programs. According to its organizers, all proceeds from the event will go to the general fund of the Santa Monica Mountains Fund to help support local wildlife, outdoor education for high school youth and children in under-served communities, maintain trails, and nurture propagation of native plants and trees in the Park. “I want to thank everyone who supported our event and who values this amazing resource—the largest urban national park in the country,” said Charlotte Parry, Executive Director of the SAMO Fund, to all those who contributed to the event to raise most of its goal of $50,000. Under Parry’s guidance, the fund has contributed more than $1 million to fund National Park Services Programs for three of the last four years. “We raise a lot of the money that contributes to the park,” Parry said of the SAMO fund. “It has grown…we receive income from a wide range of sources including grants and programs. The donations are just one source of income; we very much appreciate that the public appreciates the work and wants to support it.”
Photos Courtesy
SAMO Programs
Parry said she wanted to share some of the SAMO fund’s particularly interesting programs, such as wildlife preservation, mountain lion protection, numerous educational programs, and myriad hiking and biking opportunities in the mountains.

According to Parry, SAMO has been funding the vital mountain lion research for about 20 years and supports the proposed Wildlife Crossing over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills.“These programs inspire us in what we do,” she said.

Parry said that each year, its Summer Youth Program invites 22 college-oriented juniors and seniors from select high schools to apply for a salaried mentorship program, where they learn directly from NPS mentors how to maintain trails, conduct plant and wildlife research and protect the mountains.

“This year, due to COVID-19, we have invited 11 students from Ventura and Los Angeles for an eight-week youth mentoring program,” she said. “It’s a smaller version of the program running this year—safe and social-distanced—that gives young people a job during the summer.”

A National Recreation Area
Hidden in plain sight from Greater Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMRNA) is a 153,000-acre national park that stretches from the Hollywood Bowl to Ventura County and a coastline that stretches from Santa Monica to Point Mugu.

King Gillette Ranch, which was funded by and constructed on 588 acres for the National Park Service (NPS), California State Parks, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, in a building that was repurposed from the former horse stable for the Gillette Mansion to serve an anticipated 35 million annual visitors. n 

To donate or for more information about mountain lion research, SMMRNA and the SAMO fund, go to: (
The Visitor Center is located at 26876 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas, CA 91302; (805) 370-2301

Top Ten Reasons to Visit SMMNRA

Escape Los Angeles’ urban jungle to find truly wild places. 

• Enjoy the mild Mediterranean climate, one of five such rare places in the world. 
• Relax at the Visitor’s Center at King Gillette Ranch right in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains.
• Marvel at the Milky Way at night.
• Climb a mountain, soak your feet in the Pacific Ocean, eat a fish taco…all before noon.
• Step back in time and discover what Southern California looked like before major urban development. 
• Learn how Native American communities lived in the mountains for more than 10,000 years. 
• Explore more than 500 miles of trails available for hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and equestrians. 
• See wildlife like bobcats, quail, coyotes, dolphins, and maybe even the elusive mountain lion.
• Did we mention our perfect weather and year-round recreation?

Courtesy of the National Park Service For more information, go to
Annemarie Donkin

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August 7, 2020