I finished my last paper on Wednesday of finals week, said my goodbyes and packed up my room by Friday, moved into my summer home in Daly City on Saturday, and started my first day of work on Monday. Needless to say, it was a whirlwind of a week leading up to the start of my internship. Now a month into working at The Trust for Public Land (TPL), I’ve settled into my work, my home, and the city, and am continuing to learn so much during my time here.
Going into my internship with TPL, I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I had never done any work in environmental policy and with major grants. All I knew was that I was really excited to work at TPL because of the work they do.
Simply put, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a non-profit with the mission of creating “parks for people”, driven by their vision of “a 10-minute walk to safe and healthy parks” for all. In the short month that I’ve been working here, I’ve come to realize how that translates out in complex ways to the work that TPL does, whether it be in the form of creating green alleys in South Los Angeles, land conservation easement on rural ranch lands in Marysville, or the community effort of renovating John F. Kennedy Park in Richmond. Climate resiliency and land access are key drivers for the land conservation work that TPL does. As someone in the office said, “The triple bottom line of our work is: adaptation, mitigation, and sequestration.” Land Conservation is an integral part of fighting climate change and working towards climate resiliency.
I am the Public Grants and Policy intern under the Government Affairs team in TPL’s California Office in San Francisco. Our work entails managing the grant applications and funding for the land conservation and park creation projects in California that other teams are currently working on. Also, as part of the grant application process, we have the opportunity to shape public grant guidelines to make them more relevant to our work.
During my time at TPL, I’ve sat in on meetings with the CA Land Protection Team and other teams to get a better understanding of what everyone does and past and current projects they’re working on; I’ve assisted with gathering various materials for grant applications and writing grant applications; and have been familiarizing myself with Proposition 68.
Proposition 68, The Clean Water and Safe Parks Act, is a general obligation bond – approved by Governor Jerry Brown and the California State Legislature – that was passed with 57% of the vote, investing over $4 billion in natural resources and disaster prevention, cleaning up contaminated drinking water, increasing local water supplies, and providing safe parks for children and future generations. Prop 68 is a big deal because it is the first natural resource bond that is focused on equity and access, with climate change as a theme throughout, and is the largest investment in parks and conservation in California's history. It’s even more of a big deal that it directly allocates $725 million for parks in park poor communities that lack safe parks and places for kids to play, in direct alignment with TPL’s 10-minute walk goal.
Many of the folks in the office put a lot of time and effort into making getting Prop 68 passed, from drafting parts of the bill to fundraising for the campaign to get it on the ballot and passed. Familiarizing myself with the ins and outs of Prop 68 has been an eye opening experience into seeing the process of how legislature translates directly into funding for impactful projects across the state.
Outside of work, I’ve been busy exploring the different things that SF has to offer, from its vibrant art and music scene, great food, lively markets, and numerous parks! It’s also been great meeting new and interesting people in the city, attending cool events and discussions, from connecting with alumni in the area to attending a Women of Color in the Environment mixer.
Read more at the Out West Student Blog »