Lena Morán-Acereto ’16 (Education with focus on Leadership and Social Justice, Antioch Univerity Santa Barbara) has joined the Board of the Wilderness Youth Project (WYP), the leading nature connection organization in Santa Barbara County. WYP Board members oversee governance, finance, and fundraising and act as ambassadors to the community. The mission of the Wilderness Youth Project is to foster confidence, health, and a lifelong love of learning for young people and families through active outdoor experiences and mentoring. Morán-Acereto is returning to the Board after a leave of absence taken while she served as a consultant advising WYP’s Board and staff in their equity work.
During her studies at Antioch, her thesis focused on the creation of an evaluation system of interpretation and translation services in school districts. As an educator, activist, and advocate, Morán-Acereto’s expertise has led her to facilitate workshops and training across California and provide consultation to organizations, school districts, and government agencies, and present and speak at conferences throughout the United States.
Morán-Acereto is a licensed trainer for The Community Interpreter, a program of Cross-Cultural Communications, an interpreter and translator and expert in the field of language justice. Morán-Acereto has experience in program development, implementation and delivery of diversity, equity and inclusion work with educators, families, youth, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and more. Morán-Acereto has presented at various conferences, including Facing Race: A National Conference (2016), CSUCI: Conference for Social Justice in Education (2019), 2nd Annual Social Justice Education Conference (2019). In addition to her work with Bridging Voices-Uniendo Voces, Morán-Acereto is faculty and co-facilitator for the Antioch University Women & Leadership Certificate Program, a Senior Consultant at JONES Inclusive as well as a member of the Equity Advisory Roundtable for the California Transportation Commission.
WYP takes participants to resource-rich locations, such as creeks, beaches, mountain trails, and open spaces in Santa Barbara’s abundant front country. The core routines include child-centered exploration, awareness, and the building of naturalist skills. They use a nature-based mentoring curriculum that combines experience in nature with a hands-on learning process. Participants are with WYP many times over the course of a season, deepening connections with themselves, the group, their mentors, and the places they go. Operating summer camps, a nature preschool, afterschool programs, and a subsidized program in local public schools called the “Bridge to Nature,” WYP brings nature connection to more than a thousand children a year on a weekly basis, building on the fact that nature connection makes kids “smarter, healthier and happier.”
Read more about Lena Morán-Acereto and her work to strengthen communities in a 2019 alumni profile story here.