Outdoor Access for Youth Award

Today, far too many communities struggle with environmental issues, including limited access to parks and green spaces, especially in low-income and minority areas due to historical discrimination. This lack of access contributes to health problems as youth spend more time indoors. Racial disparities persist in outdoor spaces globally, stemming from a history of exclusion. 


The Outdoor Access for Youth Award of John Muir College at the University of California, San Diego aims to address these challenges by supporting students who empower youth to reconnect with nature and foster human-nature relationships. 

This program awards between $1000-$5000 to up to three UC San Diego undergraduates who are committed to introducing young people (ages 6-24) from underserved communities to the outdoors and outdoor adventure. Successful award recipients aim to foster and promote the physical, social, cultural, and mental health benefits of spending time in outdoor spaces.



OAYA is made possible through the generous support of Rob and Suzy Schamberg (UCSD, Class of 1978), who created this award in honor of the late John Stewart, Founding Provost of Muir College. Stewart taught the ENVR 140: Wilderness and Human Values, the longstanding signature course in the Environmental Studies Program.


Rob Schamberg enrolled in Wilderness and Human Values in 1976, and subsequently became a Discussion Leader in 1977 and 1978. He later became an educator, school administrator, and leader who promoted outdoors for all in the schools and communities he served in California and throughout the United States. Rob is the founder and chair of Reno's Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO), a volunteer organization committed to developing leadership skills and social and emotional development to youth through hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, whitewater rafting, and other outdoor adventure trips in Nevada. Rob and his family are grateful to John Stewart for his vocation as an educator and his outdoor avocations which grew out of the Wilderness and Human Values class at UC San Diego. 


The Schamberg Family Philanthropy Fund is honoring John Stewart by dedicating this award to him. There is potential for an awarded candidate for mentorship and/or an internship through Reno ICO.

2024 Awardees

Announcement to come

Image: Reno Inspiring Connections Outdoors