Passion for the Park

PASSION FOR THE PARK

FOUR GENERATIONS LATER, THE LOVE FOR CRYSTAL COVE LIVES ON WITH A MAJOR DONATION FROM THE STEEN AND SWAN FAMILIES’ CYGNET FOUNDATION

Descendants of Crystal Cove’s 1950s era tent campers are proving that a love for Crystal Cove runs deep. Over the years, the Steen and Swan families have paid homage to the past with tributes in the present. Eric Steen, whose parents and grandparents were formerly tenters, has fond memories camping as a small boy. Even after tenting was no longer allowed, he returned to the Cove and introduced his high school sweetheart Karen Swan to the beach.

Eric and Karen are now married and have a shared commitment to giving back. In the past, the Steen family has facilitated donations to help bus inner city students to participate in educational programs in the Park. This year, Karen played an important role in the selection of Crystal Cove as the recipient of a major award from her family’s Cygnet Foundation (which supports environmental protection in Southern California). The 2014 grant totals $40,000—the largest gift The Cygnet Foundation has ever given to a single organization—with half allotted for scholarships and the rest designated for CCA’s education programs.

“I spent hours as a child, and even hours as a high schooler, fascinated by the tide pools and aquatic life [at Crystal Cove],” Eric says. “I think the education work that Crystal Cove Alliance
is doing to show and preserve nature and wildlife in that area … is important—you add that all together, and Crystal Cove is just a natural recipient for this year’s grant.”

“The opening of the Berns Environmental Study Loop in early 2014 created a need for additional educational programming and scholarships,” Karen adds. “It seemed like the perfect time for The Cygnet Foundation to make a gift that would help programming at the ESL get off the ground.”

Eric and Karen have also passed their love for Crystal Cove down to the next generation—their daughter, Madeline, is studying environmental policy at University of Redlands and interned last summer in CCA’s education department. Her work focused on the Berns Environmental Study Loop citizen science programs that look at the amount of plastics that wash up on the beach, as well as insect-plant interactions in the Park.

This continued support by some of Crystal Cove’s earliest part time dwellers highlight their commitment to all that CCA stands for—conservation, education and restoration in the Park.

top image: The Steen family, circa the 1950s tent camping

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