We restore ourselves by restoring the places around us. That’s a fundamental principle for both outdoor retailer Recreation Equipment Incorporated (REI) and CSUMB’s Return of the Natives (RON) program.

Because of these shared values, REI has generously supported RON for the fifth straight year, this time with a grant of $26,300. The funds support efforts of CSUMB students, local teachers, school children and volunteers on habitat-restoration projects in the Monterey Peninsula area.

RON is an environmental education program dedicated to involving students (kindergarten through university) in habitat restoration and service learning projects. The program focuses on protecting Monterey Bay through waterway restoration.

Ellie Kincade, outreach specialist at REI’s Marina store, said programs like RON are creating future land stewards and policy deciders. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that having students do hands-on, environmental restoration helps create a new culture of environmental awareness, possibly a profound shift in values in the next generation,” said Kincade.

For more information on REI’s environmental stewardship efforts, visit REI.com/stewardship. For more information on the RON program, visit csumb.edu/ron.