Thriving California is a major new Academy initiative that will harness scientific data and mobilize diverse communities to fight climate change, stop biodiversity loss, and advocate for nature in the Golden State.

California is at the very heart of the Academy. We are the oldest science institution in the American West, established to understand and celebrate the state’s stunning natural diversity. At the same time, California is also on the front lines of the ecological crisis, with many of the state’s species and habitats threatened by rising temperatures and record-breaking wildfires.

Through three pathways—biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement—we will investigate the past, monitor the present, and create a future where healthy, resilient human and natural communities thrive together.

Orange sea star against white background

Regeneration in action

Since 2016, Californians have been able to combine a summer day at the beach with a biodiversity expedition. Snapshot Cal Coast is the Academy’s annual statewide community science effort to document animal and plant species along the California coast using the iNaturalist app. The data collected is helping to inform marine protected area (MPA) management and contribute to our understanding of how species ranges are changing along our coast.

Hands holding a box of pinned ant specimens

Biodiversity science

By leveraging the Academy’s vast scientific collection of California flora and fauna, we will develop a deeper understanding of our state’s dynamic natural history. By engaging individuals to contribute to community science projects and building a digital tool to foster data-driven conservation planning across the state, we seek to chart a course toward a regenerative future.

2 students use a digging tool to collect sand crabs at the beach

Environmental learning

We will galvanize a movement in California aimed at providing equitable access to environmental and science learning, inspiring a love of nature, and supporting diverse environmental leadership. We seek to close the science education gap by providing every K-12 student and teacher in California the opportunity to engage their head, heart, and hands in understanding, caring about, and acting on behalf of their local environment.

2 smiling high school students display a specimen on a rocky tidepool

Collaborative engagement

From active collaboration with natural resource agencies and local school districts to joining the state’s newly created California Biodiversity Network, developing deep and ongoing collaborative partnerships now and in the future will make it possible for Thriving California to enhance environmental learning and inform decision-making within the state and beyond.