Environmental science in nature’s classroom
NatureBridge provides hands-on environmental science programs for children and teens. Our multi-day programs take place outdoors in the magnificence of nature’s classroom, where students are immersed in the wonder and science of our national parks in Yosemite, Golden Gate, Olympic, Santa Monica Mountains, Channel Islands, and Prince William Forest. Founded as Yosemite Institute in 1971, today NatureBridge welcomes more than 700 schools and 30,000 students and teachers annually to our six campuses. After more than 40 years of teaching and inspiring students, NatureBridge has provided life-changing experiences for more than one million participants and is a national leader in the field of environmental education.
Providing access for all students
NatureBridge environmental science programs are inclusive. We work intentionally to bring students from underserved communities to our programs and to offer culturally relevant and transformative experiences in our national parks. Almost 50% of our participating schools receive scholarship support and more than 30% of our students are from underrepresented communities. The NatureBridge business model is fueled by a powerful combination of earned and contributed revenue. More than 70% of our revenue comes from the tuition associated with our environmental science programs and the remaining 30% comes from donations. As a 501(c)(3) we rely on generous donations to advance our mission, to provide scholarships, and to support new curricula development and program extensions into classrooms.
Making an impact
Our staff of environmental science educators is at the core of our organization. Working with small groups of elementary, middle, and high school students, our educators bring science to life in national parks through engaging environmental science lessons paired with walks, hikes, scrambles, explorations, and overnight backcountry expeditions to the best spots in each park. Our educators bring diverse backgrounds to NatureBridge, including advanced degrees in science and education, experience with scientific research, classroom teaching, wilderness expeditionary leadership, outdoor education, and a wide range of other professions. Our educators’ skills and backgrounds, combined with the magnificent settings of our national park campuses, have strong impacts on the students we serve.
Our accomplishments include:
- More than one million NatureBridge alumni
- 47-year partnership with the National Park Service
- The initiation of a major $56M capital campaign to enable the construction of the National Environmental Science Center in Yosemite National Park (Phase 1 opening October 2018)
- Implementation of a 33-month grant from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to explore the intersection between social and emotional learning and environmental education