I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, This is what it is to be happy.
As our world continues to show signs of degradation, its our duty and privilege to educate and innovate so that we can save and preserve this glorious earth we inhabit. This April for Earth Month, we’d like to highlight an organization that not only helps with conservation but also equips future generations by educating and involving them in the restoration of this planet of ours. This organization is more than a non-profit, it’s changing the lives of students and teachers in underprivileged communities and that is something to celebrate and support!
Not only do they grant scholarships to schools, they also arm today’s youth with the knowledge and resources to keep our planet healthy and thriving. Give the gift of wonder, science and nature … Learn more about the organization below.
Something I learned today that has changed me (and will change me) is that nature really is incredible. There are lots of shows and books and movies that try to tell us this but nothing compares to the real thing. I also learned that this beautiful nature is disappearing and we need to protect it or it really will disappear. I also learned that everything in nature is connected.– 5th Grade Student, Seattle, WA
I look through the pile of rocks to see the dark cavern. Streams of water connect into a small pond. Animals swim in and out of the rocks. Insects dance on the small pond. I feel free. I feel amazing. – 6th grade student, Los Angeles, CA My trip to Yosemite was most definitely life changing. I learned so much about not only the beauty of the valley, but also about myself. I realized I love walking, which I thought I would hate and that all of the mountains speak to me. Its amazing how old and beautiful Yosemite is and I have learned that I still have a lot to learn about myself and the rest of the world. – 8th Grade Student, Cupertino, CA For my students this experience will be the one they remember when reflecting on their middle school years. For some it will be life changing and lead to a career. For others it will be the coolest thing they did in middle school. For all of them, whether they realize it or not, it will be the time when they found out that when something is difficult and maybe seems out of their reach, they have it inside themselves to succeed.
Middle School Teacher, Napa, CA
At NatureBridge, we believe environmental science education should be a part of every child’s life. We open children’s minds to the wonder and science of nature and ignite in them the courage to take action and to make the world a healthier place.
National Parks—Yosemite, Golden Gate, Olympic, Santa Monica Mountains, Channel Islands, and Prince William Forest—these are our classrooms. We are the National Park Service’s largest partner in residential environmental education. Over the course of our 44-year partnership, our programs have reached more than one million students and teachers, changing lives along the way. NatureBridge provides programs in some of the most stunning places on the planet and reaches more than 30,000 students and teachers each year.
We offer more than an outdoor classroom. Through inquiry-based environmental science education, our students build critical thinking skills, knowledge, and self esteem. Students are challenged to see their world in a new way. They conduct scientific research that drives more informed choices and gives them a stronger understanding of our interconnections with the natural world. At NatureBridge, children from all backgrounds learn that the world is larger than themselves and that they are powerful enough to change it. We inspire future leaders and the stewards of tomorrow.
We do more than teach. We reach. By providing scholarships to more than 35% of our schools, we are able to reach many students from underserved communities. We adapt our programs and our curriculato fit every student’s needs, abilities, and background. Every child is engaged and involved. No one is left out. And we work with teachers so lessons learned outdoors will continue in the classroom and back home in students’ communities.
And we are built to last. Powered by a combination of earned revenue and philanthropic support, we are highly sustainable and adaptable. We are committed to growing and improving residential environmental education for America’s youth. In 2012, we opened our first campus in the East at Prince William Forest Park in Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C. To help make environmental education a national priority, we collaborate with like-minded organizations, academics and funders to develop a vision for the future through the ChangeScale (changescale.org).
NatureBridge inspired me. I want to be a scientist when I grow up. I learned we should plant more trees because they take carbon dioxide out of the air. You should not walk on the edge of trails because that will make bigger trails. Bigger trails take up more habitat. You can make the world a better place. – 5th grade student, North Bend, WA As a result of this program, students who have never spent time outdoors and may have never left their neighborhood are now endowed with a love for nature, a passion for protecting the wilderness and improving their own underserved communities and the firm belief that they can make a difference.– Parent Chaperone, Houston, TX
FOR OUR STUDENTS, OUR COMMUNITIES, AND THE PLANET
We must do more to prepare our kids to address the environmental challenges we face and for success in the workforce and the economy of tomorrow.
Environmental science education is more important now than ever before. With the world’s changing climate, threats to our plants and animals and the wild places they live, declines in civic engagement and science in the classroom, and a generation bound only to textbooks and technology—NatureBridge’s mission has never been more urgent.
COMMITTED TO GROWTH AND DIVERSITY
We continue to establish NatureBridge programs in more national parks, to reach more students, and to serve more people from underserved and under-resourced communities.
We are committed to serving a diverse group of people from all economic, social, and ethnic groups. Everyone must feel welcome in our national parks, and everyone must see their own heritage reflected in the stories and meanings interpreted by our faculty. We’ll continue to expand our reach by building on a curriculum that is relevant to diverse audiences, and by providing more need-based scholarships.
We connect today’s children to nature, so that tomorrow’s adults will be passionate stewards for the natural world. Our future depends on it. Will you join us?
Visit us at naturebridge.org, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 415-992-4700 to learn more about NatureBridge and to find out how you can get involved.