About Us

We envision a society transformed by the positive impact of a new generation that understands, celebrates, and protects the natural world.

We are inclusive.
We create an equitable, welcoming, and empowering learning and working environment for all people.

It is what we believe in.
We have a responsibility to create an equitable and inclusive experience in national parks for all participants. We connect participants of all backgrounds to the natural world and to their related cultural histories through an experience that is welcoming and relevant to them.

The relevance of our work depends upon this.
NatureBridge must stay relevant to all audiences and meet the needs of communities we serve to achieve our educational goals. In order to best serve NatureBridge student participants, we must:

  • support improved access to national public lands
     
  • engage a more culturally diverse workforce that is representative of the students we serve
     
  • provide ongoing professional development on equity, inclusion, and diversity
     
  • offer educational programs that include a focus on the contributions of people representing all communities in our parks.

Our Focus
While there are many areas in which we are striving to become a more equitable and inclusive organization, we recognize that the field of environmental education faces specific challenges in meeting the needs of communities of color:

  • Environmental education providers are predominantly white and do not accurately reflect the communities we serve. By 2043, a majority of residents in the United States will be people of color. By 2020, a majority of youth in the United States will be youth of color (Green 2.0 Report.) We are actively working to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of our staff, with a targeted emphasis on our Environmental Science Educators. We believe that it is important that our students see themselves reflected in our education leaders and that our educators understand and are able to identify with the backgrounds of our students.
     
  • National park lands have not been perceived as welcoming by many communities of color (Carolyn Finney). We provide diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all NatureBridge Educators and hold our staff accountable for creating inclusive learning environments. Our goal is to provide programming that is culturally responsive. Our guiding pedagogy (outlined in our Core Educational Framework) is grounded in theory that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Our Staff

We strive to diversify our workforce
We strive to diversify our workforce and seek applications by individuals from all backgrounds, abilities, cultures, orientations, identities, and communities in order to better reflect and support the participants that we serve.

Educator Development Program

The Educator Development Program aims to increase representation of those who have had historical and systemic barriers to the field of outdoor education and consequently the workforce. It is designed to recruit staff who can effectively connect with our student communities.

We train our staff to be inclusive
We provide regular trainings to our education and administrative staff to increase our ability to provide culturally responsive programming and create a positive working environment.

Our educators are trained to support each student via teambuilding activities, collaborative group work, and curriculum that:

  • creates a safe and supportive environment;
  • fosters empathy between program participants;
  • highlights different perspectives;
  • and promotes transference to students’ home communities.

Internal Efforts
We are proud to support a diversity, equity, and inclusion working group that actively works towards yearly goals and benchmarks. This cross-departmental team is dedicated to furthering NatureBridge’s efforts to be a culturally responsive organization. Our dedicated Equity & Inclusion Coordinator, Miho Aida, leads our educational efforts.


 

Our Programs

Environmental Science | All campuses
NatureBridge’s Environmental Science curriculum incorporates multiple perspectives on humans’ relationship with the natural world that are meaningful to students of diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

In an effort to ensure access to our Environmental Science program to students that might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend, we offer tuition assistance to schools with high percentages of students that qualify for the federal free and reduced meals program. These needs-based scholarships are supported by fundraising efforts.

 

PROGRAM SPOTLIGHTS

WildLink | Yosemite National Park

As an innovative partnership between NatureBridge and the National Park Service in Yosemite, WildLink engages underserved high school students from California in wilderness and public lands.

 

TEEM | Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Teen Environmental Education Mentorship (TEEM) is a paid environmental education internship and leadership program for San Francisco and Marin high school students. In the 2015-16 school year, 72% of participants qualified for free or reduced lunch.

 

RECENT BLOGS 

2017 Annual Gala Keynote Speaker: The Notorious Betty Reid Soskin

Interview with Miho Aida, NatureBridge’s Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

The Parks Project | Interview with NatureBridge Educator Diana Lopez


 

Thoughts about NatureBridge’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts? Email our National Education Manager, Estrella Risinger, at erisinger@naturebridge.org.

A Proud Partner of the National Park Service