Students & educators stand with arms extended into a circle.
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Improving Access for All

Equity & Inclusion

Everyone has the right to explore and play in the outdoors; experience joy and connections; and discover their public lands, but not all kids have the opportunity. At NatureBridge, we work to increase access to our parks and we strive to create an experience that is inclusive and culturally relevant to all participants. 

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Scholarships

Funded by donors, our scholarship fund provides need-based support to students and schools that lack the economic opportunity to participate in NatureBridge programs. Many of these students would not be able to explore our national parks without financial support. In the 2017-2018 school year, we awarded over $1.4 million in scholarships that reached 46% of our student body.

And we can do more. To further close the equity gap in our parks, we will:

  1. Focus our outreach to new schools, or those for whom access is limited due to resource constraints.
  2. Increase the total funds available for scholarships by 50 percent by 2021.
Two Project Pluton students explore the winter forest on Henness Ridge in Yosemite National Park.
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A more diverse

Workforce

When students see themselves reflected in their educators, connections are more easily formed. They learn better. This has a lasting impact on youth, especially those who had little, if any, access to the outdoors - they come to understand that these parks are theirs and they feel empowered to explore and protect them.

This is why at NatureBridge, we put our efforts in recruiting and hiring workforce that closes the gap separating students and educators. Our Educator Development Program is dedicated to train and hire educators who have had historical and systemic barriers to the field of outdoor education and consequently the workforce. 

Through our continual staff training, we are working to build welcoming and inclusive programs for all audiences to discover and learn in their national parks.

When students have educators who look like them or share similar life experiences, it creates an avenue to forge a deeper connection with our educators which allows them to develop deeper connections with nature.
Diana Lopez, Senior Educator
Meet

Miho Aida

What I deeply care about the most in this world is summarized in 5 Es: environment, education, empathy, equity and empowerment. Since 2000 when I started my career as an environmental educator at NatureBridge, my life has been dedicated to increasing the visibility and access of those from marginalized communities to our parks, environmental education and its workforce.

My role as the Equity and Inclusion Manager is to orchestrate NatureBridge-wide efforts to improve the organization’s cultural relevancy and ability to serve a diverse range of our audiences and employees.

—Miho Aida, Equity & Inclusion Manager

Miho Aida
Photo by Gabrielle Lurie
Increase Access to Our Parks