Stories from the Field

NatureBridge in the News: Outside Magazine

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Photo of Reed Schneider in Outside Magazine

An excerpt from the article “The National Parks 100.” “A lot of kids don’t understand that national parks are places where you can go camping and fishing and travel where nobody ever drives a car. Programs like NatureBridge allow them to see that the parks are their world. We’ve been operating in Yosemite since 1971, and educate some 13,000 kids a year, K through 12 students who come for five days. This fall we’ll finish the first phase of construction of a $56 million National Environmental Science Center. It makes a massive statement about the Park Service’s dedication to education. Technology is a big part of it. In outdoor programs, it’s always important to figure out how to incorporate what the students are using in their daily lives. We want kids to embrace the natural world, and if the way they do that is through taking pictures with their iPhones, great. At the new center, kids can upload their pictures of a fox or bear onto a big digital screen that serves as a mural for their time here. We have these digital microscopes that project via Bluetooth onto tablets, so one kid is zooming in on a bug or mineral while six others are sitting around a screen. Of course, there are times when technology is not appropriate. Ultimately, we are an outdoor school designed to maximize a kid’s experience. On the last day, a student should think, I’m going to bring my children here someday, so how do I make sure it’s even better for them?” —Reed Schneider, Director of Education, NatureBridge Yosemite

To read the full article, pick up the May issue of Outside Magazine at your local newsstand.

The National Environmental Science Center at Yosemite

In 2016, during the second century of the National Park Service, NatureBridge will bring more kids, in more places, to national parks. Our latest project, The National Environmental Science Center is an unprecedented project. It heralds a new era for science-based environmental education on a national scale by serving as a residential laboratory for modeling best practices and promoting innovation within the broader field of environmental education. This project is not a dream; it’s a declaration. It’s a resounding commitment to conservancy, an investment in hundreds of thousands of life-changing educational experiences and their cumulative impact on multiple generations of young people.

To become involved in this project, reach out to Kristina Rylands, Yosemite Director, at krylands@naturebridge.org or 209-379-9511 ext. 14.

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