Stories from the Field

Student Stories: Southern California

Combined Shape Copy Created with Sketch.
The Santa Monica Mountains

The  Spring season at our NatureBridge SoCal campus is in full swing with students coming from all over the state to experience the Santa Monica Mountains in their full glory.   

The warmth of the sun, the majestic mountain backdrop with a sneak peek of the Pacific Ocean set the tone for the week, welcoming our students  to the mountains. In order for our students to settle into their home away from home, there needs to be a connection, a collection of positive experiences and a sense of community in that new place.  

Our first student story is from Selma, a student who came on a NatureBridge trip last spring. She shared what she learned during her trip and what connection means to her.  The result was a serious celebration of synapses.

Student Storybook: Welcome Home #

I think connection means to feel passion for something.  As humans, we can grow passion for anything, we can create a sense of love and interest for any subject, topic, or material and during this camp I think we’ve learned to have some sort of interest and passion for nature because we’ve learned and experienced so much of it.  By feeling this passion, we involuntarily form a connection to the outdoors whether it be a new love for the act of hiking or for the spark of interest brought forth from a small caterpillar inching across your hand; everyone has felt some sort of awe and joy triggered from an event on this trip.

I think I’ve learned to have a strong connection to myself on this trip.
Selma, NatureBridge student

I feel like lately because of the pressure and anxiety brought forth by school I haven’t had time to indulge in the things I actually love doing.  I feel this week has reminded me that the love and overall excitement for hiking is such a more fulfilling activity than completing a full television series as quickly as possible.  I’ve re-discovered my real passions, my hobbies that make me unique. 

I know as I get older how much easier it will be to go back to easier habits but I must be persistent and continue to remind myself, I don’t love nature because it’s easy.

I love nature because it makes me feel whole, like I belong to something bigger than temporary grades.  I love nature because it is always changing, it will always accommodate any needs and unlike average life it always contains something new and brilliant worth seeing.

No matter how hard and challenging it may be to get to the final destination, the journey will never fail to leave you feeling satisfied in the most fulfilling way possible.  

This trip has given me a reminder, to always have the fire of my passion for the outdoors be lit and never falter, because it’s our loves and interests that make us unique and I know everyone, at least during this trip, has felt that wonderful feeling of being connected to something bigger than themselves.  I can’t hold anything but gratitude for NatureBridge for opening everyone’s mind to this passionate connection to the wilderness we’ve developed during these last few days. 

Thank you, Sara, for really passing on your own love and sharing it with all of us.

NatureBridge students in the Santa Monica Mountains

This journal entry is written proof of the impact natural places and nurturing NatureBridge educators have on participants.  Although we may not all express our gratitude the same way, a positive memory of a once scary place can go a long way in positively influencing our students' lives and their connection between natural spaces and their home communities. 

Whether it’s the feeling of accomplishment after a challenge hike or team-building activity, or realizing a connection between pH and Dissolved CO2, this experience has lasting effects on the wonderful humans we are all here to serve.

With Love, 

NatureBridge SoCal

Check out these other