Gabriela Contreras's picture
2018 Student of the Year: Marisa Granados
Gabriela Contreras
March 14, 2018 - 11:12am
 
 
 
 
One important component of NatureBridge programs is to inspire a calling for environmental stewardship in our participants. Whether that be through the development of a personal connection to nature or to each other, our goal is to motivate our students to be changemakers in their communities.
 
Each year, NatureBridge honors a student who has demonstrated leadership, growth, and a commitment to protecting our natural world as a result of a NatureBridge program. 
 
The Student of the Year receives an all-expenses paid trip to our annual Gala, and outdoor adventure gear from NatureBridge partners Patagonia, The North Face, and Klean Kanteen. This year’s honoree will be recognized at An Evening with NatureBridge on Thursday, May 17 in San Francisco, CA.
 
We are elated to announce our 2018 Student of the Year, high school senior Marisa Granados.
 
 
2018 STUDENT OF THE YEAR 
 
 
Marisa Granados is a senior at Bosque School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Through the NatureBridge Summer Backpacking and environmental science programs in Olympic National Park, Marisa discovered her passion for protecting the natural world. With the support of the U.S. Forest Service, Marisa is developing a handbook and curriculum for middle school students to learn and apply environmental stewardship effectively. Marisa hopes to pursue a career in environmental engineering and outdoor education.
 
Marisa first came to attend NatureBridge in Olympic National Park with her school. Initially on track to pursue an architecture career, Marisa’s immersion in nature during her trip made her realize the crucial role that nature played in her life. Marisa returned home with a new calling, one that consisted of playing a role as a spokesperson for the environment. 
 
Inspired by her first experience with NatureBridge, Marisa embarked on a 14-day NatureBridge Summer Field Research Course in 2017 that helped her redefine her confidence in her ability to survive, thrive, and make a difference:
 
Before I had the opportunity to travel to Olympic National Park, I had begun to feel discouraged about the impact I really could make in the world.
 
Through my NatureBridge experiences, and in particular because of my educators, I was able to gain the confidence to speak up about what I wanted to do with my life. By gaining a stronger relationship with nature and discovering a deeper part of myself, I now see the influence of my actions and the amount of power that I have in creating change.
 
My educator Dee would always tell the students in my group, “Don’t forget to look up!” My takeaway was not only to look around at the beautiful scenery surrounding us as we were hiking, but also to not forget about the grand scheme of life everyday.
 
This has really helped me to take a step back when things are getting stressful in my life, especially now as I tackle the college application process, and eventually attend college.  
 
Because of the meaning my NatureBridge experiences have given to me, I have the courage to step up and change the path of my own future, I have gained the courage I need to make a difference in the world, and I have learned to always look up, no matter the situation.
 
All of this has shown me that I am unstoppable, and that I have a purpose to be an ally for our environment and for future generations.
 
 
This year, we received a number of incredible applicants for our Student of the Year. Read more about our honorable mentions and how their NatureBridge experience impacted them.