Stories from the Field

Winter Wonderland at NatureBridge

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The first week of February delivered a round of winter weather that heavily impacted our campuses at both Olympic and Yosemite National Parks. Despite being dealt a mix of wintery travel conditions, lodging closures and hurdles regarding food delivery, our dedicated NatureBridge staff at both Yosemite and Olympic National Parks have been hard at work making modifications that enable programs to continue.

Olympic National Park

Last month’s storm came just as educators at our Olympic campus were gearing up to welcome back program participants. Though the weather added several challenges, it provided a great opportunity for staff team building as well as a chance to display snow sculpture-making talents!

Most importantly, it didn’t stop our leaders from hosting a large group of Miramonte High School students for the overnight environmental science program. In addition to exploring the Elwha River and paddling Salish-style canoes on Lake Crescent, students went snowshoeing through the forest trails to Marymere Falls - a rare opportunity granted by the recent storms.

Yosemite National Park

Our NatureBridge campus at Yosemite also enjoyed some exciting weather early last month. According to the Yosemite blog of the National Park Service, the area was blanketed with 97 inches of fresh snow in just five days. This storm, unfortunately, led us to close our tent cabin accommodations at Half Dome Village in the Yosemite Valley. 

The good news is that NatureBridge is fortunate enough to have incredibly flexible staff members who are accustomed to adapting to the changing weather. Shortly after the storm, new lodging headquarters were established at the Yosemite Valley Lodge as well as the historic Big Trees Lodge, formerly known as the Wawona Hotel.

At present, our Yosemite team continues to welcome students and teachers to our Environmental Science program so that young people can enjoy the transformative NatureBridge experience in the wind, rain or snow!

In the event of more winter weather in the coming weeks, Director of Risk Management Jeff Crow and our Olympic staff are equipped and ready to work with schools to ensure safety and a unique snowy NatureBridge experience.

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