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As a child growing up in Northern California, Corinne Dedini would travel frequently with her family to their forest service cabin in Stanislaus National Forest. Along the way, young Corinne would see signs directing travelers to Yosemite National Park, and she remembers asking “Mom, what’s Yosemite?” And her mother would reply that it was “just like our little cabin” in Stanislaus.
Now an adult, Corinne is thrilled to have the opportunity to discover the marvels of Yosemite National Park (which is just a little different from her childhood cabin!). And as the new Campus Director for NatureBridge Yosemite, Corinne is incredibly excited to “see [the park] through the eyes of kids.”
Seeing the world through the eyes of students is nothing new for Corinne. Before arriving at NatureBridge, she worked in schools for 25 years, serving as both a science teacher and a high school principal. Most recently, she served as administrator of an online high school for the past decade. Corinne also brings with her an extensive background in environmental education from her time working with a Northern California summer camp, where she now serves as board chair.
I feel like [my new role at NatureBridge] is the intersection of everything I've been doing in my career...I love getting kids out of their comfort zone and seeing the world differently. The pieces all come together here in a way that's really meaningful for me.Corinne Dedini, Campus Director for Yosemite
Corinne started working with NatureBridge on a part-time basis in January 2023, and she officially began as Campus Director for Yosemite at the beginning of March. She has immense gratitude for the wisdom and guidance that two former Yosemite campus directors, Jen Latham and Kristina Rylands, have offered to her as she begins her tenure at NatureBridge. “What a huge gift it is that I get to overlap with Jen,” Corinne says. “We both get to work together so I can learn a lot from her. And Kristina Rylands, the previous campus director, is still in the area. I have a lot of support to get up and going.”
When asked how her first few months at Yosemite have gone, Corinne immediately replies “It’s not dull—it’s very exciting!” Even as severe weather and flooding have forced the temporary closure of the park and impacted NatureBridge’s programming this spring, Corinne acknowledges that the resilience of the Yosemite team and the brightness of the future keep her optimistic. “My short term goal is to understand the past so that I can manage the present and prepare for the future,” she says. “The Yosemite campus is definitely still reemerging from the pandemic, and in the short term [my goal is to] just continue through that reemergence. Long term, building relationships is my number one goal. Thinking about how we center our values around science, creating some stability for the staff and building a longer term plan around our values.”
Please join all of us at NatureBridge in welcoming Corinne! And if you’re visiting Yosemite, please stop by the NatureBridge building and say hello—Corinne would love to meet you and show you around!
Photos courtesy of Corinne Dedini