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One of the many joys we get to experience at NatureBridge is the frequent return of supporters and friends who have had a lasting impact on students as well as our staff. Such is the case with Maryhien Pham, an eighth grade teacher at Lawson Middle School in Northern California who has been bringing students to our Yosemite campus for 10 years. In fact, Ms. Pham was the sixth grade teacher of one of our current Environmental Science Educators in Yosemite, Linnea Pierson, with whom Ms. Pham regularly reconnects during her visits to our campus.
Although Ms. Pham does not consider herself an “outdoors person,” that doesn’t stop her from taking her students on their annual trip to Yosemite. The joy of learning something new, the community building with her students and seeing students’ personal growth during and after their NatureBridge programs all make the journey worthwhile to her. “Every student has at least one positive breakthrough by the end of the week,” Ms. Pham recounted to us.
“I am grateful that our NatureBridge educators have shown such a dedication to and passion for outdoor education, with an ability to connect with each and every individual and positively impact students’ lives.”Maryhien Pham, Teacher
Ms. Pham was first introduced to NatureBridge in 2005 (formerly Yosemite Institute) and she is grateful that her school district continues to see the value and opportunities overnight outdoor education provides their students. “They are challenged physically, mentally, emotionally and persevere building lifelong memories, friendships and skills,” she affirms.
But it is not just the students who make lasting memories! Teachers, administrators and chaperones are often just as impacted as their students by the sweeping majesty of the national parks. Some of Ms. Pham’s most memorable experiences include taking in sweeping views of Yosemite Valley after seeing Lower Yosemite Falls at Oh My Gosh Point, hearing The Lorax by Dr. Seuss read aloud in Tuolumne Grove surrounded by giant sequoias, and the laughs and camaraderie with her colleagues before making the trip home.