Students in Yosemite
Yosemite

School & Group Environmental Science

Discover Your Outdoor Classroom
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Location
Yosemite
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Grades
4-12

Our overnight environmental science programs in Yosemite National Park offer students the opportunity to engage in inclusive, hands-on learning experiences in one of the world's most iconic national parks. Students explore the deep valleys, grand meadows, and sequoia forests, while challenging themselves physically, building meaningful relationships and discovering a caring relationship with the natural world. We collaborate with each school or group to ensure their program experience meets their educational goals.

Our Program

Sample Day & Activities

Morning: Gather in the dining hall for breakfast, pack backpacks and prepare for the day.

Instructional Day on Trail: Spend the day in small learning groups led by a professional NatureBridge educator. Students engage in collaborative, authentic scientific learning experiences in a safe and supportive environment. These experiences are designed to support NGSS and student’s social and emotional development.

Sample Activities

  • Hike along the path of a waterfall and learn about glaciation.
  • Study ecological relationships from the perspective of a 2,000-year-old giant sequoia tree.
  • Discover winter adaptations of plants and animals while cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in high Sierra meadows.
  • Participate in National Park Service research projects such as macroinvertebrate biomonitoring and conifer removal.

Afternoon/Early Evening: Return to campus to reflect, relax and unwind while school chaperones supervise. Dinner in the dining hall gives everyone a chance to share their trail stories.

Evening: NatureBridge educators facilitate evening programs that could include a short night hike, a town-hall style debate about the Hetch Hetchy Dam or see a presentation about black bears. Students then return to the tent cabins or dorms and get ready for bed.

Students in Yosemite observe the local ecosystem

Areas of Study

Life Science & Ecology: Practice the skills of an ecologist, discover the organisms that call this landscape home and learn how they interact and adapt to their changing environment.

Watershed Studies: Yosemite Valley offers an incredible laboratory to learn about watersheds as students hike to waterfalls, assess water quality above and below confluences and learn about how this watershed impacts the health of California’s agriculture.

Earth Science & Geology: Investigate how Yosemite’s picturesque rock formations came to be, how erosion changed them over time and what could happen next.

Cultural History: Explore the rich cultural history of American Indians, settlers and conservationists of the region and their ongoing legacy in Yosemite National Park.

Current Environmental Issues: Natural processes are constantly at work in Yosemite. Learn about climate change, what it is, how it affects Yosemite and how science helps us understand its impact on our environment.  

Fire Ecology: Our Fire Ecology Project offers the background, investigations and NGSS-based curriculum to help students better understand fire’s role in the landscape and the forces that influence it.

Our Educators

NatureBridge environmental science educators bring our programs to life. Our skilled and passionate educators provide inclusive and culturally responsive programming that challenges students to step out of their comfort zones and connect to themselves and one another. Our staff have a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent work and training experience, cleared background checks and are certified to manage risk in the field. 

The energy and passion our educators have for engaging with youth and the natural world is a vital element of our success. 

Outcomes

Connect to SCIENCE + NATURE +  SELF AND OTHERS: Students experience personal growth, build interpersonal skills, gain science knowledge, strengthen critical thinking skills and learn to act as environmental stewards. NatureBridge strives to create an impactful and lasting educational program for every student.

My students were awed by the natural beauty of Yosemite and our NatureBridge educators. They brought them to new, exciting, challenging and quiet experiences that connected their hearts to the environment and each other.
Elisa Cortina, Teacher at Mariposa School
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Our Campus

Lodging

Students stay in heated tent cabins at Half Dome Village in Yosemite Valley and dorm-style lodging in NatureBridge’s own facility at Crane Flat located off on HWY 120 on the north side of the park. Participants will have linens and towels available to them at Half Dome Village, but it is advised to bring a sleeping bag. At Crane Flat, participants will need to bring pillows, sleeping bag, and towels, as these are not provided at the campus. View campus photos below and learn more by reviewing our Lodging FAQ.

Dining

NatureBridge strives to provide healthy food appropriate for high-activity days. Snacks and meals are kid-friendly and also enjoyable for adults on program. Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining hall, which is shared with all schools on campus. Lunch is served on trail during the hiking day. Most dietary restrictions, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free can be accommodated. Learn more by reviewing our Food Allergy FAQ.

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Rates and Availability

Program Rates (9/1/19-8/31/20) Student Pricing Teacher/Chaperone Pricing
6 days/5 nights (Sunday-Friday) $560 $530
5 days/4 nights (Monday-Friday) $510 $480
4 days/3 nights (Sunday-Wednesday) $460 $430
3 days/2 nights (Monday-Wednesday; Wednesday-Friday) $315 $310
1 day, no overnight (Mondays; limited Fridays) $46 $46
6 days/5 nights with backpacking (Sunday-Friday) $640 $610
5 days/4 nights with backpacking (Monday-Friday) $570 $540

Groups may opt to add one or more optional program additions such as day-trips, arrival day instruction, or backpacking experiences. Additional fees will apply.

NatureBridge Scholarships
NatureBridge is committed to reaching students in all the communities we serve. Scholarships are awarded based on the free and reduced lunch rate of a school (or private-school equivalent) and/or other supplemental information to support need. If you believe your school or group may qualify for a scholarship, please fill out and submit a scholarship application form to Madeleine Patton or fax it to 209-379-9510.

Fundraising Ideas

Programs are offered year-round.  For specific dates, please contact us

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Prepare for Your Trip

Students, Families & Chaperones

Teachers and Group Coordinators

Visit your planning page

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Request Info

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Where to

Find Us

NatureBridge at Yosemite
P.O. Box 487
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

209-379-9511 
yosemite@naturebridge.org 

Bay Area to Crane Flat driving directions

LA to Crane Flat driving directions

Start planning your trip to NatureBridge today!