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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.
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 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and student’s social and emotional development.
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.
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.
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.
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
Students stay in heated tent cabins at Curry 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 Curry 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.
For the 2024-2025 school year, site locations will include Yosemite Valley (Curry Village tents) and the National Environmental Science Center, also known as NESC (NatureBridge campus). NatureBridge aims to welcome students to our new campus in September 2024. If the campus is not ready to host, programming will continue at Crane Flat.
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.
|6-day, 5-night - Valley lodging
|5-day, 4-night - Valley lodging
|4-day, 3-night - Valley lodging
|3-day, 2-night - Valley lodging
|5-day, 4-night - Crane Flat lodging
|4-day, 3-night - Crane Flat lodging
|3-day, 2-night - Crane Flat lodging
Optional Program Additions
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. Please inquire about possible program additions upon booking, as there are limitations on our ability to offer certain programs for the 2023-2024 school year.
NatureBridge is committed to reaching students in all the communities we serve. Scholarships are awarded based on the free and reduced meal 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 reach out to Madeleine Patton.
Programs are offered year-round. For specific dates, please contact us.
NatureBridge at Yosemite
P.O. Box 487
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Alternative routes and directions to our NatureBridge campus (Crane Flat or the National Environmental Science Center) are available upon request