About Us

We envision a world where every student learns about the science of nature, is inspired by its beauty, and is motivated to take action to protect the natural world.

What We Teach

Fostering environmental literacy to sustain our planet is our mission, and our classrooms are the valleys of Yosemite, the coastal hills of Golden Gate, the watersheds of Olympic, the peaks of Santa Monica Mountains, the hundreds of unique species of the Channel Islands, and the piedmont forest of Prince William Forest. NatureBridge programs focus on critical-thinking skills, hands-on scientific research, and inquiry-based learning. During our programs, students may participate in stewardship projects such as habitat restoration or litter removal. We recognize that environmental literacy requires more than scientific knowledge, and NatureBridge programs build self-esteem, confidence, and empower young people to make a difference.

There are three central themes in NatureBridge’s Core Educational Framework:

  • Sense of place: Students learn about the natural and cultural features of the parks to develop an awareness of place which is fundamental to fostering physical and emotional safety, and to understanding humans and their interactions with the environment.
  • Interconnections: Students learn a wide range of scientific, cultural, and social topics to begin to understand that all physical and cultural aspects of places are interrelated—change in any one part of a region or system also impacts other components.
  • Stewardship: Through service or stewardship activities, students learn to identify the need for humans to take responsibility for their actions and are inspired to care for their environment and their communities.

 

We develop next generation scientists

On every NatureBridge program, our aim is to provide high-quality academic instruction in a supportive educational environment. Our environmental science program supports skill development central to both Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). During their NatureBridge program, students conduct their own science investigations, participate in data collection, and engage in discussions around open-ended questions.

Common Core State Standards Next Generation Science Standards
NatureBridge programs support the development of the following skills: Specifically, our programs support the following NGSS Science Practices:
  • Critical-thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Analysis
  • Discourse
  • Evidence-based reasoning
  • Asking questions
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Constructing explanations

Environmental science education is an essential element of NGSS implementation. In addition to focusing on skill development through the Science Practices, thematic teaching is a cornerstone of NatureBridge pedagogy and aligns naturally with NGSS Crosscutting Concepts. Through place-based science investigations, students explore concepts such as patterns, cause and effect, systems, and more. This approach helps students to deepen their environmental literacy and develop their knowledge of science content. Grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas are incorporated into NatureBridge instruction through exploration of the Science Practices and Crosscutting Concepts.

At NatureBridge, we believe it is important for people to learn and talk about global climate change. Our programs develop participants’ environmental and science literacy, as well as the critical thinking skills necessary to assess the constantly emerging evidence, theories, and perspectives related to this complex subject.

Custom programming
NatureBridge recognizes that every school’s curriculum support needs are different. We are happy to partner with schools in varying stages of NGSS adoption; please contact the campus you are interested in to discuss ways to best support your school and customize your NatureBridge program.

 

Social and emotional learning

NatureBridge programs emphasize personal growth and interpersonal skills. Students spend their days working in small learning groups with a skilled environmental science educator. Through reflection, team building activities, and group challenges, students develop stronger social awareness and learn techniques in self-management. Our educators make learning engaging and meaningful. NatureBridge’s curriculum also incorporates multicultural perspectives on humans’ relationship with the natural world that are meaningful to students of diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

In recognition of our efforts to support students’ social and emotional development in our environmental science program, NatureBridge was recently selected as a grantee amongst leading youth development organizations considered by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to be a part of its Character Development Initiative. NatureBridge is honored to have been selected amongst twelve youth development organizations with national reach to better support young people by strengthening adult practice through training and professional development opportunities. Included in the cohort are such leading institutions as YMCA of the USA, Outward Bound, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Roughly 48% of our nation’s youth will come into contact with one of these organizations over the course their K-12 career; together, we have tremendous potential to influence and support their development. At NatureBridge, grant funds will catalyze our focus on social and emotional learning, building on our existing strengths to develop organization-wide systems for staff training, support, and accountability. We seek to identify preferred outcomes for social and emotional learning in residential informal educational settings, ultimately leading to greater program impact across the field of environmental education.

 

A Proud Partner of the National Park Service