The McConnell Foundation is working with NatureBridge on a spring 2022 program and is hopeful it will proceed Sunday, April 3 through Friday, April 8.
High school students who were part of the canceled 2020 trip and can meet the program requirements below are invited to participate. As space opens up, juniors may also be recommended for participation on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Students must be mature and respectful of authority; able to take direction and comply with rules.
- Students must be able to conduct themselves responsibly and cooperatively when not in the presence of an adult.
- Students must be physically able to participate in activities that vary in difficulty from strenuous hikes and/or vertical climbing to leisurely walks.
- Students are willing to perform 8 hours of community service related to the environment.
- All participants (students, school staff, chaperones, and visitors to the program) must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Fully vaccinated is defined as more than 14 days have passed since the second shot of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines was administered or 14 days after a single Johnson & Johnson shot has been administered.
- Proof of vaccination, in the form of a valid vaccination card, must be submitted directly to the Group Coordinator and then submitted to NatureBridge.
- All participants must have a negative COVID test result within 72 hours prior to arrival.
- A NAAT (PCR) test must be conducted 72 hours prior to arrival. Antigen tests (rapid tests) are also acceptable and must be conducted within 24 hours of arrival. (The Redding Rancheria Tribal Health Center will do the rapid test for our group on Saturday, April 2, at The McConnell Foundation.)
- Results of the tests must be available prior to entry into the NatureBridge program.
- Masks will be required for vaccinated participants indoors and under certain circumstances outdoors.
- NatureBridge also follows the US Public Health recommendation that all participants self-quarantine or limit their public exposure for 14 days before the scheduled program. (With testing prior to arrival, please remember this is just a recommendation.)
NatureBridge in Yosemite is a five-day outdoor environmental education program that The McConnell Foundation offers to North State students. NatureBridge is a nonprofit organization that has provided environmental education in partnership with the National Park Service since 1971. In addition to Yosemite, NatureBridge offers programs in Olympic Park, Washington; Headlands Institute at Marin Headlands in the Bay Area; and Santa Monica Mountains Institute in Southern California.
In 1989, The McConnell Foundation began funding theYosemite Program for students in the North State. Each spring, high school sophomores and juniors from public high schools and public charter schools in Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity counties, and Big Valley High School in Lassen County spend a transformative week in Yosemite. Groups of students, led by NatureBridge field instructors, explore the park and participate in discussions and activities designed to heighten awareness of the importance of our natural world. Keeping this goal in mind, curriculum taught during the week aligns with state and federal standards.
The Foundation provides full funding for student tuition, transportation, and administration. Adult chaperones from the schools served accompany students on the trip. Students who participate in the program are selected by Yosemite Advisors at each high school. Once selected, participants must complete 8 hours of community service related to the environment in order to secure their spot. In past years students have volunteered at organizations such as the Shasta County Wildlife Refuge, Whiskeytown Environmental School, the Upper Sacramento River Exchange, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and the Department of Fish & Game. They have also cleaned up roadways and started recycling programs in their schools. The goal of the community service requirement is to connect students their community and the earth.
The goal of the program is to inspire students to develop a connection to the natural world and empower them to act as responsible stewards of natural resources.