The McConnell Foundation is pleased to be planning the 2024 NatureBridge in Yosemite Program without COVID-19 constraints. The trip is scheduled for April 7-12, 2024, and is fully funded and coordinated by The McConnell Foundation, in partnership with North State public and charter high schools. The cost to selected students is 8 hours of community service related to the environment. There is no cost to school chaperones. To learn more about the program, visit NatureBridge Yosemite
- Now through October 31 – Students who were selected to participate in the 2023 program, which was canceled due to historic storms in Yosemite, can reserve a spot in the 2024 program by completing the Student Information Form
- November 1-20 – Student Application and Chaperone Application open
- Early December – Student applications out to school advisors for evaluation and selection
- Late December – Selected students and chaperones notified
- Early January – Student Information Packet and required forms mailed home
- February 20 – Required forms due back to The McConnell Foundation
- February 20 – NatureBridge Registration Form completed online
- March 1 – Community Service Verification Form due to The McConnell Foundation
- March 5 – Chaperone Orientation in-person at The McConnell Foundation
- March 5 – Student and Parent Orientation via Zoom
- April 7 – Leave for Yosemite National Park
- April 12 – Return from Yosemite National Park
The timeline is subject to change. Participants should check their email for updates.
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 the Yosemite 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 educators, 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.