Yosemite Program Information

The McConnell Foundation is pleased to be planning the 2023 NatureBridge in Yosemite Program.  This program, scheduled for April 2-7, 2023, is fully funded and coordinated by The McConnell Foundation in partnership with North State public and charter high schools.  Applications will be accepted November 1-30, 2022.

This program is offered to students who:

  • are in their sophomore or junior year at a public high school, public continuation school, or public charter school in Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Tehama Counties, and Big Valley High School in Lassen County
  • are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; no exceptions
  • are a first-time participant in the Yosemite Program
  • enjoy the outdoors
  • like making new friends and meeting new people
  • are adventurous and open to learning outside the classroom
  • are mature and respectful of authority, can take direction and comply with rules
  • can conduct themselves responsibly and cooperatively when not in the presence of an adult
  • are physically able to participate in daily activities that vary in difficulty, from strenuous hikes to leisurely walks

Student Application for 2023 Yosemite Program

Chaperone applications are accepted from administrators, faculty, and staff from public high schools, public continuation schools, and public charter schools in Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Tehama Counties, and Big Valley High School in Lassen County who:

  • are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; no exceptions
  • have a high level of interest in high school students
  • are able to hike 5-7 miles daily with elevation changes of up to 2,000 ft.
  • have experience supervising groups of teenagers
  • are willing to take an appropriate, engaged role in field activities, group challenges, and discussions during daily hikes
  • are respectful of diversity, able to connect with and support students from a variety of backgrounds
  • are willing to provide supervision and spend time with students outside the hiking day

Chaperone Application for 2023 Yosemite Program

Program timeline:

  • November 1-30   Applications accepted for 2023 Yosemite Program
  • Mid-December    Student applications out to schools for evaluation and selection
  • Mid-December    Chaperone selection and notification
  • January 20           Student selections due from schools
  • Late January        Student notification via email
  • Late January        Required forms mailed to student’s home mailing address
  • March 1                Required forms, community service, paperwork, and NatureBridge Registration Forms due
  • March 21              Yosemite Program Orientation
  • April 1                   Pre-trip COVID-19 testing (locations TBD)
  • April 2                   Leave for Yosemite National Park
  • April 7                   Return from Yosemite National Park

More About NatureBridge in Yosemite

Yosemite1NatureBridge 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.

yosimite3In 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.

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