Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification


San Francisco, CA


Mission NatureBridge connects young people to the wonder and science of the natural world, igniting self-discovery and inspiring stewardship of our planet. Vision We envision a society transformed by new generations that understand, celebrate and protect the natural world.

Notes from the Nonprofit

NatureBridge provides environmental science programs for students in the world's best classrooms—our national parks. Our programs expose students to the wonder and science of nature, inspiring them to be the stewards of tomorrow. As the largest residential education partner of the National Park Service, NatureBridge serves more than 30,000 students and their teachers each year.

NatureBridge environmental science programs are inclusive. Access for all to transformational science experiences and diversity of participants and educators are core organizational values. We strive to make our programs relevant for students from all communities and train our educators in culturally responsive teaching practices.

NatureBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We rely on generous donations to support our mission, to support scholarships, and to support new curricula development and program extensions into classrooms.

Ruling Year


President & CEO

Mr. Phillip Kilbridge

Main Address

28 Geary Street Suite 650

San Francisco, CA 94108 USA


Environment, Education, Stewardship, Science, Out of School, K-12, Sustainability, Conservation, STEM





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

With the world's changing climate, increasing threats to wild places, and declines in science in the classroom and in civic engagement in local communities, NatureBridge's mission to foster environmental literacy to sustain our planet has never been more urgent. Our students are the stewards and leaders of tomorrow; our programs inspire personal connections to the natural world and responsible actions to sustain it. These experiences in the natural world are life changing.

NatureBridge is a leader in the field of environmental education. We collaborate with partners, including leading academic institutions and government agencies such as the National Park Service. Our partnerships in the philanthropic community and with other leading environmental education programs fuel innovation in our programs and in the larger field, elevating environmental education from a nice to have to a necessary component in every child's education.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Environmental Education at NatureBridge

Armstrong Scholars

Alcoa Scholars


Summer Day Camp: Coastal Camp

TEEM - Teen Environmental Education Mentorship

School and Group Environmental Science Program

Pre-School Programs and Family Programs

Elwha Science Education Project

North Olympic Watershed (NOW) Science

Summer Field Research Course

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

NatureBridge's mission is to foster environmental literacy to sustain our planet. Founded in 1971 in Yosemite National Park, NatureBridge is the largest residential environmental education partner of the National Park Service and has educated over one million young people. Annually, NatureBridge reaches more than 30,000 K-12 students and teachers with multi-day programs in seven national parks: Olympic, Yosemite, Golden Gate, Channel Islands, Santa Monica Mountains, Prince William Forest, and a summer program in Shenandoah.

Our goal is to provide residential environmental science and community-based education programs that improve overall environmental literacy to a diverse group of participants. To accomplish this, we generate a newfound interest in science, enhance academic skills, inspire a deep and personal connection with nature, and produce the motivation and knowledge needed for students to become conservationists. We provide tuition assistance to underserved schools based on their percentages of students eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meal program.

NatureBridge responds to the urgent need for environmental science literacy by offering multi-day intensive science programs in national parks and providing tuition assistance to under-resourced schools so that students who need it most can reap the educational benefits of our programs. In the environmental science education program, students live in national parks for two to five days, learning through direct observation and experimentation about what they may have previously only read in textbooks. NatureBridge catalyzes excitement about science for students from diverse financial and cultural backgrounds.

Our environmental science education programs are built on NatureBridge's evidence-based Core Educational Framework. This model was created by the organization's Education Advisory Council, which includes representatives from the National Science Foundation, Stanford University, National Geographic, and others.

The Core Educational Framework is built around three themes:

1. Sense of Place: In order to nurture a sense of place, making students comfortable and prepared to learn, students might look for environmental clues to find the cardinal directions, build interactive maps of the state of California using natural objects, or study state or park geography.
2. Interconnections: Using scientific processes, the parks' natural and cultural histories, and students' own experiences, educators work with students to demonstrate the complex connections between all living things, the environment, and human societies. Through the lens of interconnections, an oak tree becomes a food source for humans and wildlife; a home to acorn woodpeckers; a symbol of Yosemite Valley's disappearing meadows; and a small but important piece of the carbon cycle.
3. Stewardship: Educators engage students in educational park stewardship projects, such as removing invasive plant species and monitoring birds and water quality—an instrumental component in helping students realize their ability to positively impact their home environment and community.

Our staff of environmental science educators is at the core of our organization. Working with small groups of elementary, middle, and high school students, our educators bring science to life in national parks through engaging environmental science lessons: walks, hikes, scrambles, explorations, and overnight backcountry expeditions to the best spots in each park. Our educators bring diverse backgrounds to NatureBridge, including advanced degrees in science and education, experience with scientific research, classroom teaching, wilderness expeditionary leadership, outdoor education, and a wide range of other professions. Our educators' strong skills in environmental science and outdoor education, combined with the magnificent settings of our national park campuses, have strong impacts on the students we serve.

NatureBridge provides young people with the opportunity to enhance their understanding of and interest in science, connect with nature, and understand actions they can take in their home communities. In the environmental science education program, students will:

· Conduct meaningful guided scientific research, observing in real life what they had previously only read about in textbooks.
· Learn basic scientific principles and critical thinking skills.
· Engage in stewardship activities such as habitat restoration and energy and food waste reduction.
· Participate in lessons that are relevant to their classrooms and daily lives at home.

Quantitative measures track the (1) total number of youth served, (2) number of participating schools, (3) demographics of participants to reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of students, and (4) number of schools receiving scholarships in the form of tuition assistance.
Qualitative measures include (1) interviews with classroom teachers, (2) internal analysis of program structure, and (3) a brief teacher survey. NatureBridge implements improvements based on feedback from students, classroom teachers, and environmental science educators. Changes are incorporated to maximize program quality and effectiveness, a significant reason why schools continue to participate in our programs year after year.

NatureBridge welcomes more than 700 schools and 30,000 students and teachers each year to our six campuses. After more than 40 years of teaching and inspiring students, NatureBridge has provided life-changing experiences for more than 1 million participants and is a national leader in the field of environmental education. NatureBridge is widely recognized for excellence, both regionally and nationally. Education staff members are regularly invited as presenters at conferences to share expertise in best practices in environmental education. NatureBridge received the 2009 North American Association for Environmental Education Award for Outstanding Service to Environmental Education by an Organization and the 2010 John Muir Conservation Award. In additional acknowledgement of our leadership role, NatureBridge was invited by federal officials to share our expertise at a White House summit on environmental education and a congressional hearing conducted by the US Senate Subcommittee on National Parks.

As part of a broader plan to increase our reach substantially across the country, NatureBridge has embarked on two campus expansions: Yosemite and Golden Gate. The expansions will allow NatureBridge to expand our impact through outcomes of: increased student numbers; more scholarship funding available; accommodations and programs for visiting scholars and thought leaders; and refreshed, relevant curriculum on climate change and fire ecology.

Yosemite Campus Expansion: Located on Henness Ridge, a few miles south of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, the new National Environmental Science Center (NESC) will be a 16-building campus from which NatureBridge students, visiting scholars, partner organizations, universities, and teachers can convene in a state-of-the-art facility in one of the world's most iconic national parks. When complete, the Center will offer accommodations for 224 participants, and will include a dining hall, classroom/laboratory building, amphitheater, and ancillary buildings, including a fire station that will support the study of fire ecology. The NESC opens up new possibilities for NatureBridge's student learning outcomes. This campus is universally accessible, ensuring that all students–regardless of physical ability–can access the buildings and trails in the woods surrounding the Center.

Golden Gate Campus: Partnering with the National Park Service's Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), NatureBridge Golden Gate creates learning experiences in nature for over 10,000 Bay Area youth annually. However, we have reached capacity and have a substantial waiting list of schools. By 2019 NatureBridge Golden Gate will expand by 30% to serve 3,000 additional students each year, including 1,000 underserved youth primarily from Marin County. We will also build a climate science lab to provide hands-on learning on climate change that resonates with young people's experience and is specific to our local environment.

External Reviews




Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
Diversity is fundamental to the ecological health of our planet. We respect, care for, and celebrate biodiversity in our national park classrooms. We seek to connect participants of all backgrounds to the natural world and to their related cultural histories through an experience that is welcoming and relevant to them. We have a responsibility to create an equitable and inclusive experience in national parks for all participants. NatureBridge values diversity and our staff aim to create safe, welcoming environments where each individual can thrive. In order to better serve NatureBridge student participants, we must support improved access to national public lands; engage a more diverse workforce; provide ongoing professional development on diversity, equity, and inclusion; and offer educational programs that include a focus on the contributions of people representing all communities in our parks. More information at https://naturebridge.org/about-us/diversity