NatureBridge

Sausalito, CA   |  https://naturebridge.org/

Mission

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

Notes from the nonprofit

NatureBridge connects young people to the wonder and science of the natural world, igniting self-discovery and inspiring stewardship of our planet. Pre-pandemic, our overnight, experiential environmental science programs bring more than 30,000 children and teens each year into our national parks to explore the outdoors, connect with their peers, discover themselves and develop a lasting relationship with the environment. During the pandemic, NatureBridge has served thousands of students in virtual programs, and hosted summer backpacking, family camps and daytime environmental science explorations. Our environmental science programs are inclusive. Access for all to transformational science experiences and diversity of participants and educators are core organizational values. NatureBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We rely on generous donations to support our mission, student scholarships, and new curricula development and program extensions into classrooms.

Ruling year info

1997

President & CEO

Mr. Phillip Kilbridge

Main address

1033 Fort Cronkhite

Sausalito, CA 94965 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Yosemite National Institutes

EIN

94-2145930

NTEE code info

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Environmental Science at NatureBridge

NatureBridge provides outdoor environmental science programs for students in the world's best classrooms—our national parks. Our mission is to connect young people to the wonder and science of the natural world, igniting self-discovery and inspiring stewardship of our planet.

In order to further our mission, NatureBridge is committed to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion and to promoting equal opportunity for students and staff in the field of environmental education.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Inspired by and in memory of former NatureBridge environmental science educator Joie Armstrong, the Armstrong Scholars Program brings together young women, ages 15 to 18, for a truly empowering summer backpacking adventure in the High Sierra.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

This two-week program is a unique opportunity for high school students to learn and grow in Yosemite National Park or Olympic National Park. Students from communities around the globe explore the wonders of the natural world in UNESCO world heritage sites that provide the optimum experience for hand-on-learning in science.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

An innovative partnership program between NatureBridge and the National Park Service, WildLink engages underserved high school students from California in wilderness and public lands. WildLink empowers youth to improve their own lives and their communities through a series of wilderness- and home-based experiences.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

Surrounded by stunning coastal landscapes, Coastal Camp is a summer day camp in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Campers entering grades K-9 engage their curious minds and boundless energy by exploring and investigating the natural world.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Teen Environmental Education Mentorship program is a skills development and environmental education training program for high school students. Participants learn firsthand about coastal ecology and develop outdoor and teaching skills, learning from NatureBridge educators and teaching elementary school students on NatureBridge programs. Interactive workshops introduce environmental education concepts, teaching strategies and public speaking tools.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

NatureBridge’s environmental science programs offer students in grades K-12 the opportunity to learn hands-on science in Yosemite National Park, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Olympic National Park and Prince William Forest Park. Our three- to five-day residential outdoor science programs are led by experienced educators and customized to enhance a school’s curriculum.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Educator-led, hands-on, experiential programs designed specifically for preschoolers are offered at our Golden Gate National Recreation Area campus. Programs combine student-centered learning and the natural inquiry process that arises from a young child's inherent curiosity about the natural world. Programs can be a one-time field trip or a monthly visit featuring different themes and activities. We also offer a variety of Family Programs that include hikes and nature programs for the entire family. Family programs are offered at our Olympic National Park and Golden Gate National Recreational Area campuses.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Families

High school students learn to think like scientists as they create their own ecological research project while backpacking in the Yosemite National Park wilderness and in the Olympic National Park.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

NatureBridge invites 3rd to 12th grade students to learn and explore environmental science in our reimagined virtual classroom. Guided by skilled NatureBridge educators, students participate in interactive, synchronous sessions that connect them to national parks and the natural world in their own community.

NatureBridge offers modules that are based on our traditional campus-specific curriculum. Generally, a module consists of three sessions of up to 60 minutes each. Two NatureBridge educators lead each session as presenter and host using a video conference platform such as Zoom. Attending classroom teachers participate as chaperones who observe and assist students as needed. Interactive technology tools may include Prezi, Jamboards, Google Slides, breakout sessions and participant polls.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Children

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total Environmental Science Scholarship Funds Awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Environmental Science at NatureBridge

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Fiscal Year data. In Fiscal Year-20 programs were impacted by Covid-19. A Distance Learning program was implemented.

Total Number of Schools Receiving Scholarship for ESCI Programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Environmental Science at NatureBridge

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Fiscal Year data. In Fiscal Year-20 programs were impacted by Covid-19. A Distance Learning program was implemented.

Total of Schools Attending NatureBridge Environmental Science Programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Environmental Science at NatureBridge

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Fiscal Year data. In Fiscal Year-20 programs were impacted by Covid-19. A Distance Learning program was implemented.

Total Participants for all Programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Fiscal Year data. In Fiscal Year-20 programs were impacted by Covid-19. A Distance Learning program was implemented.

Total Youth Participants for all Programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Fiscal Year data. In Fiscal Year-20 programs were impacted by Covid-19. A Distance Learning program was implemented.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

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 five national parks: Olympic, Yosemite, Golden Gate, 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 welcomes more than 700 schools and 30,000 students and teachers each year to our four 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.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    NatureBridge collects feedback through surveys of every school the organization serves to better understand the social and educational impact of our programs and to seek suggestions for improving all aspects of the participant experience. In addition, NatureBridge collects information from every school prior to their trip to the national park to allow our educators to prepare programs that meet the health, accessibility and learning needs of each student.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    other,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    other,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    other,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

NatureBridge
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

NatureBridge

Board of directors
as of 11/17/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ian Yolles


Board co-chair

Carroll C. Yandell

Dan Abrams

CrossRiver Pictures/Wynkoop Properties

Susan Boren

Raoul Goff

Earth Aware Editions

Ian Yolles

Carroll Yandell

Robert Holmes

Founder, The Holmes Group

Thomas Kiernan

American Wind Energy Association

Brad O'Brien

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Angela Chen

Vice President of Transformation, VF

Nicole Sheehan

Walter Sive

Chair, Olympic Board

Ananda Baron

Sr. Director of Compliance and Ethics, Pacific, Gas & Electric (PG&E)

Ben Steele

Senior Vice President Chief Creative Officer, REI

Jenny Koehler

Partner, Power & Utilities Advisory Practice, Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Liz Valentine

Co-founder and CEO, Swift Co. A possible Agency

Kevin Newman, Ph.D.

Vera Michalchik

Learning Officer, Measurement, Evaluation and Learning Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Sophia Danenberg

Environmental Health and Safety Policy Analysis and Strategy, International Policy at The Boeing Company

Colin le Duc

Linda Fisher

Lisa Holmes

Kimberley McMorrow

Vivienne Long

Vice President of Marketing, REI

Michael Pereira

Autumn Saxton-Ross, Ph.D.

Shane Tackett

Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Finance, Alaska Airlines

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/05/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/06/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.