Celebrate NatureBridge & Outdoor Youth Education

In the spirit of celebrating our first year, we’d like to celebrate everyone that makes outdoor youth education a priority. Nature truly sparks something in everyone of us, and can have the greatest impact on youth. To see organizations in our area, like NatureBridge, work so diligently to give students the setting and the resources to ignite that spark is something else.

Founded in 1971, as Yosemite Institute, NatureBridge has deep roots in Yosemite. Bringing students from all over to Yosemite and other amazing locations, NatureBridge offers a variety of once in a lifetime experiences and lessons. These lessons all focus on how to become empowered to make a difference in their environmental community.

Stay tuned as we highlight just a small handful of teachers that have utilized NatureBridge over the years, bringing students to Yosemite and teaching them how great this area really is.  

Slater family: Yosemite Enthusiasts

Last Fall, we were fortunate enough to welcome Tom Slater and his family to Rush Creek Lodge. Tom is a Language Arts teacher at Mesa Middle School in Arroyo Grande, California, and has been part of numerous NatureBridge trips. During their stay the Slaters used our lodge as base camp to their Yosemite adventures. From exploring the Tuolumne Meadows to hiking to Gaylor Lakes, even making a snowman, it’s clear to see the Slater family cherished their time in Yosemite National Park.

It’s important to note that the Slater family are no strangers to Yosemite, in fact their son’s middle name is Yosemite! So I guess it’s safe to say, the Slater family are true Yosemite enthusiasts.

Embracing NatureBridge

Knowing Tom’s love for Yosemite, it only makes sense that he would want to share his experiences with his students. It was important to find a program that would allow students to close their books and experience this unique setting hands on. So the fact that NatureBridge provides a hands-on environmental science program for children and teens alike, is any teacher’s dream. It is no shock that teachers, like Tom, utilize NatureBridge as a way to engage and excite their students.

Tom describes how immersing students in the wonder and science of Yosemite National Park re-energizes them and sparks a whole new realm of interest.

As a teacher who has made over 18 trips to Yosemite with Nature Bridge, there are many fantastic memories. Watching students “discover” the valley for the first time is my favorite part. They’ve seen pictures and watched movies. But nothing prepares them for that ride down Hwy 41, driving into the dark tunnel and then bursting out into the light on the other side. Then their eyes adjust and their minds explode with wonder as they take in the incomparable Valley for the first time.  El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks, Bridalveil, Half-Dome in the distance. They don’t want to get back on the bus. It really sets up the entire trip. They’re ready after that moment to explore every trail. Thank you NatureBridge!  

– Tom Slater, Mesa Middle School

Continuing the Excitement with NatureBridge 

In keeping with our social mission, NatureBridge is a program that we’re proud to highlight here at Rush Creek Lodge. It is important that everyone does their part to make sure the nature we have learned to love so much is here for generations to come. Whether it is making sure you’re an environmentally sustainable business or teaching children environmental literacy, we all have our role to ensure places like Yosemite National Park can continue to excite and bring joy to all that visit!

With that being said, it is important to note many of the students who attend NatureBridge are able to have this eye opening experience with the help of donations and scholarships. Become part of the NatureBridge family, celebrate with us and donate today. And to all of you who already have donated, we celebrate you.