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NatureBridge Receives $75,000 Grant from Wells Fargo for Scholarships for California’s Central Valley Youth

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Date: October 24, 2013

WildLink and field science education programs in Yosemite National Park build future scientists and leaders


With a $75,000 grant for the Environmental Education and Stewardship for Underserved Central Valley Youth project, NatureBridge is proud to announce the award of scholarship funding from the Northern and Central California Region of the Wells Fargo Foundation. 

This grant will make it possible for diverse students from California’s Central Valley to discover the wonders of Yosemite National Park, learn science in the outdoors, and become inspired to care for the environment in their home communities. 

“We are grateful for the continued generosity of Wells Fargo,” said Kristina Rylands, NatureBridge’s Yosemite Director. “This grant will make it possible for us to reach out to Central Valley communities and introduce students to the wonders of the national park in their own backyard.”

The Wells Fargo Foundation’s grant will support two NatureBridge programs. 

WildLink is a partnership program with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and NatureBridge that transforms underserved youth through a series of wilderness and community-based outdoor programs offered at no charge. Additionally, NatureBridge’s residential field science education programs give students in grades 4-12 the opportunity to become scientists as they engage in hands-on outdoor science investigations among the deep valleys and giant sequoias in one of the most iconic national parks in the country. 

“What students learn at NatureBridge is an education they can receive nowhere else,” said a teacher from Mesa Middle School. “They learn about nature, but more importantly, they learn how to be the best versions of themselves.” 

WildLink educates, inspires, and empowers high school students to become long-term environmental stewards with strong connections to the natural world. They participate in a series of wilderness expeditions, restore local habitats in their home communities, and learn about opportunities for public lands careers. 

In the words of one WildLink teacher, “The most valuable take-away for our youth was being able to feel like they belong in the wilderness and that these spaces belong to them, too. For youth whose families may have never owned things of their own or been able to afford a trip out of their neighborhood, this trip can show them that they have a right to enjoy these wild spaces and to lead a life better than they’ve ever known.” 

Eligible Central Valley counties include Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare County. Students, teachers, or community leaders interested in scheduling a NatureBridge program are encouraged to contact Outreach and Enrollment Director Marya Carr at: 209-379-9511 ext. 19 or by email.

-NPS- 

About NatureBridge Founded in 1971, NatureBridge provides environmental field science education for students in the world’s best classrooms—our national parks. Through residential education programs, NatureBridge connects students to the wonder and science of nature and inspires the stewards of tomorrow. As the largest residential education partner of the National Park Service, the organization serves more than 30,000 students each year and offers programs in six national parks: Yosemite National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Olympic National Park, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Channel Islands National Park, and Prince William Forest Park. NatureBridge also offers professional development opportunities for teachers and family and youth programs. NatureBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and has a diverse group of partners, including Wells Fargo, Clif Bar, Google, Klean Kanteen, National Geographic Education Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association, Oracle and REI. For more information, visit www.naturebridge.org. 

About Wells Fargo Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. We want to help all of our customers succeed financially and create long-term economic growth and quality of life for everyone in our communities. In 2011, the Company invested $213.5 million in grants in 19,000 nonprofits, and team members contributed more than 1.5 million volunteer hours around the country. For more information, please visit: www.wellsfargo.com/about/csr. 

Did You Know?

Cars and campers in a meadow in Yosemite Valley.

Unrestricted camping is no longer allowed in Yosemite Valley because of damage it causes. The placement of campgrounds and campsites has changed over the past 75 years in response to a growing understanding of river dynamics, geologic hazards, and the park's natural and cultural resources.