A $1.3 million grant offered through the Yosemite Conservancy will fund nine new Youth in Yosemite programs. These programs, directed toward groups of low income, at-risk and under served children, will pair photography classes, hands-on internships and camping with lessons in ecology, geology and environmental stewardship.
"Building the next generation of park stewards is the goal of Youth in Yosemite programs," Mike Tollefson, president of the Yosemite Conservancy, said in a statement. "For some, these programs make it possible for participants to experience their first trip to the park or their first hike, and for others the programs affect educational, career and life choices. Providing funding for these programs opens a whole new world for young people of all ages."
Programs already exist that encourage kids to understand the beauty of Yosemite and potentially pursue careers there. WildLink Bridge, a partnership between NatureBridge, Yosemite National Park, and DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc., does this by giving teenagers a chance to live and work with Yosemite’s field project and wilderness patrol professionals for two weeks. The Yosemite Junior Ranger program is directed toward younger kids spending a day in the park.
“Kids might learn about owls, meadows and rock formations, while older participants lend a much-needed hand to park projects ranging from trail repair and wilderness restoration to museum archiving," Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher said in a press release. "These are life-changing experiences."