On-campus resources and academic-year programming at the University of California, Merced, are inspiring a new generation of Yosemite ambassadors, while forging strong ties between the park and surrounding communities.

The two-year UC Merced Yosemite Leadership Program (YLP) encourages students to become lifelong public lands stewards, through environmental education, personal and professional development, and hands-on projects. During the summer, YLP participants can apply for summer internships in the park, made possible through Conservancy donors’ support. Program participants also help run the on-campus Wilderness Education Center (WEC), which encourages the university community discover Yosemite through educational materials, field trips, stewardship projects and more.

In 2017, thousands of young people and adults got to connect with Yosemite through WEC and YLP field trips, presentations, tours, curriculum and more. As part of the Every Kid in a Park initiative, WEC student rangers taught local fourth graders about the natural world and their nearby national park: Yosemite.

Your contribution supported programming that helps shape a new generation of leaders on campus and in the park. Check out our blog to meet a “Park Champion” who was inspired to pursue a career in public lands thanks to donor-funded programs at UC Merced.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park and University of California, Merced.

Jesse Chakrin

Park Ranger

Project Notes

College students have a cool factor that opens lines of communications with high-school students. We hope to instill in them an environmental ethic they will carry forward into whatever profession they choose.