A study published in September 2000, commissioned by the National Environmental Education and training Foundation (NEETF), focused on schools in neighborhoods with diverse racial profiles and high percentages of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches. Standardized testing of students in the schools that attended Environmental Education Programs showed that:
"Reading scores improved, sometimes spectacularly, math scores also improved, students also performed better in science and social studies, students developed the ability to make connections and transfer their knowledge from familiar to unfamiliar contexts, students learned to 'do' science rather than just learn about science. Classroom discipline problems declined; every student had the opportunity to learn at a higher level." -David Sobel, Placed-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms & Communities, copyright 2004, Nature Literacy Series Number 4, Orion Society p. 28
Since 1990, YMCA Point Bonita has given students in grades K-12 the opportunity to experience learning in a holistic way.
As students blaze the trails of the Marin Headlands and explore the wonders of the natural world, they experience first-hand that science isn’t just something to read about. It’s in the hawk that swoops over at a lunchtime picnic, the salty ocean air as they study sand crabs, or the wings of a Mayfly, scooped from the pond and glimpsed through a microscope.
At YMCA Point Bonita, we change students’ lives by bringing them to our site and challenging them physically and mentally, while encouraging them to use all of their senses. We awaken within them a new way of learning.
“Outstanding unplugged experience! Every child should have a similar opportunity to experience YMCA Point Bonita’s program. You’re apart of the cure for NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder).” “Hands on, engaging science lessons. You encouraged students to grow and overcome and experience success! Student after student was in awe and excited. Parents continuously shared positive comments. The energy level of the Naturalists was extraordinary…The Naturalists exceeded our expectations. What a caring group of people. You nailed the science, making it meaningful and real…The Naturalist’s knowledge, energy, patience, and enthusiasm were infectious” “You make a tremendous difference in the lives of children! Thank you!” -Mr. Andrew Morss, Teacher at Van Gorder Elementary School, Nevada
“I have such positive feelings about Point Bonita in my 27 year history of coming here! Every year includes improvements designed to enhance the experience for all students…I was very pleased with how your program aligned with out goals. …The Group challenges require them to think outside the box and act outside their comfort zone by collaborating with all members of their group…The Naturalists are fabulous!” -Cam McLeod Earl Legette Teacher.
“Above and beyond our goals and expectations was the interaction between our students and the naturalists. The naturalists (and the entire Pt. Bonita staff) exudes such a positive energy that the group leaves here with a new respect for the outdoors.” -Kim Orsolini. Earl Legette Teacher
“Great program for kids to learn first hand about cooperation and leadership, learning about the environment in which they live, about the living creatures of our coastal region and just appreciating the beauty of the Bay Area makes this such a special trip.Four years ago I did this trip with my older son’s class and afterwards I told the Ocean View teachers that I would do this one every year. Well, after returning here with my younger son’s class, I still feel the same way today as I did then!”-Jaime Fukumae. Ocean View Parent
“I think it’s a great program. It is a good way to get kids out of their comfort zones. What I saw today, the kids not only learned about nature, they learned to work as a team, and not give up. Great life lessons!” –Beth Heneger. Earl Legette Parent
“I thought it was absolutely wonderful and very educational. Not only was the curriculum focused on nature, but it taught the kids (and me) the importance of healthy diet, exercise and participation.” -Tonia Snow, Pershing Elementary Parent
“I was ‘hella’ impressed by the fact the Maha was provided a special wheelchair so that she could participate in beach activities. It’s so easy for special needs kids to be unintentionally marginalized, but Point Bonita proved to be ‘da bomb’!-Michael Williams. Ocean View Parent, Albany.