20. NatureBridge

San Francisco, CA

From the Company

Outside editors excerpted this information from the Employer Questionnaire submitted to the Best Companies Group.

NatureBridge educates the next generation to respect the natural world, understand the scientific principles that govern it, and preserve it for future generations. Our mission is to inspire personal connections to the natural world and responsible actions to sustain it. In partnership with the National Park Service, our four campuses in Yosemite National Park, Olympic National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area provide residential field science education for grades K-12, youth leadership, and teacher training programs to over 40,000 participants each year.

NatureBridge is extremely mission-driven: to educate the next generation of environmental stewards. This makes us a very tight-knit community, even though we are spread out between four campuses and a national office. We are a team in every sense of the word. NatureBridge involves the staff in the decision-making of the organization. The lack of significant hierarchy makes exposure to Board Members or Senior Staff easy. A job at a NatureBridge campus allows you to live and work in a National Park. You can't beat that.

Employees are eligible to apply for a sabbatical of up to three months after seven years of continuous employment. New full-time campus and national office staff will accrue 17 vacation days and have a separate sick time from the day of hire. Flexible work schedules are available to accommodate family needs or personal time.

Stewardship of the natural environment is a core element of our program. We participate in local Clean-up Projects. We wash pots for the Native Plant Nursery to reuse. We pick up bags of garbage from our beaches and trails and compost buckets of food waste in an effort to lessen our impact in landfills. We also clear many square meters of exotic, invasive plants from the parks.

At one campus, we use hydroelectric power; another campus uses solar in a number of buildings. All of our campuses are based in historic buildings for classic reuse. When possible we upgrade facilities with low flush toilets, solar power, CFL lighting, programmable thermostats, insulation, recycled carpet and flooring and VOC paint. We recently built a straw-bale house for new staff housing at Yosemite Institute. We encourage employees to use pre-tax dollars with a transportation benefit. National staff also have access to City Car Share cars for meetings off site so they don't have to drive into San Francisco when they have meetings, and can rent a City Car Share hybrid instead.

The Bishop-Marcus Award of $1,000–3,000 is awarded annually and provides opportunities for staff to enhance their professional development, expand their personal horizons, and bring part of what they learn and experience back to NatureBridge. The Matt Baxter Memorial Fund honors former Yosemite Institute Instructor Matt Baxter, with a grant of up to $5,000. The Joie Armstrong Scholarship Program honors and gives prestige to two educators who lead 12 young women on an annual summer trek for 14 days.

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