Time in nature makes children smarter, healthier and happier.

Santa Barbara could be the epicenter of the movement to reconnect children with nature.

Children spend most of their time indoors, and this has disastrous implications for physical and mental health. Evidence abounds for the benefits of nature, from its ability to boost learning to nature’s soothing effects on social behaviors to the myriad physical benefits of movement and fresh air.

The epicenter idea comes from renowned author and educator David Sobel, who has been visiting Wilderness Youth Project since 2007. On his first visit, he said:

“Your program is doing EXACTLY what I’ve been talking about for the last twenty years as I work with educators towards outdoor education. You hit every single point I discuss as criteria for an effective outdoor education program.”


“Wilderness Youth Project’s success is part of the reason why Sobel thinks Santa Barbara can help lead what is fast becoming a global movement to “re-release children into the wild.”

That success is due entirely to YOU, our family of supporters.

For eighteen years we have been bringing children to the abundant nearby natural places, inviting curiosity and connection, and creating peak experiences.

You put Wilderness Youth Project on the map. Thanks to you, we have helped thousands of children in this community find their place in the world.

Today, we have 350 students joining WYP during the school day, 250+ early childhood and after-school participants, and 400+ summer campers. These programs help us reach children across race, class and ability

With you, WYP is building a bridge to nature for the children of Santa Barbara. It takes $600,000 of your donations each year to fund our scholarships.

Map courtesy of Bryan Conant

With your support more children WILL experience nature connection.

Holly Gill, a science consultant and parent at Adelante Charter School, shared this reflection after her students participated in our Bridge to Nature school day program:

“The students were given the freedom to explore, play and interact intimately with the natural world in a way most had never experienced or thought possible.

WYP leaders served as amazing mentors, seeing students in terms of their assets and potential, encouraging each of them to their unique greatness.

The students will never be the same. I only wish more children in Santa Barbara could experience this intimate connection to the natural world.”

Be a Bridge Builder!

Donate to Wilderness Youth Project.

Leave a Legacy of Nature Connection

Your gift to the Wilderness Youth Project endowment will ensure that future generations of children can experience the essential benefits of connecting with nature. The return on your investment will be a smarter, happier and healthier next generation. We accept planned gifts or you can make your contribution now to our ethically and sustainably managed endowment fund.


A gift to the WYP endowment will help ensure that nature connection programs are here to stay. While the principal funds remain in the endowment, annual investment income will help offset operating costs and sustain our programs.


We accept and encourage gifts of real property, cash, securities, and other personal property. Methods of contributing these gifts include bequests, pledges to be paid over a fixed period of time, charitable remainder trusts, life insurance, gifts of personal residence, appreciated assets, stock and retirement assets.


All of our endowment funds are managed by Sustainvest Asset Management. Sustainvest is committed to following a sustainable and responsible (SRI) discipline that considers environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to generate long-term financial returns and positive societal impact. This means that your money will be used to support the longevity of nature connection, while also supporting public companies committed to responsible and ethical business practices.


Please call us at 805-964-8096 or email michelle@wyp.org. WYP tax ID #: 77-0526117 Let us know if you already have WYP in your will. Thank you!

Wish List

  • $___    It takes a village. Anything you can contribute will help us serve the kids who need us most.
  • $35    Purchases a set of knives for outdoor skills- one of our best ways to excite kids.
  • $130 It takes just ten of you to donate at this level to fund an entire year’s scholarship.
  • $260 Funds Wilderness First Aid certification for a counselor.
  • $680 Funds a full scholarship to summer camp for one of our school year participants.
  • $1,300 This level of support will provide an entire year’s scholarship for one participant.
  • New Mac laptop for computer presentations, slide shows, graphics
  • $5,300 With just three donors at this level, the entire year of one program  will be funded.
  • $16,000 One donor at this level will fund an entire year of programming for Jr. High school participants.
  • $40,000 New Passenger Van – To increase capacity and serve youth who do not have transportation to the programs.

Wilderness Youth Project is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization incorporated in the State of California. All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Contact Michelle 964-8096 or michelle@wyp.org for more details. TAX ID #: 77-0526117 Gift Acceptance Policy


Wilderness Youth Project Incorporated

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