Connecting children and nature

About Wilderness Youth Project

WYP fosters a life-long love of learning through outdoor experiences.

WYP participants are happier, healthier and smarter, feel a sustained connection to nature, and are peaceful, self-aware community members. Wilderness Youth Project connects kids to nature in small groups guided by expert mentors during the school day, after school and in summer.

WYP is for all children, from preschool through high school. Our program is diverse and inclusive, and we make scholarships available because we know that all children need nature. At the heart of WYP is a love of the outdoors and belief in the limitless potential of kids.



The mission of Wilderness Youth Project (WYP) is to foster confidence, health, and a lifelong love of learning for young people and families through active outdoor experiences and mentoring.


Wilderness Youth Project envisions teaching the next generation of children to be peaceful, respectful and confident stewards of our world.

We believe all children need nature.

Our curriculum is built on self-directed exploration, games, awareness practices, naturalist skills, inquiry-based learning, and storytelling. We don’t offer “field trips” or one-time outings. Instead, participants are with us many times over the course of a season, deepening connections with themselves, the group, their mentor, and the places we go.

At WYP, children...

  1. Play, learn, and grow in Santa Barbara’s natural beauty
  2. Adventure and explore for more green time, not screen time
  3. Gain confidence, a heart for adventure and caring for others
  4. Have experiences that will help them grow up healthy and happy

We are deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

All children need nature. Not just the ones whose families have privilege and easy access to nature. Not only those of a certain race or economic class or culture or gender or sexual identity or language or set of abilities. Every child and every family.

WYP is committed to learning and growing our ability to live the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

Meet the people behind WYP.

Wilderness Youth Project began in 1999.

WYP is a team of expert mentors who love to spend time outdoors. We are made up of caring adults who tend to each child individually. We believe that time in nature is a basic human necessity. Since 1999 we have connected thousands of kids to nature. Today we get outdoors year round, serving 1200+ kids each year.