For the past ten years, The Wildlands Conservancy has been Southern California's leader in providing free outdoor education programs to urban youth. This has been accomplished by providing programs for nearly 25,000 children each year at our preserves and providing funds for nature-based field trips and a week-long outdoor science school for an additional 60,000 children each year.


  1. To enhance the lives of urban youth through profound outdoor education experiences wherein discovery of the natural world enhances self-discovery.
  2. To give urban youth a chance to discover the world beyond their neighborhood, which includes the mountains, beaches, forests, lakes and streams that are part of the 623 million acres of public land they collectively own as Americans.
  3. To increase academic skills by placing youth in a setting in which their minds are naturally curious and inquisitive.
  4. To teach youth firsthand about the planet and animal kingdom which leads to a greater understanding of and respect for all life.
  5. To give youth the opportunity to learn and to reap the restorative benefits of nature and a clean environment.

In addition to improving academic skills, outdoor education has long been noted for its therapeutic effects and positive impacts on anti-social behavior. The preconceptions and prejudices of youth are most easily changed in a natural setting because they are not continually reinforced by the overwhelming confusion of urban life.

Since the inception of city life, people have sought refuge from its commotion by retreating to nature and the great outdoors. An educational journey begins the moment a child steps outdoors and begins to wonder and think far beyond the textbook. Nature holds a mirror to our human sympathies—reflecting the kind, just, and loving qualities that elevate the human mind. After a quality outdoor learning experience, children return home with a new understanding and indelible memory of their place in the world.