We work with each
school every step
of the way to
goals and then
tailor a program to
meet those specific
Trail Group sizes of 9 to 14 students
Always with one
one adult from
Naturalists at Large
provides a complete
for primary through
high school level
students. We can
for 15 students to
Naturalists at Large draws it’s instructors
from all over the United States. These are
men and women with 4-year university
degrees who have proven experience
working with youth in the outdoors and in
With their high comfort and experience in
the outdoors, their passion for teaching,
and a commitment to safety first, we have
the foundation for a fantastic experience
for you and your students.
All of our instructors are CPR and First Aid
Certified. 80 % of them hold advanced
certifications such as Wilderness Emergency
Medical Training, Wilderness First Responders
and Wilderness Advanced First Aid.
RESPONSE TIMES: for Emergency Services
Ambulance: 5 minute response in the valley
Medivac helicopter: 30-40 minutes.
Law Enforcement: 5 minutes in the valley
Yosemite National Park is located in
the central Sierra Nevada of
California and lies 150 miles east of
San Francisco and only a six hour
drive from Los Angeles. Yosemite is
internationally recognized for its
spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls,
clear streams, giant sequoia groves,
and biological diversity.
"was a man whose life
was nothing short of
writings are clear,
vibrant and full of
prophetic wisdom - he
was one of the first to
realize that all species
are interconnected and
Highlights of the park include
Yosemite Valley, and its high cliffs
and waterfalls; Wawona's history
center and historic hotel; the
Mariposa Grove, which contains
hundreds of ancient giant sequoias;
Glacier Point's (summer-fall)
spectacular view of Yosemite
Valley and the high country.
We will actually be cooking from active
small white gas burning backpacker participants
stoves, of which we have no
Allergies and Special Food Needs
• Program meals offer vegetarian food options.
• For those with specific needs due to allergies
or personal reasons, we suggest discussion
with your faculty.
• Naturalists at Large can help guide those with
special diets to supplement their meals in
ways which everyone can most easily manage.
Educational Themes can include:
Yosemite National Park; A Sense of Place.
Geology of the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Birds of the Sierra
Plants and Animals
The conifer forest
High Sierra weather
Plant and animal adaptations
Glaciation vs. Mass Wasting
We wish to explore the importance of national
parks to our culture and the individual through
group discussions and journal exercises. This
shared group experience will foster school
spirit and increase group unity.
The program of hiking
and group activities will
to the environment. The
unique natural history of
the Sierra mixed
conifer forest and
associated plants and
In every walk
with nature we
receive far more
than we seek
Upper or Lower Yosemite Falls
Vernal or Nevada Falls
Little Yosemite Valley
Naturalists at Large will use the evening as an
alternative activity/learning time for students.
Each evening will have a different focus.
Astronomy: constellations, motion of stars and
planets, stellar evolution, stories and myths.
Evening hikes to foster confidence with no
artificial light. We also cover nocturnal
adaptations of animals.
Traditional campfire: songs, stories and skits
performed by the students and Naturalists at
Student arrival (first day and morning before
Intro backpacking concept(s).
Discuss SAFETY with students and faculty. Be
specific on roles, responsibilities and evacuation
Inspect and check ALL student gear using the NAL
gear list sent to every school. Students missing
crucial items can usually borrow from other students.
Bag gear staying behind, clearly label and place in
NAL cube truck. Students will, most likely, still need
to get in and out of these bags before departing on
12:00 School arrives at Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias
Big group game __________/Bathroom run
by__________while PC meets faculty
Big group orientation by PC while nats meet faculty
12:30 Break into trail groups, intro naturalist and program, hike
3:00 Board bus to drive to Crane Flat campground – Snacks at
Afternoon Tent demo and set up camp
Begin backpack preparation
Extra student gear in labeled hefty bags in the NAL vehicle
6:00 Dinner prep
6:30 Big group dinner (dinner may be later this evening due to
Giant Sequoia hike)
7:30 Evening program -Whole group backpack presentation skits:
bathroom issues, sleeping warm, how to wear a pack,
hydration. Finish backpack preparation
9:00 Students released to faculty
9:30 In tents
10:00 Campground quiet hours
7:00 Breakfast prep
8:00 Finish backpack preparation – show students how to pack
Breakdown camp / backpacks ready
10:00 Meet bus for transport to Tioga Road trailheads
10:30 Group 1 and 2 dropped off at Yosemite Creek/Ten Lakes
Trail not Yosemite Creek campground (to head north) These
groups must stagger themselves 1 mile and 1 hour
Group 3 dropped off at Yosemite Creek Campground
trailhead to backpack down into the valley.
11:15 Group 4 dropped off at Murphy Creek (North of Tenaya
Lunch On trail
Each group will have lessons in blister maintenance,
wilderness 1st aid, map and compass, natural history and the
essentials of leave no trace camping
Evening program: Games, stories and astronomy
Groups either break camp and head to new campsite or
dayhike in the area
Afternoon Campsite at ______________
Evening program: Night activities dependent on student interests
Groups 1,2 and 4 hike to Tioga Road. Group 3 hikes directly to
Upper Pines campground.
10:45 PC hops bus at Crane Flat gas station
Groups 1, 2 and 4 must reach Tioga Road by this time
Group 1 picked up at _________________
Group 2 picked up at _________________
Group 4 picked up at Murphy Creek trailhead
12:00 Bus leaves for the valley PC will have snacks for the bus ride.
1:30 Groups arrive at Upper Pines campground in Yosemite Valley
for a late lunch. All gear needs to be cleaned, labeled and
Showers at Curry Village (if there is time)
6:00 Dinner prep____________
6:30 Dinner in large group
7:00 Skit practice
7:30 Evening program: Big group campfire in amphitheater or
campsite / preview of final day
9:00 Students released to faculty
9:30 In tents
7:45 Break down camp / pack gear / prepare sack lunch
9:00 Quick valley tour: Visitor center, museum, and debrief
Hike to Lower Yosemite Falls
Each group will visit the Spider Caves near Yosemite
Falls at staggered times
9:00______ 9:45_______ 10:30________11:15_______
12:00ish School departs from Curry Village
You will need an internal or external frame
backpack, at least 4000 to 4500 cubic
inches, capable of holding a sleeping bag,
personal and group equipment for one or
two days, and food for one or two days. A
backpack can be rented. REI, Adventure 16,
and Sports Chalet are good resources, or
consult the yellow pages under Backpacking
or Sporting Goods. About 1/3 of the pack’s
capacity should be available for group gear.
The fit of your pack is extremely important for
your comfort and well being.
“Test load” your pack to ensure comfort. Place
approximately 35-40 pounds into your pack and
walk around the block a time or two. Make sure
there are no “hot spots” (areas where the pack
rubs uncomfortably, especially on hip bones when
using an external frame pack). You should be able
to stand upright and look forward without bowing
your head. The bottom of your pack should not be
lower than your buttocks. If you are renting a
pack, make sure to ask the sales people to help you
fit your pack.
Boots: Well broken in and waterproofed or
STURDY WALKING SHOES. (High top Nikes,
Reeboks, etc. make good hiking shoes.) Running
shoes or “sneakers” do not provide adequate
ankle support, and are not waterproof.
Backpack trails are often across uneven terrain.
Boots provide the necessary support for feet
and ankles as well as increased protection from
“stubbed toes.” Break your boots in before you
come: you will save your feet from blisters and
uncomfortable “hot spots” !
Layering your clothing is the key to
comfort in an active outdoor environment.
The philosophy is that you can add or shed
“layers” of clothing as necessary. Layers
should start with thermal underwear (top
and bottom) as the innermost layer. This
should be a synthetic material, so it will
wick away perspiration and keep you dry.
Your next, or middle, layer is an insulating
bulky layer, followed by a protective (wind
and rainproof) outer layer.
Wool or synthetic fabrics are the best
choices for keeping warm and comfortable
in the outdoors. While cotton fabric is
comfortable in warm, dry conditions, it
does not retain body heat when it is wet.
A wet cotton sweatshirt will not keep you
warm. Therefore, we recommend not
bringing cotton items, like jeans (which
are made of cotton and are not
comfortable to hike in).
Two (2) pairs of heavy wool or
synthetic socks: Remember that
cotton does not retain heat when wet
and will not dry quickly.
Lightweight synthetic socks: These
act as a liner under wool socks and
help prevent blisters.
One (1) set of thermal synthetic (not
cotton) long underwear: Polypropylene,
Thermax, or capilene are good material
choices: your first layer.
Second set is nice for sleeping.
Compact synthetic sleeping bag with a minimum of
20 degree rating: Down sleeping bags, while warm
and light, cannot keep you warm if they get wet.
Sleeping bags can be rented at a sporting good shop.
“Mummy” shaped bags will provide more warmth than
regular rectangle bags. You will be carrying this bag
in your backpack: keep it lightweight!
Ensolite or Thermarest ground pad: The purpose of
this pad is to insulate you from the cold ground. It is
an important component to your system. Swimming
pool-type air mattresses are inappropriate because
they tend to rip and are difficult to fix in the field.
Good inexpensive options are Ridgerest and ensolite
A great adventure for
Let children walk with Nature,
let them see the beautiful
blendings and communions of
death and life, their joyous
inseparable unity, as taught in
woods and meadows, plains and
mountains and streams of our
blessed star. …Muir
trails we use
blue south of
and Special Dietary
Follow your equipment list.
Pack together. Adult and student can double
check the contents of the gear bag.
All clothing should fit in a medium size duffle.
A day pack is essential to move about the program
with water, some food, extra layers of clothing,
and personal incidentals.
Utensil Kit that may be reused for each meal and
a cup that can handle hot & cold liquids.
Rain gear is a must. (water-proof shell) Rain
Ponchos are fine.
Comfortable closed toed shoes are required.
Light weight hikers or tennis shoes with a few
pairs of good outdoor socks (non-cotton).
A good water bottle (quart or liter).
The proper sleeping bag (check your equipment
list for specifics).
Ground pad. Ensolite pads are much cheaper
than thermarest types and work just as well.
Plastic bag protection. A half dozen, 2 gallon
storage ziplocks are good for protecting
clothing in a gear bag from moisture. Along with
a couple hefty 15 to 30 gallon bags to line your
gear bag and sleeping bag (& daypack).
Don’t send gear that you could not afford lost
or broken (expensive cameras, cell phones, and
other electronics). A handy disposable camera
would be just fine.
Follow your equipment list, ask questions,
borrow from friends.