About Us

As an innovative partnership of Yosemite National Park and NatureBridge, WildLink offers new opportunities and perspectives for youth in historically marginalized communities through a series of wilderness and community-based outdoor programs offered at no charge. WildLink inspires youth to become long-term environmental stewards with strong connections to the natural world in both the wilderness and their home communities.

Through WildLink, culturally diverse high school students from across California engage in wilderness and public lands, empowering them to improve their own lives and their communities. Since 2000, WildLink has opened the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada to the populations living at its doorstep and demonstrated the relevance and benefits of the outdoors and public lands for all Americans. Through presentations, service and stewardship projects, participants reach out to their peers and their communities helping to ensure California’s diverse residents are informed, invested and committed to the enduring resource of Wilderness.

Our Mission

WildLink provides a series of wilderness- and home-based experiences that empower youth from historically marginalized backgrounds to enrich their lives and communities; and to ensure that diverse California residents are informed, invested and committed to the enduring resource of Wilderness.

Our Goals

  • To make wilderness relevant to the culturally diverse youth in California
  • To engage students in the study of wilderness with high-quality educational content and hands-on experiences
  • To empower youth as agents for positive change in their home communities through community stewardship projects
  • To create a human bridge between historically marginalized communities and public lands
  • To encourage students to pursue higher education
  • To provide opportunities for students to pursue careers related to natural resources

WildLink Staff

Elizabeth Gerrits, Wilderness Programs Manager

Elizabeth Headshot

Elizabeth grew up along the shores of Lake Michigan in Port Washington, Wisconsin. She earned her degree in Geology from Northland College and has dedicated her professional career to the preservation of Wilderness through education. She began her career as a Interpretive Ranger in Glacier National Park, Montana in 2015, and joined the Naturalist Training Program at Wolf Ridge ELC, Minnesota in 2015-2016. She has lead dozens of expeditions throughout WI, MN and MT and excited to start her career with NatureBridge Yosemite. She is eager to share her passion for wilderness with diverse California students and their communities. Contact Elizabeth at egerrits@naturebridge.org

Sarah Sugarman, WildLink and Wilderness Education Support

Sarah Headshot

Sarah grew up in a small town in rural North Carolina. She earned bachelors degrees in Public Health and Environmental Biology, and a Masters of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Tulane University in New Orleans. While in New Orleans, she began studying and organizing for environmental and social justice, and decided to dedicate her life to empowering marginalized youth through outdoor and science education. Before coming to NatureBridge, she worked as a teaching aid for elementary school students with learning differences, a climbing coach for urban youth, a volunteer ACT tutor at New Orleans high schools, and an outdoor guide for college students. All of these experiences eventually inspired her to get involved with NatureBridge and the WildLink program, where she is excited to be pursuing her goals and passions through helping to facilitate and lead outdoor experiences for diverse students. Contact Sarah at ssugarman@naturebridge.org

WildLink is a proud partner of the National Park Service, National Forest Service, and Nature Bridge.