Point Reyes National Seashore Association, primary nonprofit partner of Point Reyes National Seashore, works with the National Park Service to preserve and maintain wildlife habitat, trails, and historic sites in the beautiful and unique 100 square-mile National Seashore. Our year-round environmental education programs help children and adults deepen their understanding of nature and inspire the next generation of park stewards. We are proud of our work, work we are only able to accomplish with the support of our members, donors, partners and friends.
Environmental Education - Youth
Located in the heart of Point Reyes National Seashore’s Phillip Burton Wilderness, the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center serves as base camp for Nature Science Camp, Adventure Camp, our School Program and Wild in the Wilderness Teacher Training Intensive.
During the summer months, PRNSA's Nature Science Camp & Adventure Camp host 420 children ages 9 to 16 for 4- to 6-day overnight programs. Campers visit the Phillip Burton Wilderness, Tule Elk Preserve, Point Reyes Lighthouse, Kule Loklo Miwok Cultural Exhibit, Abbotts Lagoon, Limantour and Drakes esteros and Mount Wittenberg, enjoying wilderness backpacking, nature study, canoeing, biological illustration, tracking, wildlife observation and primitive skills training. Leading by example, our staff gently mentors the next generation of naturalists and public lands stewards.
PRNSA’s School Program hosts environmental and science education trips for elementary through high school classes from the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Led by their teachers and supervised by parents and school staff, students spend 3- to 5-days fully immersed in field studies of water quality, aquatic invertebrates, marine mammals, wetland restoration, fire ecology and local history.
Designed for teachers and youth program leaders, PRNSA's Wild in the Wilderness Environmental Education & Natural History Intensive for Teachers provides 20 hours of natural history, environmental education, and program planning. The course is led by a team of dynamic naturalists and educators who employ hands-on, field-based learning experiences designed to engage and stimulate learners. Topics include animal tracking, native plant identification and uses, stream ecology, environmental education activities, nighthikes and campfire programs, integrating environmental education across the curriculum, and program planning. The program is compatible with the California State Science Framework.
In addition, PRNSA works in partnership with other organizations to offer special programs. In 2013, we collaborated with Austin-based Amala Foundation to host the Northern California Global Youth Peace Summit which united 50 youth from 15 countries for a week-long program devoted to cultural exchange, team building, self-acceptance and healing. We also host the annual Christmas Bird Count for Kids each January with the National Park Service and Sonoma Birding. This free family event encourages healthy outdoor recreation, stewardship and environmental education.
Young Stewards Youth Scholarship Fund
PRNSA believes that every child should have access to high quality environmental and field science education programs and recreational experiences on publicly-held wild lands. In 2009, we founded the Young Stewards Youth Scholarship Fund to provide underserved youth with access to residential environmental, science and wilderness education programs within Point Reyes National Seashore. Since establishing this program, PRNSA has raised nearly $600,000 in dedicated funds to support programs for more than 4,000 youth.
Environmental Education - Adult
Point Reyes National Seashore is an extraordinary outdoor classroom. Each year our Point Reyes Field Institute enables more than 1,600 people to deepen their knowledge of and connection to the National Seashore. Class offerings span natural and cultural history as well as art and science, and we provide rich outdoor experiences for people of all interests and ages. Some of our most popular classes include:
- Mushroom Identification
- Elephant Seals and Gray Whales
- Wildlife Watching at Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
- Our Local Owls - Their Lives, Behaviors & Calls
- Rocks, Sand, & Sea Glass in Watercolor
The Field Institute’s 100 instructors are experts in their fields. Classes are supported by a cadre of over 40 volunteer facilitators who assist the instructors and participants.
Science at the Seashore
As a partner to the Pacific Coast Science & Learning Center, one of 19 Research Learning Centers in national parks across the country, PRNSA helps fund projects and programs that increase the effectiveness and communication of research and science in the national parks. This is done by encouraging the use of parks for scientific inquiry, supporting science-informed decision making, communicating relevance and providing access to research knowledge and promoting resource stewardship through partnerships.
Research Learning Centers facilitate collaborative research activities and provide researchers with laboratory and office space, dormitory facilities and access to park research priorities and scientists. Each center's education specialist works with park interpreters and partners to make new information about park resources available to the public and park management leaders. They also provide hands-on learning experiences that connect researchers with learners of all ages.
Science at the Seashore is currently funded by individual donors, foundations and state and federal agencies, and focuses on collaboration and partnerships, education and youth development, marine and terrestrial science, information sharing, inventory and planning, research, monitoring, and habitat and wildlife protection.
Point Reyes Marine Science Fund
The Marine Science Fund was established in 2012 thanks to a generous $100,000 gift by an anonymous donor. Administered in collaboration with the Pacific Coast Science & Learning Center, the Marine Science Fund was established to support research designed to advance our knowledge about and understanding of the Point Reyes marine environment.
Current and Completed Projects
Point Reyes Trails Trust
PRNSA and the Point Reyes National Seashore are working together to repair the Seashore's 150 miles of trails in order to enhance the recreational experience for all users. In 2012 PRNSA raised funds to support a major repair to the Coast Trail and in 2013 we funded the installation of equestrian gates in key locations on Park trails. PRNSA partners with the National Park Service to bring hundreds of volunteers out for trail stewardship days, improving trails and building community at the same time. Our 2014 Trails Trust Project will fund a major rehabilitation effort on the Estero Trail.
Land Acquisition for Trails & Recreation
PRNSA works with neighboring landowners who wish to donate land to Point Reyes National Seashore. Ultimately, these inholdings are transferred to the National Park Service and thereby serve to increase the size of the Seashore and provide for greater public access.
Art in the Park
In 2003, Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) established the art gallery in Point Reyes' Red Barn Classroom. We now host four Red Barn Art Exhibits annually. These painting, photography, and educational exhibits reflect the natural or cultural aspects of the Seashore and surrounding area. PRNSA sponsors the art exhibitions and handles art show sales. A portion of the proceeds support the Point Reyes National Seashore Museum & Archives Research Services.
Recent Red Barn Art Exhibits
- BayWood Artists Paint Point Reyes
- Reyes of Light: Iconic Images of Point Reyes National Seashore
- Thomas Wood Paints the Marin Landscape
- Specimens and Glass Houses
Giacomini Wetlands Restoration
In 2008, PRNSA and Point Reyes National Seashore partnered with community members to complete the Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project, raising over $6.2 million to restore 613 acres of wetland. The project included the purchase of the Giacomini Dairy at the southern end of Tomales Bay and the restoration of its historic tidal wetlands. In 2013 we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the project. The restored wetlands are improving water quality in Tomales Bay, providing habitat for countless native species of native plants and animals, and offer a living laboratory for the study of wetland restoration for scientists, students and school children who visit and study the project.
Sacramento Landing Marine Research Station
In 2005, PRNSA partnered with the Pacific Coast Science Learning Center to create overnight lodging on Tomales Bay. The Sacramento Landing Marine Research Station houses researchers from all over the country who are studying the biodiversity of the Point Reyes National Seashore.
Clem Miller Environmental Education Center
PRNSA funded the construction of the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center, named for the United States Representative who authored the legislation to establish Point Reyes National Seashore. The Center is located in a secluded valley just two miles from Limantour Beach and offers a private and natural setting for Point Reyes Summer Camp, Point Reyes Field Institute classes and our School Program.
Bear Valley Visitor Center
PRNSA raised funds for the construction of the Bear Valley Visitor Center. The Center welcomes more than 250,000 visitors annually.
Wildlife Inventory & Monitoring Programs
PRNSA continues to raise funds to assist snowy plover and spotted owl montioring programs, as well as assisting docents programs that help to monitor and inventory special species of concern.