Olympic Summer Field Research Course

What will you discover this summer?

Our Olympic Field Research Course is for students entering 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, or who have just graduated high school with a passion for science, adventure, and fun. Join us for an unforgettable two-week experience!

What You Will Learn

On this trip, you will create your own scientific research project and work alongside National Park Service researchers while backpacking in the Olympic National Park wilderness. Along the way, you'll learn:

  • Wilderness survival and backpacking skills
  • Olympic National Park natural history and ecology
  • How to record field observations and identify patterns
  • How to generate answerable questions and hypotheses
  • How to collect data that will answer your question
  • How to analyze and present your data to other scientists

Registration for 2015 available now! Look for dates below.

Need more info?

naturebridge.org or 415-754-9022.

The Summer Field Research Course is also offered in Yosemite National Park - find out more!

Research in a Living Laboratory

The Olympic Field Research Course lasts for two weeks and is both physically and intellectually challenging. You will spend a couple of days acclimatizing at our Barnes Point campus on Lake Crescent before embarking on a backpacking adventure through Olympic National Park following the route of the first explorers to venture from one side of the Olympics to the other.

Part of the journey takes you through the Elwha River Valley where the largest dam removal in U.S. history is currently underway, offering an incredible living laboratory and monumental restoration project. During this expedition, you will take part in National Park Service research projects and then carry out a project based on your own interests. At the end of the course, you will present your research to scientists, NatureBridge staff, and fellow students. Parents are also invited to attend these presentations on the last day of the course.

Research teams consist of 10 students and two NatureBridge environmental science educators. Everyone does their part to ensure that camps are set up, dinner is ready on time, and research objectives are met. There is also plenty of time in each day to enjoy the natural beauty of Olympic National Park and each other’s company.

Dates & Fees

Session 1: July 5-17 (Register now!)
Session 2: July 19-31 (Register now!)

Tuition for the summer 2015 courses is $2080. Fees include all meals, lodging, and educational experiences. You can choose to be picked up at one of three locations (Sea-Tac Airport, the Seattle/Bainbridge ferry, or the Edmonds/Kingston ferry) or to meet us in Port Angeles, WA.

Financial Assistance

We are pleased to offer need-based scholarships to students. To apply, please download and fill out the application or email us.

Students in the Seattle School District should also consider applying for the Assistance League of Seattle's summer scholarships.


This course is designed for students entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, or who have just graduated high school. We encourage interested students outside of the recommended grade levels to contact us to discuss whether the course is well-suited for them at this time. Participants should be able to hike seven miles per day carrying a 30-pound pack.

Our Educators

Our staff of highly skilled environmental science educators is key to the success of the Olympic Summer Field Research Course. 

Each learning group consists of no more than 10 students led by two NatureBridge environmental science educators with extensive experience in backcountry leadership and field research. 

Our environmental science educators have years of teaching experience in outdoor and environmental education programs and a contagious enthusiasm for exploring the natural world.

All of our educators have:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Wilderness First Responder certification
  • Passion about teaching, youth, and the environment

Many of our educators:

  • Have traveled or lived abroad, sometimes volunteering for organizations or studying foreign languages
  • Have worked as national park rangers or certified classroom teachers
  • Currently serve as educators, musicians, photographers, philosophers, poets, birders, artists, athletes, and more!


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