Referral partners are integral to the W.I.L.D. Scholars program.

If you are an educator, counselor, social worker, or youth-serving professional, and you want to connect teens in your life to this program, become a referral partner. Get in touch with Program Director Lauren Hoernig to learn more.

Connect with Lauren
What am I committing to?

What am I committing to?

In agreeing to become a Back to Earth referral partner, you are committing to two things:

First, you are committing to identifying and nominating teens who could benefit from the social, intellectual, and emotional richness of a summer W.I.L.D. adventure, and from the peer community, mentor support, and ongoing connection with Back to Earth that comes with being part of the W.I.L.D. Scholars Program. You don’t have to identify many candidates - one or two per year is fine.

Second, you are committing to support your nominees through the application process and to remain a point of contact for Back to Earth to ensure that scholars who you nominated stay fully engaged throughout the program.

What do my students get from this opportunity?

Read more about the program here

W.I.L.D. Scholars Program
  • A full scholarship to one of our 10 day rites of passage backpacking trips in summer of 2024
  • All the gear and equipment needed
  • Two day-long prep sessions, building social-emotional capacity, meeting peers, getting the feel for Back to Earth culture and passion, and creating a success plan for the summer.
  • After-summer integration session to celebrate.
  • Fall mentoring session to channel summer experiences into college entrance, fellowship, and job applications.
Why WILD Scholars

Why WILD Scholars

2024 marks our 10th season of W.I.L.D..

While expanding access to wilderness has always been core to our mission, the W.I.L.D. Scholars program represents a shift in our thinking about what is required to accomplish this goal. Rather than just providing tuition assistance, we’ve come to think of access largely in terms of relationship building and the cultivation of trust that allows teens to step fully into their summer experience.

It’s a big leap for most teens to step away from their familiar lives into the mystery of the wilderness. For participants whose families are less involved in the choice to register for W.I.L.D., or who have less exposure to camping and backpacking, or are not in a financial position to incur even the relatively small costs of gathering things on the packing list, that leap becomes even bigger. The W.I.L.D. Scholars Program is designed to help young people to take that leap and feel confident that they’re going to be held at every step of the way.

-Eli Marienthal Back to Earth Director

Who Should I Nominate?

High School Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
Students who are interested, engaged, and able to commit 
Students who are curious, open-minded
Students seeking mentorship, new experiences, new relationships
Students who may not have access without this support
Students who ride the edge of engagement and disengagement with their future or community
Nominate a W.I.L.D. Scholar

Back to Earth Videos