The Wilderness Education Center (WEC) brings park resources and education into the campus and greater Merced communities. This NPS-run, student staffed, on-campus Wilderness Education Center provides awareness about natural and cultural resources as well as recreational and professional opportunities to students, faculty, staff and community members in and around UC Merced. Built on a place-based model, WEC meets people where they are and helps build relevancy in their own communities.
The center was built on the idea that we can either be anticipatory as we address the challenges of the next century or be reactive as issues impact parks and wild places. We have chosen to anticipate challenges by educating park visitors before they arrive in public lands and by positively affecting the knowledge and experience of the nation's future leaders. The center accomplishes this by both developing and leading trips to parks and wild places as well as by bringing park education, speakers and events to the main campus.