top of page


A mission to provide high school students with authentic, real-world, scientific leadership experience by combining the three pillars of YGCNWA: Education, Research, & Culture.



Encouraging student leadership by bringing a local, regional, and global environmental perspective to youth in the Northwest Arkansas area.  Projects, services and expeditions provided by YGCNWA are open to area high school-age participants, in the hopes that exposure to the natural world at these three levels will fuel a passion for conservation and stewardship that will last a lifetime.



In the Information-Age, it’s paramount for students to understand the value of unbiased, credible research and the impact that science has on our world.  The best way to truly embrace the significance of discovery and evidence-based science is to become active in research.  Students will have the chance to collect data and evidence in real-world field experiences in their communities, the NWA region, and beyond!



“The role of culture is that it's the form through which we as a society reflect on who we are, where we've been, where we hope to be.”-W. Pierce  

Motivating students to integrate environmental stewardship into their lives at home, in the community, and across any path they may travel.  In the interest of creating a positive cultural shift toward conservation, YGCNWA organizes students expeditions and experiences that help to decrease our species’ carbon footprint.

In uniting Education, Research, and Culture, we commit to:

  • Foster global citizenship through meaningful and authentic cultural and scientific experiences for local youth

  • Making these experiences as accessible as possible for all students and families

  • Practice sustainable tourism by carefully selecting and monitoring the locations of our expedition

  • Support sustainability and conservation efforts in the NWA area

  • Offer opportunities to build partnerships with local environmental supporters and create access to local environmental experts

  • Educate our project participants about local and global environmental issues

  • Provide students and families with opportunities for environmental stewardship

  • Create environments where participants feel safe and comfortable

  • Develop programs with purpose, focusing on enrichment and education at the core

Who we are


Matt Holden Co-founder

​I was born and raised in Arkansas, and I have a strong passion for science and the environment. I have a Bachelor's and Master's of Science in Biological Sciences, as well as a Master's of Arts in Teaching Secondary Science. I have worked for state and federal agencies conducting scientific research focused primarily on ecology and wildlife conservation. One of my goals as an educator is to instill a love of science and inquiry in my students so they can make informed decisions about the environment in the future. As an educator, I strive to implement real-world, authentic lessons, taken from my past experiences conducting scientific research, into my instructional program to help students see the importance of science in their everyday lives.


Cameron Simpkins Co-founder

Science Education is my passion! With a bachelor’s degree in Biology Education and a Master’s in Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages, I love to see how science and culture impact one another in our increasingly global society.  As a teacher in the Natural State for 10 years, my career focus has been to present my students (and basically anyone else who will listen) with accessible educational experiences in nature and in the field of science. For me, a huge part of that is simply getting outside to discover the world around us and traveling to new places we’ve never seen before.  It’s always my goal to motivate and inspire young people to take care of our world in the best way possible and learn from each other as we go.

bottom of page