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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

School & Group Programs

Organize a field trip for your classroom through City Nature Environmental Education!

Supplement your student's classroom learning with a hands-on experience in one of Portland's Parks or Natural Areas. 

Our naturalists are highly trained and experienced (many holding or pursuing advanced degrees in education and/or ecological topics). Lessons contain a balanced combination of large group learning, small group exploration, and individual engagement. 

We like to help children, youth, and teens find a personal connection to nature. We like to model and teach a sense of stewardship toward our parks and natural areas. And we like to be outside in any kind of weather! 

About our Nature Adventures Give your students an exciting learning experience in nature! PP&R Environmental Education can provide:

  • Hands-on lessons that meet benchmarks in science, math, and social studies; all materials provided!
  • Lessons to meet your students' age, needs, and interests
  • Good student to staff ratio (usually 12-14 students per naturalist)
  • Some field trips have accompanying handouts; please inquire.

To arrange a field trip - Call the Environmental Education office at 503-823-3601 for information and scheduling. 

Costs for 2013-2014 school year

Costs for 60-minute Field Trips (great for Preschool and Kindergarten students):

  • $5.00 per student (12 student minimum)
  • We prefer to work with a maximum of 36 students at a time
  • Field trips can be organized in the morning and/or afternoon
  • Here's another great option - do a Ladybug Walk as a preschool field trip! Click HERE for more information! 

 Costs for 90-minute Field Trips (great for grades K-8): 

  • $6.50 per student (12 student minimum)
  • We prefer to work with a maximum of 36 students at a time
  • Field trips can be organized in the morning and/or afternoon
  • Most field trips take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, but we can be flexible depending on our schedule! 

Costs for 120-minute Field Trips (great for grades 6-12 or groups desiring more learning time on the trail):

  • $8.00 per student (12 student minimum)
  • We prefer to work with a maximum of 36 students at a time
  • Field trips can be organized in the morning and/or afternoon
  • Most field trips take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, but we can be flexible depending on our schedule! 

Can’t afford a field trip? Look into grant opportunities! Public Lands Every Day

Locations
We will work with you to select a park or natural area that fits your group's needs.

Topics

Amphibians Find slippery salamanders under logs and frogs hopping through fields. Students will learn about amphibian anatomy, life cycles, habitat, behavior, and their importance in the environment. Best months: February & March

Birds Learn about bird biology, behavior, and identification. This lesson requires two class periods: an in-class lesson will introduce your students to some common Portland birds. Next, visit a local park where we will identify birds in the wild and hone observation skills. We can also do a second classroom program on bird migration to focus on why birds migrate and the hazards they face, and play a game to reinforce understanding. Best months: April & May

Botany Take a walk with a trained naturalist to learn about any of the following: tree and plant identification, photosynthesis, poisonous plants, edible and medicinal plants, invasive and native plants, seeds, seasons, and plant life cycles. We may also play a game or do an experiment to reinforce science topics.

FBI Fungus, Bacteria & Invertebrates, oh my! Turn over leaves and logs, and dig in the soil to discover decomposers in a park near you. Students will learn how to identify different species and find out why they are so incredibly important to the ecosystem. Best months: November through February

Geology Explore the rocks and soils of the Northwest! Touch and weigh rocks that are thousands to millions of years old and compare them to the eroded soils of today's landscape. Climb a volcano and discover how Oregon was shaped by volcanic activity.

Habitats & Ecology Students will learn the four things that creatures need to survive, and how all living things are connected. Take a nature walk and uncover teachable moments while playing Habitat Bingo to compare the characteristics of different habitats.

Invasive Plant Math Find out firsthand just why invasive plants are so successful in taking over natural areas! Use your math skills to count the number of potential plants from a blackberry or dandelion seed head.

Nature Awareness Find out which animals live in Portland's parks. Students will learn to walk through the forest using deer ears, owl eyes, and the fox walk in order to see more wildlife. We will analyze and identify animal signs along the way!

Navigation We will teach your students how to navigate using compasses (provided by PP&R) in your classroom. Next, students will embark on an exciting treasure hunt in a local park while practicing their skills. Requires two sessions.

Poetry Hike Make the poetry of Frost and Whitman come alive! Take a hike using your senses (smell, see, touch, hear). Develop descriptive language skills and then take some time to write your own nature poetry.

Water Quality Conduct chemical tests (oxygen, pH, temperature, turbidity) or look at the living creatures in the water to determine water quality. Look at macroinvertebrates (water bugs) from a local water body. Then play a game of Macroinvertebrate Mayhem! to see how pollution affects biodiversity.

To arrange a stewardship opportunity for your group, please contact one of our stewardship coordinators:

Click HERE for information about  stewardship work parties with City Nature!

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