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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

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Learning Landscapes

Learning Landscapes

What is a Learning Landscape?

Support from Portland Parks & Recreation

Leadership from the school

Contact Information


What is a Learning Landscape?

A hands-on learning opportunity for youth of all ages!

A Learning Landscape is a neighborhood arboretum planted at a school by school children. The collection of trees is identified and mapped so students and neighbors can learn about them as they grow. Developing a school arboretum will give your students a hands-on learning opportunity that will stay with them for years. In addition to the environmental and aesthetic benefits of trees, students will have opportunities to learn about:

  • tree biology
  • tree identification
  • environmental writing
  • native trees
  • watershed ecology
  • and more!

Students will connect to their school by improving the school grounds. They will also be able to participate in ongoing projects such as watering and pruning the trees. Students can also design maps and signs for the trees, helping the neighborhood learn more about the arboretum. 

Support from Portland Parks & Recreation

PP&R staff members are available to:

  • Help students design the planting plan
  • Provide trees, tools, and mulch on the planting day
  • Help coordinate planting activities with the neighborhood and other schools
  • Help secure supplies for long-term establishment of the newly planted trees
  • Provide tree labels
  • Provide educational activities that teach students more about trees

Leadership from the school

In order to plan a new Learning Landscape, the interested school needs to provide:

  • A main contact - A parent/staff/volunteer to help coordinate the tree planting and be responsible for the continued maintenance of the trees
  • Community support - A group of 5-10 dedicated volunteers to be present on the planting day and to water the trees throughout the first two summers. 
  • Greater than 50% student participation in the tree planting or follow-up activities
  • A two-year commitment to establishing the trees
  • A commitment to replace any dead or damaged trees
  • Help developing a tree map for school and community use

Contact Information

Karl Dawson, Urban Forestry Education & Outreach Coordinator
Portland Parks & Recreation
City Nature Urban Forestry
karl.dawson@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-1650