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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

Field Trip Topics

Common topics for Field trips - we can hone each one to complement classroom learning and connect to NGSS and Common Core where applicable.   


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.


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. B


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.


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.


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!


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 or school yard while practicing their skills. Requires a two hour field trip.

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.


Learn the life cycle of trees & the parts of a tree while taking a walk through a natural area. Participants will compare sizes, shapes, seeds, growth and the parts of the trees. (This lesson can be adapted for older ages as well.) 

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.