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
- Small student to staff ratio
- 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. Field trips last for 90 minutes. Rates for field trips is as follows:
- 1 naturalist (1-14 students)..................$70
- 2 naturalists (12-28 students).............$140
- 3 naturalists (18-42 students).............$210
Can’t afford a field trip? Look into grant opportunities!
Public Lands Every Day
We will work with you to select a park or natural area that fits your groups' needs.
Find slippery salamanders under logs and frogs hopping through fields! Your students will learn about amphibian anatomy, life cycles (eggs and tadpoles!), habitat, behavior, and their importance in the environment. Location: Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Adventures of Lewis and Clark
Experience Portland through the eyes of Native Americans and explorers such as Lewis and Clark. Learn to build a simple shelter, make crafts with plants, and walk where there are no trails. Learn how plants were important sources of medicine, shelter, clothing, and food. Locations: Kelley Point Park, Mt Tabor Park, Forest Park, Hoyt Arboretum, Powell Butte Nature Park
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 tracks along the way! We also recommend a classroom visit in which we guide students through interactive stations where they investigate bird nests, bones, scat, pelts, feathers, and other signs of animals. Locations: Powell Butte Nature Park, Elk Rock Island, Kelley Point Park, Whitaker Ponds Natural Area, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
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 provide binoculars for detailed views! Locations: Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Mt Tabor Park, Hoyt Arboretum, Whitaker Ponds Natural Area, Kelley Point Park, Leach Botanical Garden, Forest Park
Two class periods are recommended. During the introductory in-class lesson, students will understand why birds migrate and the hazards that they face during their long journeys, and play a game to help reinforce understanding. Next, visit a park to observe birds that have migrated from far away (spring time)! Locations: Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Mt Tabor Park, Hoyt Arboretum, Whitaker Ponds Natural Area, Kelley Point Park, Leach Botanical Garden, Forest Park
We will teach your students how to navigate using tools (provided by PP&R) in your classroom. Next, students will embark on an exciting treasure hunt in a local park while practicing their skills.
Fungus, Bacteria, and Invertebrates, oh my! Turn over leaves and logs, and dig in the soil to discover decomposers in a park near you. Your students will learn how to identify different species and find out why they are so incredibly important to the ecosystem. Location: any park will work; Leach Botanical Garden has a composting display.
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. Locations: Powell Butte Nature Park, Mt Tabor Park, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Kelley Point Park, Hoyt Arboretum
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. Or play a game of Habitat Bingo to compare the characteristics of different habitats.
Independent or class inquiry projects, and support for students who want to participate in science fairs. Research and monitoring opportunities also available with PP&R scientists.
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.
Take a walk around a park with a trained naturalist to learn about any of the following: tree and plant identification, photosynthesis, poisonous plants, edibile 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. Locations: Hoyt Arboretum, Mt Tabor Park, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Kelley Point Park, Leach Botanical Garden, Forest Park, and neighborhood parks such as Gabriel, Laurelhurst, Lair Hill
Make the poetry of Frost and Whitman come alive! Take a hike using all of your senses (smell, see, touch, hear). Develop descriptive language skills and then take some time to write your own nature poetry.
Discover the history that nature shows. See old-growth trees, changes in river beds, and plantings done in early Portland times. Learn about the historical uses of plants and land. Locations: Kelley Point Park, Mt Tabor Park, Forest Park, South Park Blocks, Hoyt Arboretum, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Elk Rock Island
Conduct chemical tests (oxygen, pH, temperature, turbidity) or look at the living creatures in the water to determine water quality. Capture macroinvertebrates (water bugs)from a stream then play a game of Macroinvertebrate Mayham! to see how pollution effects biodiversity. Locations: Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Whitaker Ponds Natural Area
For stewardship opportunities, please contact one of our stewardship coordinators:
- Parks east of the Willamette River - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Parks west of the Willamette River - email@example.com
- Parks along the Willamette River - firstname.lastname@example.org