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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Environmental Education

  • Ladybug Walks (ages 2–6) Drop-in nature walks every Friday (and some Thursdays) at 10:00am.

  • Summer Nature Day Camp 2019 (ages 4–12) Plus volunteer and paid summer employment opportunities for ages 13 and up.

  • GRUNT (ages 13–15) Greenspaces Restoration and Urban Naturalist Team

Portland Parks & Recreation offers diverse environmental experiences in our city's parks and natural areas. Classes, guided walks, camps, volunteer opportunities, naturalist training, trail/tree maintenance jobs, and special events focus on the stewardship and connection to our forest, grassland, and water ecosystems throughout the city. From young children to older adults, people of all ages can find active involvement with nature close to home.

Environmental Education Office

Kelly Rosteck, Coordinator for Environmental Education, Teens/Young Adults

Chrissy Larson, Coordinator for Environmental Education, Early Childhood/Youth/Families

Portland Parks & Recreation engages the next generation of environmental leaders through volunteer naturalist training, paid work programs, science-based field trips and stewardship. Check out our many programs below for more information!

If your child is... Then check out...
Age 2-5 Preschool Nature Walks and Summer Nature Camps
Age 5-12 Summer Nature Camps, Ecology Classes, and Ecology-based School Field Trips
Age 13-21 GRUNT and  Youth Conservation Crew

Ladybug Walks (ages 2-6) - Children, plus their grown-ups

For toddlers, preschoolers, and their grown-ups. Explore nature in Portland parks with trained naturalists! All walks begin at 10:00 AM on Thursdays and Fridays, mid-February through mid-November, rain or shine. $3-8 per participating child (sliding scale), no charge for adults. For more info, call 503-823-3601.

City Nature Explorers (Grades K-6)

Children (Kindergarten-6th grade) can join the Environmental Education team to learn local ecology through sensory activities, science investigations, games, and exploration. Our trained outdoor educators will immerse your child in experiential learning with lessons that line up with common science units and Next Generation Science Standards. Classes are active, social, engaging, and fun!

Nature Day Camp (ages 4-12), plus volunteer and employment oppportunities

Grab your backpack, a lunch, and a water bottle and head out into Portland's Natural Areas to learn about ecology, play imaginative games, tell stories, and make memories! About half of each day is structured with nature-themed games, skits, crafts, scavenger hunts, and science investigations, and half is spent playing, hiking, and exploring in small traveling groups, divided by age. 

GRUNT (13-15) - Greenspaces Restoration and Urban Naturalist Team

GRUNT is a FREE volunteer environmental science, stewardship and job skills program that connects youth to nature, environmental careers & college programs. Graduates receive ongoing support applying for paid jobs with Portland Parks & Recreation.   GRUNT meets for two weeks in the summer, and then 1-2 Saturdays a month throughout the next school year. See the application for this year's dates!

Eligibility: Ages 13-15

Youth Conservation Crew (ages 14-18) - YCC

YCC is an environmental job program. Not only will you work hard protecting nature in the City, but you will also discover exciting careers in natural resources, develop job skills, and experience some of the most beautiful places in Oregon. There are five different types of jobs: Community Gardens, Tree Crew, Trail Crew, No Ivy League, and Teen Naturalist Team.

Eligibility: Youth ages 14 through 18

Field trips and Group Programs - Ages 3-6 (Private Ladybug Walks) or Ages 4+ (Hands-on Ecology)

Looking for a way to complement your classroom learning topics? Contact us to custom design a school field trip and get your students outdoors! Lessons are taught by experienced teachers in small groups and help bring ecological concepts alive with hands-on activities, games, exploration, and hiking. Information about rates and topics can be found on our School and Group Programs page. Call 503-823-3601 to chat about available dates and lesson possibilities.