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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

Nature Day Camp (ages 4–17)

  • "My daughter has been attending 1-2 weeks for the last three summers and she LOVES it! You all do a wonderful job!"

  • "The PP&R nature camps are, by far, my son's all-time favorite summer camps, both last year and this year. The counselors do an amazing job of engaging the kids and creating a fun, exciting experience..."


Connect to nature with Environmental Education

Ecology-based day camps for preschool, elementary, and older youth (Plus we have a teen volunteer program too!) 

Children and youth ages 4 - 17 can find all find a place in Environmental Education's Summer Nature Day Camp program. Grab your backpack, a lunch, a water bottle, a sweatshirt, and head out into Portland's Natural Areas to learn about ecology, play imaginative games, tell stories, and make memories! Each day of Nature Day Camp starts and ends as one group with all ages together. About half the day is structured with nature-themed games, skits, crafts, scavenger hunts, and science investigations. The other half of the day is spent playing, hiking, and exploring in small traveling groups, divided by age. Our programs cater to children as young as 4 up to age 12.

If you are looking for options for teens or young adults, check out our Jr Naturalist Volunteer program (ages 13-17) or apply to be on our paid Nature Day Camp staff! (ages 16+)

We hire staff who have an interest in children, ecology, teaching, and play. Our summer staff naturalists are trained for over 45 hours in risk management, youth development, dealing with challenging behaviors, communication skills, group facilitation, Leave No Trace principles, science and inquiry, stewardship, and the benefits of unstructured play. Our goals are to connect children to nature through experiential ecology, to model curiosity and wonder, and to be positive role models toward youth of all ages.


Camp Days and Hours

All camps run Monday through Friday (except for the week of July 4 - No Camps on July 4 or 5)

Before-care is available at no cost between 7:45-9:00am. No need to pre-register, just show up and we'll have staff available to get you signed in and hang out with your child until 9:00am. 

Camp activities for all camps begin each day at 9:00am. In fairness to our staff and to your child, please be on time so your child does not miss out! Campers under the ages of 13 MUST be signed in by an adult each morning and signed out by an authorized person each afternoon. In summer 2019 Environmental Education will again be using ePACT, an online health and emergency information system. Once you are registered for camp, you will receive an emailed invite to complete your child's health record and share it with our program. This must be done before your child arrives on Monday morning . (If you are doing multiple weeks of camp, you only need to fill the information out once, and it will be accessible to our staff all summer!) 

Camper pick-up times are listed below:

2:00pm  |  Partial-Day Nature Camp - Chickadees (ages 4 - 6)

4:00pm  |  Nature Day Camp - Flickers, Hawks, Ospreys, and Ravens (ages 5 - 9)

4:00pm  |  Nature Skills Camp - Swifts (ages 9-12)

4:00pm  |  True Nature Summer Camps (ages 5-8 or 9-12)

After-care - Sorry, after-care is not available for any Environmental Education camps. 


Weekly Cost for Camps (unless otherwise noted)

Partial-day Nature Camp   |   $185 (Resident), $252 (Non-residents)

Nature Day Camp, Nature Skills Camp, True Nature Summer Camp   |   $260 (Resident), $364 (Non-residents)

Curious what your fee pays for? Click HERE to find out!


Scholarships Available

We offer scholarships to help cover the cost of camp. Complete the scholarship application found on the Portland Parks & Recreation Main Page. Completed applications can be returned by fax, postal mail, or in-person. 

To Mail or Drop off in person:
Portland Parks & Recreation
Attn: Nature Day Camp 
2909 SW 2nd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201

Fax Number: 503-865-3251 (please email enviroed@portlandoregon.gov to make sure we received it!)


Special Assistance

Children of all abilities and interests are welcome to participate in our programs. If your child requires special assistance to participate, please contact the Environmental Education Office at 503-823-3601, and we will help connect you to our Adaptive & Inclusive Recreation program.


"My daughter has been attending 1-2 weeks for the last three summers and she LOVES it! You all do a wonderful job!" 


"Your child will be engaged, active, and happy all day!"


"The PP&R nature camps are, by far, my son's all-time favorite summer camps, both last year and this year. The counselors do an amazing job of engaging the kids and creating a fun, exciting experience. I can't quite express how much I appreciate the wonderful instruction and experience provided by your counselors. Thank you!" 


Important information about Summer 2019
You'll notice the cost of camp has increased. This summer, one week of full-day camp will cost $260 per camper, and we put every penny to use! Wondering where this money goes?

Here's how the fee breaks down:

  • $180 - Cost of paying our staff and operating each week of camp (Our staff work 40 hours a week. They arrive early to plan and be ready for campers, and attend an after-camp meeting each day to talk through issues, concerns, and ideas. Because we are an all-outdoor program, we have much lower ratios than other PP&R camps. Including all of our support staff and floating naturalists who help out in groups that need it, our staff to camp ratio is about 1:4. In 2016 Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 1532, which establishes a series of minimum wage increases beginning July 1, 2016 through July 1, 2022. As much as we have tried to continue our program as is, we have finally hit the breaking point where we must increase the cost of camp to cover the minimum wage increases in the Portland Metro Area. Click here for more information on Senate Bill 1532.) 
  • $41 - Cost of training our entire staff for over 40 hours (We are outdoors 100% of the time with no access to facilities. Our staff requires additional training in child management, risk management, and responding to emergencies.)
  • $16 - Staff cost for planning and administration (Registration help, hiring process, and summer planning that takes place March through June)
  • $14 - Cost of materials and supplies for our summer activities (This includes all of our craft supplies, hands-on activities, science exploration equipment, and technology needed to connect with parents and access camper health information.) 
  • $4 - Cost of PP&R t-shirts and manuals for our staff and volunteers
  • $2.50 - Cost of using ePACT, our online health access for each camper.
  • $2.50 - Cost of using ActiveNet as our registration system