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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


2909 SW 2nd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201

503-823-PLAY (7529)

Chrissy Larson, Coordinator for Environmental Education


Environmental Education office,


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Field Trips/Group Programs

Organize a school-year program for your classroom through PP&R Environmental Education!

Offered Labor Day through Memorial Day

  • We work with up to 30 students at a time, with one or two trained naturalists.
  • Most field trips are 1.5 - 2 hours long.
  • Participants can be preschool through adult ages. If you aren't sure what your group can manage cognitively, we'll help you find the right topic to fit the needs of the group!
  • We kindly request planning ahead and submitting program applications at least one month before your requested date. 

Supplement or compliment classroom learning with a hands-on experience in one of Portland's Parks or Natural Areas. 

Give your students an exciting learning experience in nature! Our naturalists are highly trained and experienced (many holding or pursuing advanced degrees in education and/or ecological topics). Lessons contain a combination of large group learning, small group exploration, and individual engagement. We believe in:

  • Helping children, youth, and teens find a personal connection to nature.
  • Modeling and teaching about a sense of stewardship toward our parks and natural areas.
  • Being outside in any kind of weather! 

What's included?

  • Hands-on lessons that meet Next Generation Science Standards
  • Instruction that meets the participant ages, needs, and interests
  • Low student-to-PP&R naturalist ratio (15:1 or better)
  • All handouts, materials, supplies needed for the experience
  • Optional classroom program to prepare for the field trip (for an additional fee)

When are programs offered?
From Labor Day through Memorial Day on weekdays. Unfortunately, due to our summer camp schedule we are unable to offer field trips in the summer. Now accepting applications for the Fall season which begins on September 6, 2016!

What does it cost?
Groups can be a maximum of 30 students. However, there is a 12 student minimum charge.

  • 60 minutes = $5.00/student (perfect for Preschool and Kindergarten students. Another great option is a Ladybug Walk as a preschool field trip! Click HERE for more information!)
  • 90 minutes = $6.50/student  (great for grades K-8)
  • 120 minutes = $8.00/student (great for grades 6-12 or groups desiring more learning time on the trail)

Interested in service learning?
We offer stewardship projects for students in 3rd grade and up. We can work with 1 class (up to 36 students) when a field trip is paired with a stewardship project. Students will spend one hour with one of our Stewardship Coordinators & an hour with our naturalists (total length of program is 2 hours). Lesson goals will vary depending on site, but will include importance of stewardship, habitat components, interconnectedness and human impacts. Students may remove invasive plants or plant natives. These programs cost $5/student.

How do I schedule a program?
Arranging a program takes time. Please allow at least a full month for coordination.

  1. Download the Program Application.
  2. Fill in the form and SAVE AS: "Your full Name_EE Program Application.pdf"
  3. After looking over the application, if you have questions call our office at 503-823-3601 or email Chrissy Larson at Messages will be returned in the order they were received.
  4. Attach the saved form in an email to
  5. Once we have your application we will work to schedule the naturalists. When all details are complete, we will send you a contract.
  6. Sign and return the contract within 14 days to secure your dates!

Supplemental Classroom programs
Classroom programs are only offered in conjunction with field trips and are conducted prior to going in the field. We charge $60 for the first hour and $20 for each additional hour. This can be a great way to get students ready for the field component.

Limited funds for field trips?
Schools receiving Title 1 funds are eligible for a discount for programs.

  • Schools with 60-80% of students who qualify for Free and Reduced-Price Meals receive $1 per student discount
  • Schools with greater than 80% of students who qualify for Free and Reduced-Price Meals receive $2 per student discount

Where are field trips located?
We will work with you to select a park or natural area that fits the needs of the program topic. Please look at our list of common Field Trip and Ladybug Walk sites

What topics are covered on the field trip? 
We have a variety of topics that help teach participants about the specific features of our parks and natural areas. We aim to connect ecological topics with the appropriate sites throughout the city, while at the same time also connecting our lessons to NGSS, choosing the appropriate grade level, and aligning them with typical science units. Find the list of common topics here