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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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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 and Group Programs

Organize a private, nature-based field trip for your classroom, organization, or club through Portland Parks Environmental Education!

Supplement or complement classroom learning with a hands-on field trip experience in one of Portland's Parks or Natural Areas. Our naturalists are engaging, creative, and highly trained  (many holding or pursuing degrees in education, science, or environmental studies). Lessons contain a combination of large group learning, small group exploration, and individual engagement. Programs for the 2017-18 school year will be offered Oct 2, 2017 - May 25, 2018

  • For participants Kindergarten and older, we work with 12-60 students at a time, with up to 4 trained naturalists. For young children (ages 2-5), we can accommodate up to 40 children at a time, most days. Please see the Private Ladybug Walk page for all details.
  • Ecology-based field trips for elementary & secondary students can be 1.5 hrs, 2 hrs, or 2.5 hrs long.
  • Participants can be preschool through adult ages. If you have a toddler, preschool, or kindergarten group, we offer our Ladybug Nature Walks. For more information about scheduling a walk for young children, see our Private Ladybug Walk page.  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!

Our Program Values:

  • Children, youth, and adults of all backgrounds have the ability to discover a personal connection to nature.
  • The most engaging lessons are those that are relevant to the learner and contain active, hands-on, participant-centered learning.
  • We can model a love for nature and a desire to help protect Portland's parks and natural areas through our words and actions.
  • Feeling a deep sense of place is important for learning to care about the natural world, and we are often most connected to our closest neighborhood parks.
  • Humans can learn and have fun outside in any kind of weather! 

What's Included:

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

How to schedule a program: (Please note - applications require at least 4 weeks planning time) 

  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 iron out the details and schedule your naturalists. When all details are complete, we will send you a contract.
  6. Read, sign, and return the contract with your partial payment to secure your dates! Partial payment and signed contract should be returned within 10 days. 


When are programs offered?

For the 2017-18 school year, our programs are offered Oct 2, 2017 - May 25, 2018. Unfortunately, due to our summer camp schedule we are unable to offer field trips in June, July, or August. Now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 school year. Book now for fall, winter, or spring!

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

How much do programs cost? 

Take a minute to read about costs for our various programs. Costs will vary depending on program type and duration. See the "Costs for Programs" page for more information.