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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, 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, your organization, or a day-care group through PP&R Environmental Education!

Offered Labor Day through Memorial Day

  • For participants 5 and up, we work with up to 45 students at a time, with 1-3 trained naturalists. (For very young children, we can accommodate up to 28 children at a time. Please see the Private Ladybug Walk page for all details.)
  • Field trips for elementary 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!
  • We kindly request that all groups submit program applications at least one month before your 1st choice requested date. 

Field Trips and Group Programs

Supplement or compliment classroom learning with a hands-on field trip 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 2016-2017 school year. Even more of a planner? We can also book you for Fall 2017!

What does it cost?
Maximum group size = 45. Minimum group size = 12 (We can do less than 12 in a group, however, you will be charged for the minimum rate!)

  • Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten only: 1 hr Private Ladybug Nature Walk: $5/participant
  • Kindergarten-Adult: 1.5 hr = $6.50/participant
  • Kindergarten-Adult: 2 hr = $8/participant
  • Kindergarten-Adult: 2.5 hr = $9.50/participant

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 spread mulch, remove invasive plants, or plant native plants. These programs cost $4/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