In the real world of budgets and bottom lines, a Ladybug Walk actually costs about $8.50 per child. This cost covers the full-time and part-time staff needed to plan and facilitate each walk, as well as all supplies that go in the backpack (and the backpacks themselves!), vehicle use, and overhead costs of running the program.
On our weekly walks, we charge $4 per child - not enough to cover the costs, but enough to help take the edge off the budget inconsistency. This keeps walks affordable for most families, especially those who want to join us often or who have multiple children of Ladybug Walk age.
But for many families in Portland, $4 is actually still too much money... it might be a gallon and a half of gas for the car, or the bread needed for children's lunches, or bus fare to get to and from work each day. What works for some families, does not work for others.
Our mission at Portland Parks Environmental Education is not just serve the families who can afford the $4 cost or the $8.50 cost, but also the ones who can not afford to come at all. In 2017, we hope to expand our program and offer low-cost and no-cost Ladybug Walks in under-served neighborhoods in Portland. Thanks to many people who are doing great data collection in the Portland metro area, we can easily see where these communities are in the city. And we see that in many cases, they are near a Portland Park. We have learned over time that we can do a Ladybug Walk in just about any Portland Park in the city - so we are raising money to help bring Ladybug Walks everywhere possible. We are passionate about young children exploring nature with their grown-ups.
And you can help. Here's how:
Make a donation to our "Spread the Ladybug Love!" initiative. Your donation will help us bolster our program budget so we can offer walks without the worry of losing money. We accept small, medium and large donations, but if you make a donation of $20 or more, we'll send you one of our "retro" Ladybug Backpacks as a thank-you gift. (Retro backpacks available until they run out!!)
- Call our office at 503-823-3601, and have your credit card ready! We can do a donation right over the phone.
- If you prefer to write a check or make a cash donation, give us a call and we'll tell you where to mail it or drop it off.
Here's a few photos of our old Ladybug Walk backpacks - now retired, but still very cool! They are fuzzy and clean - in some cases there are definitely signs of wear - but you can only imagine the number of tiny, joy-filled hands that have reached in these backpacks to find the magnifying glass and the bug box so they can hold a worm for the first time.