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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

"True Nature" - A Nature Mentoring Program

This fall, PP&R Environmental Education will be kicking off a new intergenerational class called True Nature. This class, offered weekly in the fall, winter, and spring is an attempt to connect children deeply to nature, adults, each other, and themselves. It is our True Nature to be at peace. It is our True Nature to express our gifts. It is our True Nature to be in harmony with the Earth. The Mission of True Nature is to mentor children (ages 3-12) and their grown-ups through a deep nature connection.

Mentoring and teaching methods include stories, songs, activities, and games that feed the universal passions of children (and adults!) Each day will also contain exploration, reflection, and journaling. Teaching is accomplished through various methods of inquiry and uses the techniques of Coyote Mentoring. Staff (and participants) may be asked to practice certain skills and improve their knowledge base of nature on their own time. We are hoping that your nature connection becomes more than just a day job – we are hoping it becomes a way of life. (Need to learn a little more? Here’s a few websites/videos to check out: https://youtu.be/dIV9DZSrUFE, https://weavingearth.com/coyote-mentoring/, https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/07/03/the-challenges-and-realities-of-inquiry-based-learning/ )  

Overarching goal of the classes: Promote deep nature connection as a means of self-development for mentors and children while building healthy, resilient community connections for all.

Specific objectives for each participant:

  • To have positive experiences in nature, regardless of the weather,
  • To connect to nature,
  • To connect to themselves, gaining a deeper sense of who they are,
  • To connect to others in their family and connect to other families,
  • To develop a sense of place,
  • And to have meaningful experiences in nature with mentors so they can grow into helpful, responsible individuals who have a personal connection to nature and Mt. Tabor Park.

True Nature Class Design: Children ages 3-12 (and their grown-ups) commit to attending weekly classes at Mt Tabor Park for 7-8 weeks each season. Class times and days of the week vary to give options for parents. Children of all ages gather and explore together as a group -- older children mentoring younger children and younger children keeping the older children playful and concrete. At the end of each 7-8 week session, we will celebrate the completion of the class with a gathering of children, their grown-ups, and the nature mentors at the picnic shelter at Mt Tabor Park.

Join the Nature Mentor team for the upcoming school-year!

Find the job description and information on how to apply here: www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/650277