Nature Has a Lot to Teach Us
Our parks and trails are rich natural classrooms. They allow learning experiences that are not possible in another setting.
Conservation Education programs such as Outdoor School help inspire the next generation to carry the torch of environmental stewardship. Through such programs we invest not only in the education of our region’s youth but also in the conservation of our natural assets. Children who learn about environmental issues will grow up to be active citizens who take ownership of ”their place".
The Intertwine partners work together to leave a legacy for future generations by protecting nature in our area and by teaching our children the importance of understanding and conserving the natural world around us. The Intertwine, with its parks, rivers, creeks, trains, bicycle paths and Trimet routes is the classroom where we learn about nature in our region, and then get inspired to preserve it.
Over half of high school students surveyed said Outdoor School was the best of all of their educational experiences. — Ruskin, PSU, 2004
Outdoor School and other conservation education programs give every child in the region the opportunity to learn about nature through hands-on experiences in the real world. The Multnomah Education Special District (MESD) has been offering outdoor school programs to students in the county since 1966. The MESD, along with the Northwest Outdoor Science School programs in Washington County and the Clackamas Education Special District in Clackamas, coordinates and provides Outdoor School services that offer all students in our region the chance to explore academics through outdoor immersion. Studies show that these programs leave a lasting impression on students, instilling in participants ecological awareness as well as a strong bond with their peers. Outdoor School also is an opportunity for the high school student mentors to acquire valuable post-graduation skills.
Other nonprofit agencies are also stepping up to ensure that future generations have an opportunity to learn about the natural environment. In 2011 Groundwork Portland launched its Green Team Program, which helps youth and young adults build awareness of environmental and social justice issues, brownfields redevelopment, watershed restoration and environmental stewardship, while at the same time being exposed to environmental careers.
The Green Team leaders, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, acquire employable skills to enter the job market while giving back to the community by removing invasive species from the Johnson Creek Watershed. They also learn about the local, county, and regional government agencies that address environmental issues. The participants in the conservation education program of Groundwork Portland greatly benefit from the environmental literacy and the connection to nature.
Many other partners of The Intertwine Alliance offer important and enriching programs and opportunities for children and adults alike to learn more about the wildlife and natural environment of The Intertwine. Whether it’s exploring the Willamette River by a paddle boat with the Audubon Society of Portland, taking classes and enrolling children in recreation programs through local park providers, conservation education programs ensure that current and future generations can make meaningful connections to this special place we live in.
Learn more about the Conservation Education Leadership Council - Engaging head, heart and hands in actively knowing, valuing and stewarding this place we love.