USDA Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Pacific Northwest Research Station
333 SW First Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 808-2100

US Forest Service
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Forests Inside Out!

Forest Inside Out.During summer 2010, about 350 children from Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington took part in “Forests Inside Out!,” a program that provides outdoor education opportunities to students from underserved communities. The program, which ran from August 2 through 31, was partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Nothing compares to getting students outside,” said Rob Pierce, education director with the World Forestry Center, one of the program’s sponsors.

Now in its second year, Forests Inside Out! took children ages 6 to 10 from communities in the Portland and Vancouver metropolitan area to sites in the city and along the Columbia River Gorge. During the program’s 2-day format, the students explored the World Forestry Center and Hoyt Arboretum and then went on ranger-led interpretive hikes to Wahkeena and Latourell Falls. Participants came from the Boys and Girls Clubs in Portland and Hillsboro, OR, Portland- and Vancouver-area community and child development centers, and Portland’s SUN community schools.

As part of the program, eight high school students were hired as mentors to work with the younger participants and help them to connect with nature during their trips through sketching and journaling. These student mentors also participated in the Inner City Youth Institute (ICYI) natural resource camp (another outdoor education program targeting underserved middle and high school students) earlier during the summer.

“Forests Inside Out! provided a great opportunity for ICYI students to spread their enthusiasm for the outdoors to a younger audience,” said Becky Bittner, conservation education specialist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, sponsor of both Forests Inside Out! and ICYI. “Our hope is that these younger kids are inspired to participate in outdoor programs like ICYI when they get older.” Another round of camps is scheduled for summer 2011.

Forests Inside Out! is a partnership of the Forest Service, World Forestry Center, and the ICYI. The program’s activities are structured around "Project Learning Tree," a nationally recognized curriculum that is aimed at fostering an understanding of how forests and the environment work.


US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Tuesday,26July2016 at16:41:46CDT

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