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Summer program gives Portland-area kids chance to connect with nature

 

 

USDA Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Research Station

Portland, OR: September 1, 2010

Contact: Becky Bittner, (503) 808-2599, bbittner@fs.fed.us

Media assistance: Yasmeen Sands, (360) 753-7716, ysands@fs.fed.us

Students from Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash., participate in the 2010 "Forests Inside Out!" program, which provides outdoor education opportunities to kids from underserved communities." Credit: U.S. Forest Service
Students from Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash., participate in the 2010 "Forests Inside Out!" program, which provides outdoor education opportunities to kids from underserved communities." Credit: U.S. Forest Service

PORTLAND, Ore. September 1, 2010. This summer, approximately 350 children from Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash., 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. “And, it’s important to give those who have never had the opportunity a chance to make that connection.”


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 two-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 Club in Portland and Hillsboro, 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 participated in the Inner City Youth Institute (ICYI) natural resource camp earlier this summer, another outdoor education program targeting underserved middle and high school students.


“ 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.”


Forests Inside Out! is a partnership of the Forest Service, World Forestry Center, and the Inner City Youth Institute. 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.

 

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The PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 425 employees.


US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Tuesday,10September2013 at17:31:33CDT


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