Deliver Benefits to the Public

Connecting urban youth to forest habitats

Photo: Teen girl outside on a forest road jumping for joy
Exposing youths to the outdoors benefits them personally, socially, and teaches them to appreciate and conserve the resources around them. Photo courtesy of Lily Mae, Compfight.

Exposure to nature is an essential part of healthy child development. Youth who spend time in the outdoors gain social, intellectual, and emotional benefits that can last into adulthood. In an increasingly “wired” society, it can take some extra effort to get kids outside. The Pacific Northwest Research Station has partnered with Oregon State University Extension 4-H in creating the Forest Explorers program.

For the second year in a row, Forest Explorers will offer underserved and underrepresented urban 4th graders a chance to learn new skills and experience the outdoors, all while learning about the habitat, wildlife, and water quality benefits of forests. These day-long field programs will foster personal growth, outdoor experiences, and valuable learning opportunities.

Nearly 500 children will have the opportunity to participate in Forest Explores this summer. They will visit the Oregon coast, Columbia River Gorge, Ape Caves, and several other local landmarks. Youth who participate in long-term, meaningful relationships that emphasize natural resources are more likely to understand, appreciate, and remain connected to those resources into the future, and this new understanding can have immensely positive impacts on both personal and environmental health.

For more information please contact Becky Bittner.