Our nature programs provide an opportunity for your group to practice science and connect to nature. Nature educators lead your students through a variety of activities to help them learn about the plants, animals, and geology of Portland. We use small group exploration, inquiry, observation, data collection, sensory experiences, play, and discussion.
Walks can be bilingual Spanish and English upon request.
We are hiring Nature Educators to help lead programs.
Request a Program
Programs are rain or shine, year-round! We usually schedule programs Tuesday - Friday between 9am and 3pm. We can usually teach up to 36 children at one time.Fill out this form to request a field trip or nature program.
Or call 503-823-6378.
Field Trip Topics
- Bees and Other Pollinators (May - September)
- Exploring Emotions with Bugs
- Frogs and Salamanders (February - June)
- Habitats of Oaks Bottom
- Ladybug Nature Walk (age 2-6 only)
- Nature Hike
- Nature's Recyclers
- Volcanoes in Your Backyard
We may also be able to build a custom program for your school, club, or organization. Please inquire.
Cost for programs
School field trips, Guided Walks, and Custom Nature Programs are charged per participant. Each participating school or organization should choose the appropriate cost for their situation.
Rates for September 2022 - August 2023
- $0/participant - fees can be waived if the cost of attending a program is a barrier to your school or organization; including schools that qualify for federal funds (Title I, Head Start, or organizations that demonstrate financial need.
- $5/participant - Schools/Organizations not qualifying for Title I (most schools/organizations pay this amount)
- $7/participant - Schools/Organizations with the means to pay for their students and help other schools/organizations who cannot pay the fee
Participant fees help cover the costs of teaching, program coordination, lesson development, evaluation, materials, and supplies.
Please make sure you are familiar with our policies related to payments, cancellations, late arrivals, no-shows, air quality, extreme heat, and inclement weather.
Program Confirmation – To confirm your program and secure your date(s), please sign and return the service agreement within five business days. If we have not heard from you within 5 business days, we will contact you once with a gentle reminder. After 10 days without a signed agreement, the dates will be released. If you need extra time, please inquire!
Late policy – If your group (or part of your group) arrives late, we will begin the program as soon as possible, however, we will still be ending at the agreed-upon time. This is in fairness to our staff who often have other obligations.
Cancellation policy– We will issue a full refund for cancellations made at least seven days prior to the day of programming. If a program is canceled inside of the seven days, a $50 partial payment will not be refunded.
No-show policy – Groups that organize a program but do not show up will not be refunded. Our staff plan and prepare for each program, and we often have a waiting list of schools and organizations that would like to participate in a program.
Photo policy– Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) reserves the right, and may give permission to the media, to photograph classes, programs, and participants at any of our facilities and properties or any sponsored activity. Please be aware that these photos are for promotional purposes and may be used in future publications and media communications in any format. If you do not wish to be photographed, please inform staff and we will make reasonable efforts to honor your request. If you see staff taking pictures, and you do not wish to be photographed, please let us know. If you see a photo of yourself or a family member that causes you concern, please notify us. As a courtesy, we will make every reasonable effort to dispose of the image, and will not use it in future publications. However, we will not be able to retrieve, destroy or discontinue existing printed publications in which the photograph may have been included.
Air Quality Issues– Due to the outdoor nature of our programs, we will make the best decisions for participants and staff in the event of poor air quality. If the air quality index (AQI) for the program location is forecasted to be listed as UNHEALTHY (AQI = 151 or higher) throughout the program according to purpleair.com and airnow.gov, the program will be canceled. Groups will receive a full refund or can reschedule if dates are available. Our program reserves the right to make decisions in real-time as conditions change.
Extreme Heat – If temperatures exceed 90 degrees, activities are modified and participants are offered extra water and electrolyte replacement drinks. If temperatures are predicted to hit or exceed 100 degrees during the hours of scheduled programming, programs are canceled. Refunds are given if participants miss a full day of programming. Our program reserves the right to make decisions in real-time as conditions change.
Lightning – Thunder and lightning are rare but can happen during certain months of the year. In the event of a lightning storm, groups are asked to walk or run to the nearest structure if it is safe to do so. If the storm is overhead and travel to a covered structure is unsafe, staff space participants out underneath the canopy of a medium-sized tree, having them squat down with only their feet touching the ground. As soon as they are able, the group continues toward the nearest structure for cover until the storm passes.
High winds - If wind speeds are 25mph or more or there is a wind advisory for the area, programs will be canceled due to safety issues related to the possibility of falling tree debris.
Inclement Winter Weather – If local schools and/or the City of Portland issues a delay or closure due to snow, ice, or freezing temperatures, the program is canceled. If the temperature during the program is predicted to be below freezing or lower than 32°F at the selected location, the program will be canceled. Take note that programs scheduled at Mt Tabor and Hoyt Arboretum may experience inclement weather differently due to their higher elevations.