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Teen Nature Team (TNT) - (grades 6-8)

Teen Nature Team (TNT) is a FREE nature program for middle school students. This program was formerly known as GRUNT.
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What is TNT?

Teen Nature Team (TNT) is a FREE volunteer environmental science, stewardship and job skills program that connects youth to nature, environmental careers and college programs. 

During this time of uncertainty, being in nature is more important than ever! With TNT, you will enjoy activities in nature and create a community with new friends. 

TNT is a partner of Ninth Grade Counts (All Hands Raised), which is community-wide initiative to increase graduation rates by supporting summer learning and keeping more kids on track through the transition into high school.  Furthermore, graduates receive ongoing support applying for paid jobs with Portland Parks & Recreation.

Who can apply?

  • Current middle school students (grades 6 - 8)
  • Teens of all races, ethnicities, religions, gender identities, abilities, English language proficiency, and immigration status are encouraged to apply.
  • Youth must be able to walk two miles on uneven ground and safely handle sharp tools.
  • Youth must be willing to get dirty (some gear and clothing provided) 

Once a student has been accepted, they can continue to participate until they start the 9th grade.

Spaces are limited

We have space for 20 students at a time. Applicants will be accepted into the program whenever a space opens up. Priority will be given to eligible applicants who meet one or both of the following criteria:

  • Low-income (as demonstrated by enrollment in Title I school, participation in Free and Reduced-price School meals program or qualification for other federal assistance programs), and/or
  • From a group underrepresented in professional environmental fields (people of color, immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+).

How do I apply?

Click here to start your application!
Applicants will immediately be added to a waitlist.   Youth will be invited to join as soon as space is available. 

When is TNT?

TNT meets on Saturdays, school holidays, and during the summer.  The time changes each season, depending on the weather.  In the winter, we meet from 11am - 3pm.  In the summer, we meet from 10:00am to 3:00pm. 

Where does TNT meet?

TNT meets at parks and natural areas. We switch locations once a month. All locations can be reached by TriMet bus or MAX Lightrail, and bus tickets are provided upon request.  

Participants will need to be able to get these parks:

When we no longer need to follow COVID protocol, we will provide transportation for all participants.  The meeting location will be East Portland Community Center, 740 SE 106th Avenue.  When we are able to provide transportation, we will visit a wider variety of parks, natural areas and other field trip sites.  


TNT takes safety seriously. During COVID-19, we are doing the following:

  • We stay outdoors.
  • We wear masks unless we are eating (6 feet apart).
  • We keep our distance. We plan activities in which it is easy to stay 6 feet apart.  (And YES, we still have fun!)
  • We sanitize all equipment and materials.
  • We work in small groups.


Karen Chao  (I speak Mien y un poquito de español)