Wednesday photo of the week: rosy cheeks


Rosy cheeks on a trip to Crater Lake National Park last weekend, where my son used his Every Kid in a Park pass:


Posted in crater lake national park, every kid in a park, national parks, photo of the week, snow, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday thought of the week: expectations

A thought:

Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.

– David Suzuki, “Outdoor fun is good for kids and the planet,” David Suzuki Foundation (July 22, 2010)

Posted in "david suzuki", environment, parenting, thoughts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wednesday photo of the week: every kid in a park

The new federal program to provide a free National Parks pass* to every 4th grader in the country is called Every Kid in a Park. Visit to sign your 4th grader up, and they can exchange their online printed pass for a nice card like Patrick is holding below. The passes are good for the student’s family as well, and last through September 2016. My son got his at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a quick visit for Portland families. You can follow Every Kid in a Park on Facebook, too!


* The passes are good for all federal public lands, not just National Park Service sites, such as the US Forest Service, and the national wildlife refuge system. Learn more about all the participating agencies here.

Posted in education, national parks, photo of the week, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday thought of the week: nature’s original

A thought:

A sense of curiosity is nature’s original school of education.

– Smiley Blanton

Posted in curiosity, education, thoughts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Upcoming nature events in Portland

Winter break is coming – here are nature based option for kids

Fall programming from the Tillamook Forest Center

Fall hike series with the Forest Park Conservancy

Hike series with Portland branch of Hike It Baby

Hike series with Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hike series with Oregon Wild

Fall nature programming from THPRD

Fall nature programming from the Friends of Tryon Creek

Free Skills Series from Rewild Portland (every month)

Autumn bird walks with Backyard Bird Shop (p. 5)

October-November | Exhibit: Forest Art | World Foresty Center

Oct. 10-Jan. 10, 2016 | Exhibit – Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection | Portland Art Museum

November 15 | Nature Days in the Park: A.M. Kennedy Park | THPRD

November 16 | Urban Coyote Talk | Friends of Nadaka Nature Park

November 19 | Book talk: Jack Nesbit on Ancient Places: People and Landscape in the Pacific Northwest | Powell’s City of Books

November 20 | Film: Designing America & Portland: The Olmsted Legacy | Portland Parks & Recreation

November 21 | Guided Nature Walk | Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

November 21-22 | Wild Arts Festival | Audubon Society of Portland

November 22 | Thanksgiving Walk at Oxbow Regional Park | Metro

November 23 | Give feedback on The Intertwine’s new Daycation App from 3-5pm on the first floor of the David Evans & Associates building (2100 SW River Pkwy, Suite 450 Portland, OR 97201) | The Intertwine

December 2 | Owl Prowl | Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

December 9 | Our Common Ground Film Series: The Olmsted Vision: Past, Present and Future | The Intertwine

December 19 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

December 20 | Winter Solstice Walk at Canemah Bluff Nature Park | Metro

January 9 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

February 20 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

Regular nature outings (check websites for seasonal scheduling):
Nature Days in the Park and Nature Mobile from THPRD’s Natural Resources
Honeybee Hikes at Leach Botanical Garden
Story and Strolls and Guided Nature Walks at Tryon Creek State Park
Ladybug Nature Walks with Portland Parks & Recreation
Puddle Stompers at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
Bird Walks for adults and kids through Backyard Bird Shop
Audubon Story Time (1st/3rd Saturdays starting May 2nd
Free field trips with Audubon Society of Portland volunteers
Tadpole Tales with Columbia Slough Watershed Council
Farm Fridays at Zenger Farm
Second Saturdays at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, WA
Tillamook Tales at the Tillamook Forest Center

Did you know?
– $2 admission at OMSI the first Sunday of every month
– $3 admission at the World Forestry Center the first Thursday of every month
– $4 admission at the Oregon Zoo the second Tuesday of every month
– FREE admission at the Portland Art Museum the first Thursday of every month, 5-8pm
– FREE admission at the Portland Children’s Museum the first Friday of every month, 4-8pm
– FREE admission at the Oregon Historical Society & Museum every day for Multnomah County residents

*My friend Laura posts a monthly listing of kid and family-friendly events of natural, scientific, and cultural interest. November’s list is here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weekend guided hike in Forest Park

Last Saturday, the kids and I joined a small group of folks for a guided hike in Forest Park, led by Marcy Houle, author of One City’s Wilderness: Portland’s Forest Park. She was a bona fide expert on this park – sharing so much about its history and features. The walk was put on by the Forest Park Conservancy (check here for upcoming hike opportunities). We started on Firelane 7 at the Springville Road parking area, then took the Trillium Trail to the Wildwood Trail. My daughter got tired and fussy, so while the rest of the group continued on, we cut back early via the Oil Lane Road trail back to Firelane 7. We had a good time, but we were definitely tired by the end. Enjoy the photos!

IMG_4722 IMG_4724 IMG_4725 IMG_4726

Witch’s Butter fungus:IMG_4728 IMG_4729

I often fall behind to take photos.IMG_4731 IMG_4732

Xylaria hypoxylon (stag’s horn fungus):

IMG_4734 IMG_4735

Marcy reading from One City’s Wilderness:IMG_4737 IMG_4738 IMG_4740 IMG_4741 IMG_4742 IMG_4743 IMG_4746 IMG_4747 IMG_4748

We came across this and another stick fort:IMG_4749 IMG_4750 IMG_4752 IMG_4754

My daughter conked out on my back:IMG_4757 IMG_4758 IMG_4759 IMG_4762 IMG_4763

And a banana slug:IMG_4764

Warming up in the car before driving home:IMG_4766

Posted in forest park, hiking | Leave a comment

Wednesday photo of the week: warrior cat at the Seattle Zoo

Last week we visited the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. There they have a fantastic nature play area, which brought out the Warrior Cat in my 9-year-old:


Posted in nature play, photo of the week, travel | Leave a comment

Monday thought of the week: for many reasons

A thought:

I take the boys outside for many reasons. Mostly we are in search of sunshine and a way to burn off some boundless toddler energy before nap time. But I also want my sons to breathe fresh air, exercise growing bodies, and give them the confidence that comes with scaling a mountain. I want them to know the difference between a robin and a red-winged blackbird, and to appreciate both the might and the delicacy of nature. I want them to be a part of the world we live in.

– Jackie Semmens, “‘Rocks in the Water’ and Other Life Lessons,” Outdoor Family Magazine (November 7, 2015)

Posted in thoughts | Leave a comment

BOOK: Sharing Nature: Nature Awareness Activities for All Ages

Whether you’re raising your children to be outdoor kids, teaching students at a school, or instilling a love for nature through environmental education programs at a nature center, you’ve likely come across educator Joseph Cornell’s well-respected guides to nature connection. His classic Sharing Nature with Children, first published in 1979 and later editions undoubtedly well-worn in the backpacks of educators and parents, promoted a dynamic immersion in nature approach that was fun, not the static point and look and then move on style that had dominated environmental education.

Now, Cornell has published a new rewritten guide, combining the most favorite activities from the first book and a second volume, Sharing Nature with Children II.

Joseph Cornell, Sharing Nature: Nature Awareness Activities for All Ages (Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity Publishers, 2015), 216 pp. Foreword by Richard Louv.

Publisher’s description Sharing Nature with Children sparked a worldwide revolution in nature education. Now that classic has been completely rewritten, with many added new activities—and combined with Sharing Nature with Children II—to make a treasury of some of Joseph’s best-loved nature games for children and adults, in one complete volume. Essential, easy to use, Sharing Nature is nature awareness made simple, and an extraordinary resource for anyone who would like to get in touch with the land, trees, and mountains. Give a friend or a child an experience of Nature he will remember the rest of his life.

The book includes over 50 games and activities organized in four sections focusing on enthusiasm, attention, direct experience, and inspiration, using Cornell’s “Flow Learning” technique, which is “based on universal principles of awareness and on how we learn and mature as human beings.” The part of the book gives an overview of Flow Learning, while the various games and activities follow.

On Cornell’s website, you can learn more about his technique, view sample activities, and learn about his other books and upcoming events and programs.

Posted in books, education, parenting | Leave a comment


A couple of weeks ago, my three-year-old daughter and I went for a walk at a nearby state park. While we walked and took note of sounds in the forest and collected handfuls of leaves to then turn around and toss into the air, we passed by a grandfather and grandson also out for a walk. The young boy, a little younger than my daughter perhaps, held a big stick in his hand. He scouted out every mole hill along the edge of the trail he could find, and proceeded to smack the stick down hard on the top of each hill, leveling the dirt down. His grandpa saw me watching him, and offered that his grandson was a warrior that saved the people from monsters that dug up from under the ground – smashing the hills closed their tunnels.

Sticks are amazing natural toys. Every one is different, they are accessible to all, and what they mean to each child varies unimaginably.

A new children’s book from silhouette artist Clay Rice explores the value of sticks. In the simply titled The Stick (Sanger, CA: Familius, 2014, 32 pp.), a young boy with no toys and no friends notices a stick under a tree at a park and picks it up. Immediately we are shown – by way of clever silhouettes – all the various things the boy becomes: a pirate, a baseball player, a knight, a fisherman, and more. He carries the stick everywhere he went, and as he grows older, lessons he learns lead him to be a generous person. He becomes wealthy and eventually has a house overlooking the park from his childhood. As an old man, he visits the park with his stick, and one day notices a girl siting alone under the same tree. He decides to give up his stick, and places it under the tree for the girl.

The Stick shows the importance of play with simple materials (Wired once included sticks on their list of top five toys of all time) and their power to excite imagination. Also, this book stresses a multi-generational connection for instilling a love for nature. Although this young girl never meets the old man, it it through his wisdom and experience that she is introduced to the power of a stick.


For my readers in Oregon, here’s a another book from the same publisher that mightbe of interest:

From the publisher: “From the Astoria Column and Crater Lake to Tillamook Cheese and Powell’s Books, these 10 Little Monsters discover some of the most unique and interesting things about Oregon and what it has to offer. Silly, over-the-top fun, and a bit macabre, 10 Little Monsters Visit Oregon is the perfect book for every little boy and ghoul!”

Posted in books, nature play | Leave a comment