Upcoming nature events in Portland

It’s time to register for spring break and summer camps!
Nature-based spring break camps in the Portland area
Nature-based summer break camps in the Portland area

The Tillamook Forest Center is back open for the spring – check out their upcoming events

Hike series with Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hike series with Oregon Wild

Free Skills Series from Rewild Portland (every month)

November-June | Lunch with the Birds! | Hillsboro Parks & Recreation

Nov. 12-Aug. 29, 2015 | Exhibit: In the Footsteps of David Douglas | Washington County Museum

March 5 | Free Jon Young Talk! Why Bird Language? How Listening to the Language of Birds Awakens Nature Awareness | 8 Shields PDX

March 6 | Kids Nature Night Out: Frog Chorus | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

March 6-7 | National Day of Unlpugging

March 7 | Guided Nature Walk at Tualatin Hills Nature Park | THPRD

March 7 | 2015 Annual Owl Fest | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 8 | Guided Refuge Walk – Signs of Spring | Friends of the Refuge

March 9-15 | National Wildlife Week | NWF

March 10 | Lecture: California Condors in the Pacific Northwest | Oregon Wildlife

March 10 | Talk: Spring Hiking: 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland w/ Paul Gerald | REI Tualatin

March 12 | Lecture: Snags in Your Backyard: Creating Wildlife Habitat | Audubon Society of Portland

March 14 | Family Day (David Douglas) | Washington County Museum

March 14 | Nature Studies: Build a Birdhouse | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

March 14 | Rosewood Nature Discovery Day | City of Gresham

March 14 | Firsthand Oregon: Amphibian Viewing and Egg Mass Discovery | Oregon Wildlife

March 14 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

March 14 | Ecological Explorations – EcoPsychology | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 14 | Former Blue Heron Mill site tours | Willamette Falls Legacy Project

March 17 | Talk: Adam Sawyer on Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon | Lake Oswego Library

March 19 | Workshop: Rewilding for Human Flourishing | Lewis & Clark College

March 20 | Former Blue Heron Mill site tours | Willamette Falls Legacy Project

March 21 | International Day of Forests

March 21 | River Discovery Paddle Trip: Scappoose Bay | Willamette Riverkeeper

March 21 | Welcome Back Vulture Day | Leach Botanical Garden

March 21 | Audubon Story Time: Birds | Audubon Society of Portland

March 22 | Guided Nature Walk at Tualatin Hills Nature Park | THPRD

March 24 | Book talk: Tim Palmer on Field Guide to Oregon Rivers | Tigard Public Library

March 26 | Family-Friendly Nature Hike: Eagle Creek to Lower Punchbowl Falls | Friends of the Columbia Gorge

March 28 | Nature Days in the Park: Lowami Hart Woods | THPRD

March 28 | Reptiles and Amphibians Workshop | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

March 28 | Classroom Discovery Days – Bird House Building | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 28 | Nature Walk: Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge | Backyard Bird Shop

March 20 | Kids Nature Night Out: Care of Magical Creatures | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April | Let’s G.O.! Play Serve Celebrate | Children & Nature Network

April 1 | Lecture: Oregon’s Rivers | Oregon Wildlife

April 3 | Kids Nature Night Out: Pirates’ Treasure | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 3 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Grand Opening Celebration | Nadaka Nature Park

April 4 | Nature Studies: Spring Plant Walk | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Women in Science Day (Girl Scout program) | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 9 | Brunch with the Birds | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

April 11 | Critter Count | Columbia Spring

April 11-12 | Trillium Festival | Friends of Tryon Creek

April 12 | Nature Days in the Park: Greenway Park | THPRD

April 12 | Guided Refuge Walk – Birds, Nest, and Babies, Oh My! | Friends of the Refuge

April 17 | Kids Nature Night Out: Cat Prowl | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 18 | Bird Watching Discovery Hike | Forest Park Conservancy

April 18 | Nature Studies: Animal Tracking | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 18-25 | National Park Week | National Park Foundation

April 19-25 | National Environmental Education Week | NEEF

April 22 | Earth Day | Earth Day Network

April 22 | Author event: Thor Hanson on The Triumph of Seeds | Audubon Society of Portland

April 24 | Arbor Day | Arbor Day Foundation

April 24 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 25 | Save the Frogs Day | Save the Frogs

April 25 | Salmonids + Macroinvertebrates at Jenne Butte Park | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

April 30 | Bring Your Own Canoe Paddle | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

May | American Wetlands Month | EPA

May 1 | Kids Nature Night Out: Disappearing Act | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

May 2 | Kids Fishing Festival | Columbia Springs

May 2 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 4-10 | National Wildflower Week | Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

May 9 | International Migratory Bird Day | Environment for the Americas

May 9 | Brownie Day: The Wonders of Water at Greenway Park | THPRD

May 10 | Family Nature Walk at Elowah & Upper McCord Falls | Friends of the Columbia Gorge

May 10 | Guided Nature Walk | Friends of the Refuge

May 15 | Kids Nature Night Out: Treasure Hunt | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 16 | Kids to Parks Day | National Park Trust

May 16 | Grand Opening Celebration | Kʰunamokwst Park

May 16 | Children’s Nature Fair | Leach Botanical Garden

May 16 | Tualatin River Bird Festival | Friends of the Refuge

May 16 | Firsthand Oregon: Natuve Turtle Habitat Tour | Oregon Wildlife

May 16 | Winter Steelhead Release | Tillamook Forest Center

May 17 | Nature Studies: Birds of Cooper Mountain | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 21 | Evening Canoe the Slough | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

May 23 | Damselflies + Dragonflies at Fairview Creek Headwaters | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

May 31 | Talk: Christine Colasurdo on 35 Years later: Mt. St. Helens eruption | Garden Home Community Library

June | Great Outdoors Month  American Recreation Coalition

June 6 | National Trails Day   American Hiking Society

June 6 | Family Nature Fest | Columbia Springs

June 13 | National Get Outdoors Day   GetOutdoorsUSA!

June 13 | 2015 National Get Outdoors Day | Fort Vancouver

June 15-21 | National Pollinator Week   Pollinator Partnership

June 27 | Great American Backyard Campout   NWF

July-August | Tall ship visits to ports in the Columbia River Gorge | Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain

August 14-16 | Return from the Burn – A Step Back in Time Event | Tillamook State Forest

August 18-22 | Paddle Oregon | Willamette Riverkeeper

September 20 | Sunday Trailways: Waterhouse Linear Park | THPRD

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

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
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 Wednesday of every month
– $4 admission at the Oregon Zoo the second Tuesday of every month
– FREE admission at the Portland Art Museum the fourth Friday 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. March’s list is here.

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Nature-based camps for Summer 2015

I’ve been getting emails and seeing on Facebook that some places have already opened up registration for summer camps. I know, you’re thinking: we haven’t even hit Spring Break yet! But, for any parents who are looking to sign their child(ren) up for summer, here are places in the Portland area with awesome nature-based programs. Be sure to contact each place to find out about availability and prices! Please comment below if I have missed any…

Adventure WILD Summer Day Camp (supports Outdoor School)
Audubon Society of Portland
Columbia Springs
Franciscan Montessori Earth School
The Green Schoolhouse
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve
Leach Botanical Garden
Mount St. Helens Institute: Volcano Camp
Namanu Day Camp In The City
Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Oregon Zoo
Portland Children’s Museum
Portland Parks & Recreation
Rewild Portland
Sauvie Island Center
Trackers Earth PDX
Tryon Creek State Park
Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District
Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
Tualatin Riverkeepers
Zenger Farm

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Wednesday photo of the week: big binocs for little hands

Big binocs for little hands

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Monday thought of the week: part of the children’s daily existence

A thought:

Research tells us that human values and behaviors are driven more by emotion than intellect, so this suggests that the most powerful interactions with nature have more to do with a child’s heart than his/her head. This is best served by authentic experiences with nature: direct, hands-on, sensory explorations. The scale can be tiny, since to a child’s eyes even a vacant lot can be a wilderness. But to really be meaningful, the child must be directing engaged with real nature – whether it be climbing trees, digging a hole to China, tending a garden, or catching fireflies and rolly-pollies. In addition to this authentic interaction, children’s experiences with nature are most powerful when they are child-directed. That is, when the children decide what to do, what to explore, and how long to stay at it. This way, they take ownership of the interaction more than if their outdoor activities are strictly directed and controlled by adults whose agendas – although undoubtedly well-intended – may not match up with the children’s own desires and interests. Finally, frequency is an important component of children’s nature experiences. Once-a-year family vacations to spectacular national parks are great for everyone, but there is more bonding power to be found in daily and weekly nature explorations – even if only in the backyard, a tiny neighborhood creek, or a vacant lot or two. These repeated experiences foster a true sense of place – a deep familiarity with the land that is part of the children’s daily existence.

- Ken Finch, in “Making the Case for Nature Play: An Interview with Ken Finch,” ConserveLand.org (2013)

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Children at Nature Play Signs are now available!

IMG_1211

It’s official! Our Children at Nature Play signs are now available for order. We’re excited about all the interest we’ve received so far. At this point, we’ve sent out signs to:

- an environmental high school in Land O Lakes, WI (10 signs!)
– a nature preschool in Sanbornton, NH
– a daycare in Booneville, AR
– a botanic garden festival in Victoria, Australia
– an urban wildlife habitat advocate in Seattle, WA
– a salmon hatchery in British Columbia, Canada
– and two local purchases here in Portland, for a home and a school garden

For purchases in the US, signs are $29.95 (this includes shipping). Order here!

Email me at natureplaysign@gmail.com if:
– You are purchasing a sign to be shipped outside of the US, or
– You are in the Portland metro area and can pick up from me in SW Portland

Thank you to those who expressed interest in this project early on, liked our Facebook page, or ordered t-shirts. We appreciate your help in raising awareness about children and nature, one sign at a time.

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Wednesday photo of the week: stump play

Nature play at Camille Park

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Monday thought of the week: it is up to us

A thought:

Children do not get to choose their child-HOOD. It is up to us… the parents, educators, and mentors, to bring childhood back outside!

- Kenny Ballentine, Founder of The Nature Kids Institute

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Nature play signs available soon & t-shirt offerings

We’ll soon have our nature play signs up for sale at NaturePlaySign.com!

In the meantime, we have some more shirts available through Teespring.com. Each shirt design will be printed if we sell 5 of that design, with about a week left to order.

For the regular t-shirt/hoodie and dri-fit t-shirts for adults, click on this image:

adults

For the sign design for kids and some new nature play designs for kids, click on this image:

kids

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Upcoming nature events in Portland

It’s time to register for spring break camps! Nature-based spring break camps in the Portland area

Hike series with Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hike series with Oregon Wild

Free Skills Series from Rewild Portland (every month)

November-June | Lunch with the Birds! | Hillsboro Parks & Recreation

Nov. 12-Aug. 29, 2015 | Exhibit: In the Footsteps of David Douglas | Washington County Museum

Feb. 19-Mar. 5 | Celebrate Chinese New Year 2015—the Year of the Ram | Lan Su Chinese Garden

February 21 | Audubon Story Time: Raccoon on His Own | Audubon Society of Portland

February 21 | Annual Invasive Plant Species Survey at Columbia Springs | Columbia Springs

February 21 | Nature Studies: Beneficial Bees | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

February 21 | Park After Dark: Owl Prowl | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

February 22 | Owl Prowl at Tualatin Hills Nature Park | Backyard Bird Shop

February 24 | Workshop – Citizen Science: Expanding Science and Ecological Literacy | Northwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

February 28 | Spring Is In the Air! Discovery Hike | Forest Park Conservancy

February 28 | Wetland Birds | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

February 28 | Classroom Discovery Days – Owls of Tryon Creek | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 5 | Free Jon Young Talk! Why Bird Language? How Listening to the Language of Birds Awakens Nature Awareness | 8 Shields PDX

March 6 | Kids Nature Night Out: Frog Chorus | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

March 6-7 | National Day of Unlpugging

March 7 | 2015 Annual Owl Fest | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 10 | Lecture: California Condors in the Pacific Northwest | Oregon Wildlife

March 14 | Family Day (David Douglas) | Washington County Museum

March 14 | Nature Studies: Build a Birdhouse | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

March 14 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

March 14 | Ecological Explorations – EcoPsychology | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 14 | Former Blue Heron Mill site tours | Willamette Falls Legacy Project

March 20 | Former Blue Heron Mill site tours | Willamette Falls Legacy Project

March 21 | International Day of Forests

March 28 | Nature Days in the Park: Lowami Hart Woods | THPRD

March 28 | Reptiles and Amphibians Workshop | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

March 28 | Classroom Discovery Days – Bird House Building | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 20 | Kids Nature Night Out: Care of Magical Creatures | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 1 | Lecture: Oregon’s Rivers | Oregon Wildlife

April 3 | Kids Nature Night Out: Pirates’ Treasure | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 3 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Nature Studies: Spring Plant Walk | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Women in Science Day (Girl Scout program) | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 11 | Critter Count | Columbia Spring

April 11-12 | Trillium Festival | Friends of Tryon Creek

April 12 | Nature Days in the Park: Greenway Park | THPRD

April 17 | Kids Nature Night Out: Cat Prowl | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 18 | Bird Watching Discovery Hike | Forest Park Conservancy

April 18 | Nature Studies: Animal Tracking | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 24 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 25 | Salmonids + Macroinvertebrates at Jenne Butte Park | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

May 1 | Kids Nature Night Out: Disappearing Act | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

May 2 | Kids Fishing Festival | Columbia Springs

May 2 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 9 | Brownie Day: The Wonders of Water at Greenway Park | THPRD

May 15 | Kids Nature Night Out: Treasure Hunt | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 16 | Kids to Parks Day | National Park Trust

May 16 | Children’s Nature Fair | Leach Botanical Garden

May 16 | Tualatin River Bird Festival | Friends of the Refuge

May 17 | Nature Studies: Birds of Cooper Mountain | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 23 | Damselflies + Dragonflies at Fairview Creek Headwaters | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

June 6 | Family Nature Fest | Columbia Springs

July-August | Tall ship visits to ports in the Columbia River Gorge | Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain

August 18-22 | Paddle Oregon | Willamette Riverkeeper

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

Regular nature outings (check websites for seasonal scheduling): Nature Days in the Park and Nature Mobile from Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’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 (seasonal), Puddle Stompers at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (seasonal), Bird Walks for adults and kids through Backyard Bird Shop, free field trips with Audubon Society of Portland volunteers, Tadpole Tales with Columbia Slough Watershed Council (seasonal), Farm Fridays at Zenger Farm, and Second Saturdays at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, WA.

– $2 admission at OMSI the first Sunday of every month
– $3 admission at the World Forestry Center the first Wednesday of every month
– $4 admission at the Oregon Zoo the second Tuesday of every month
– FREE admission at the Portland Art Museum the fourth Friday 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. February’s list is here.

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Wednesday photo of the week: nature stroll

Hiker & salamander

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