Environmental Happenings In Oregon

Local Educators Integrate Sustainability into Education

Twenty educators from public and private schools in Central Oregon gathered at The Environmental Center last week to prepare to integrate sustainability into their teaching and prepare their buildings to reduce waste and energy use. The training program was provided with funding from the Gray Family Foundation and was designed to give teachers the tools and support to make changes at their schools with students on a green team. This cohort will meet two more times throughout the 2015-2016 school year to share their successes and challenges with creating sustainable schools and get ideas from one another on how to make their schools’ use of waste and energy sustainable. The training will culminate with a Green Schools Showcase in May when the Green Teams will come together to celebrate and share their successes.

For more information about this teacher training, please contact Jackie Wilson at jackie@envirocenter.org

Day-long field trips allow fifth and sixth graders experience the diverse terrain of near-shore environments and take home a new perspective of their coastal home

How does the ocean influence you, and how do you influence the ocean?

If you’re a fifth or sixth grader living on the coast in Lincoln County, there are few better places to discover this than the Beaver Creek Natural Area, part of South Beach State Park.

Here Oregon State Parks has established a biologically rich learning laboratory where trained staff lead about 120 students each year in hands-on exploration of the near-shore environments.

A 2014 grant from the Gray Family Foundation helped transform the Beaver Creek’s welcome center into a state-of-the-art Learning Center. Additions include a native plant nursery, greenhouse, laboratory, and theater.

Students begin at the welcome center, and then have the opportunity to explore a lowland tidal marsh and take water samples back to the lab. Later they can hike up to the highlands and get spectacular views of the Oregon and coast range—all in one day.

Experiencing this diverse terrain firsthand helps students grasp the complexity and connections of near-shore environments, and how past land use decisions have affected the landscape over time.

“Most of these students have never experienced a true outdoor educational program, or understand the functions of their environment in which they live,” says Dani Padilla, Park Ranger for South Beach State Park. “This program will help provide the opportunity for students from all incomes and backgrounds to explore and discover the wonders of nature.” 

Ed Jensen Hosts Successful Tree and Shrub Walks in Portland and Corvallis

Every year, the City of Portland hosts Arbor Month to draw attention to the 1.5 million trees in city limits! Ed Jensen conducted trips at Hoyt Arboretum in Portland co-sponsored by Portland Parks, Hoyt Arboretum, and World Forest Center; at Tryon Creek State Park in Lake Oswego (where RRM grad Deb Hill is the park ranger); at Peavy Hall for the Corvallis Natural Areas Coalition; and at Bald Hill for the Corvallis Greenbelt Land Trust. High attendance and favorable responses at these events suggest that they are an important way for the College to connect with local communities.