What we Do
To develop capacity in our community for environmental education we:
Integrate outdoor learning activities with academic content in K-12, non-formal and adult education
Develop infrastructure & protocols to support learning at outdoor sites
Identify funding to cover program costs and transportation
Build connections and partnerships to develop a broad base of support for outdoor education across the community
Our curriculum is guided by four themes that allow us to capture a diverse array of interests as well as provide multiple perspectives on human interactions with nature.
The Natural World
Examine ecosystems, watershed, soils, plants and wildlife through scientific inquiry.
Garden to Table
Explore cultural connections to land and place through growing, foraging, preparing and sharing food.
Engage in creative design for a future in which natural resources are used responsibly.
Health & Well-being
Experience the art of living well through yoga, reflection, poetry, craft while developing self-awareness and building community.
Fill out the contact form and let us know how we can help create a learning experience that your students won't forget!
On any given day, participants might rotate through activities such as testing water samples, planting trees, recording observations, drawing insects, harvesting and grinding masa for tortillas, playing games, hiking trails, designing a homestead, or dyeing t-shirts, making paper, and building a trellis from materials harvested on site. We work with learners of all ages.
School's IN: For Students
We are working with the Creative Alternative Learning Center (CALC) to offer a Leadership by Design course where students practice the process of envisioning change, developing effective plans for achieving that change, and then efficiently putting those plans into action through hands-on practice. Sustainability concepts are embedded throughout the curriculum, as are a consideration of community relationships, collaborative methodologies, leadership qualities, and civic-minded social practices.
Led by Charlie Graham, the Forest Grove Roots & Shoots club has a 20 year history of bringing students outdoors to learn about our natural environment and the community it supports. EdenAcres provides teaching assistants, curricular activities, and organizational planning for many Roots & Shoots activities.
Roots&Shoots is Jane Goodall Institute’s environmental / humanitarian international program for youth. The goals include designing and implementing projects that improve the environment, improve the world for animals (wild and domestic), and improve our human community. Our Tom McCall Roots&Shoots group works in all these realms with a wide variety of projects. We are stewards of a forested area on campus, enhancing it with native plants and a butterfly garden. We were awarded a “Green Flag School” designation for our work to increase recycling and a provide an overall healthier school environment. Each year we play a major role in the community celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Pacific University, with our Giant Peace Dove puppets and other projects promoting peace. One of our favorite projects is making edible necklaces as an enrichment for sanctuary chimpanzees at Chimps, Inc in Bend, Oregon. Whenever Jane Goodall comes to Oregon, we play a major part in organizing and participating in a statewide “Summit” to welcome her. In recent years we have taken an interest in the issues of food production that has led us to permaculture projects at Pacific University’s B-Street farm and Nana Cardoon urban learning center.
School's IN: For Teachers
Want to get your students out of school but don't have transportation available? We can help! Choose one of our traveling programs and we will bring outdoor learning activities to your school.
We offer custom-designed activities to fit your programming needs. Some of our clients include Roots and Shoots, Forest Grove Community School, Fernhill Elementary, and Adelante Chicas. Contact us to see how we can help you get your students learning outdoors!
Watch the garden grow at Harvey Clarke!
Video by: Machelle Childers (1st grade) and Mindy Perkins (4th grade)
In order to support schools and teachers wishing to take advantage of the many benefits outdoor learning provides, we've teamed up with the Dairy Creek Community Food Web and Pacific University to provide the three elements we believe are essential to a good school garden:
Professional development and community building for teachers using gardens
Equipment, supplies, and personpower for installing and maintaining the gardens themselves
A coordinator to manage and organize garden activities across schools.
Through courses and policies that promote civic engagement, Pacific University encourages faculty and students to participate in community activities. Many students have contributed to the development of school gardens in a variety of ways. Their efforts are a significant factor in our garden successes.
As described in this recent article in the FG NEwsTmes, Dairy Creek Community Food Web has been active in its pursuit of grants to help fund our shared interests with school gardens. With their help, we've been able to hire a School Garden Coordinator (Colleen Walker) to help manage professional development activities for teachers, and build and maintain gardens at schools. We will continue to advocate with the school district for a permanent funding source for this very important position but in the meantime, we appreciate the amazing work being done by our partners at DCCFW!
EdenAcres and Dairy Creek Community Food Web have teamed up to host our monthly Garden Educator Meetups. Each meeting provides professional development opportunities, guest speakers, and/or resource support for our community of teachers and volunteers dedicated to growing garden-based learning in our schools.
We've allocated significant funding towards designing, installing, and maintaining school gardens. Teachers can easily access these funds through our garden reimbursement forms.
Our School Garden Coordinator is focused on facilitating classroom access to school gardens. By delivering Common Core/NGSS/STEAM aligned garden-based curriculum, garden maintenance support, curriculum resources for educators, and after school club opportunities, our Garden Coordinator works to develop a rich relationship between each school and their garden.
School's OUT: For Parents
If you have a homeschooler, this program is made for you. Join is as we spend the day outdoors having fun, getting dirty, and learning lots! Our Forest School program is ongoing and we still have a few spots open. Read below for what one of our satisfied customers has to say about her son's experience:
"Eden Acres is hands-down my son's all-time favorite homeschooling activity. Every day he asks if it's an “Eden Acres” day, (he attends twice per week) and eagerly counts down the days until he can return. Fallon (aka “Falcon”) Harris is the director, whose mission is to provide a unique full-day multi-age environmental education program specifically for homeschoolers.
Fallon, along with her competent staff, facilitate fort and wigwam building, fire-making, plant identification, knife-safety and whittling skills, bow and arrow making, and nature journal observations, among other activities. They learn community-building through group games and discussions, that extend even to economic models put into practice through the exchange of wood-chip “currency” for the acquisition of bows, arrows or wood for building, and even property and land management for future fort construction.
My son has ample opportunity to apply his engineering and math spatial skills to design and execute the building of multi-story forts and climbable structures. He is always eager to start his day and comes home proud of his accomplishments. This program is great for boosting self-confidence and competence.
His only complaint is that he cannot attend Eden Acres every day of the year."
In Our Community
We work with faculty across disciplines to develop and deliver experiential activities for students that directly address course learning goals. Course examples include:
Permaculture Design Science
Food for Thought and Action
Art: Design for Sustainability
Education: Outdoor Classroom Design
We are partnering with Dairy Creek Community Food Web to fund a garden coordinator for the Forest Grove School District.
Nana Cardoon is offering an exciting line-up of adult classes this spring. Check out the schedule and sign up for something fun! Nana Cardoon also hosts our food-focused summer cooking camps.