Why is Metro involved with outdoor school?
One of Metro’s primary goals is to promote sustainability in our region, including protecting and restoring the environment through waste reduction. Although residents of the metro region are recycling more, the total amount of waste discarded has continued to rise, highlighting the need to educate and engage young people – the decision-makers of tomorrow – in protecting the health of our environment.
Research shows that outdoor science education programs offer students opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in ways that add value to their everyday experiences, showing direct cause and effect of their actions, as well as having a positive effect on their long-term memory because of the memorable nature of the setting. Enhancing the waste reduction education these students receive in an on-site, hands-on environment strengthens the lessons being taught, helping to increase behaviors related to environmental sustainability.
Unfortunately not all schools participate in outdoor school programs because of funding concerns despite the creation of the statewide outdoor school program in 2016 which offers at least partial funding to public school students. Providing funding for up to one full day of education at outdoor school will financially assist school districts and private schools to participate and/or encourage them to expand their participation from a three- or four-day program to a full six-day program. In addition, waste reduction education will be taught to sixth grade students throughout the region, inspiring a future generation to protect the environment.
Is my school district eligible for this program?
The following public school districts are currently eligible for reimbursement when participating in the waste reduction education at outdoor immersion programs:
- Clackamas County: Estacada, Gladstone, Lake Oswego, North Clackamas, Oregon City, West Linn-Wilsonville and Boring Middle School from Oregon Trail District
- Multnomah County: Centennial, David Douglas, Gresham Barlow, Parkrose, Portland, Reynolds and Riverdale
- Washington County: Beaverton, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Sherwood, Tigard-Tualatin
How do I sign my school up for this program?
If your school is eligible (i.e., located within the Metro boundary) and participates in outdoor school with an approved provider, your school or school district will automatically receive a credit of $73.75 for each sixth grade student attending outdoor school. The three approved outdoor school providers are:
Multnomah Education Service District
Contact: Jennifer Basham, Coordinator
Northwest Regional Education Service District
Contact: John Jackson, Supervisor
Gladstone School District
(program is for Gladstone students only)
For more information, contact Alison Heimowitz at [email protected].