Children's Forest 2015 Annual Report

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Envisioning a world in which every child is inspired by nature

Children’s Forest of Central Oregon Annual Report • 2014-2015


Jackie LaFrenz

(Board President) Bend La-Pine Schools

Powell Butte Charter School

Paul Andrews


High Desert Education Service District

Matt Mercer

Mike Elam

John McLaughlin

Bend Park and Recreation District

Redmond Area Park & Recreation District

Rika Nelson

Sean Ferrell

La Pine Middle School

Deschutes National Forest

Laura Handy Heart of Oregon Corps

Elaine Knobbs Mosaic Medical

Tory Kurtz Ochoco National Forest

Discover Your Forest

Robi Phinney

Kate Wells PacificSource Health Plans

Dana Whitelaw High Desert Museum

Kolleen Yake (Vice President) Upper Deschutes Watershed Council

What childhood experiences stand out in your memory? For us, we couldn’t imagine growing up without camping in the backyard, exploring the neighborhood with friends, or hiking with our families. While many Central Oregon children grow up with these opportunities, a growing number are spending less and less time outdoors. And the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need. The Children’s Forest was created in 2011 to ensure that each and every child in Central Oregon gets the chance to engage with the wonder, science, and adventure of nature. Our powerful network of partners develops and implements innovative strategies that get more and more kids each year learning, exploring, and recreating outside. We hope that you join us in supporting our ambitious mission.

Sincerely, Bruce Abernethy, Board Chair

OUR GOALS Through meaningful engagement with nature ALL children and youth: • Learn and achieve at their fullest potential • Attain optimal health • Develop an ethic of environmental stewardship • Develop a lifelong connection with the natural world

ACCOMPLISHMENTS Winner of the National Award U.S. Forest Service Chief’s Award for Engaging Youth

15,507 1,100 340 + 52 16,999

students learning in nature participants at family programs youth engaged in leadership experiences participants in our after school program total participants in 2014-2015

139% 22 increase in students learning in nature since 2011

partners in the Children’s Forest network, including 2 National Forests

Total Participation in Children’s Forest Partner Education Programs

40000 30000 20000 10000




Number of Students



Student Days in Nature

FIELD-BASED EDUCATION PROGRAMS The Children’s Forest believes that all children and youth benefit from experiences in the outdoors and that nature-based curriculum strengthens and diversifies core education programs. Collectively, our partners offer 27 different education programs on a wide variety of topics, reaching 15,507 K-12 students in 2014-2015. The Children’s Forest adds value to the work of our partners by providing services to schools. We address barriers to attending field trips, raise awareness about the benefits of outdoor learning, and fundraise to expand and develop programs for underserved communities.

TEACHER WORKSHOPS 161 TEACHERS The Children’s Forest offers professional development workshops for teachers, designed to provide skills for leading hands-on outdoor lessons. This initiative is critical for building capacity, as it empowers teachers to engage their students in field-based learning on a more regular basis.

91% of participants led outdoor activities with their students this school year.

SERVICES TO SCHOOLS School Engagement Fund 6,857 STUDENTS Provides funding for substitute and transporation costs for field trips, so that any school can access outdoor learning.

Resource Co-op 2,600 STUDENTS Lending library for field equipment with kits for water quality studies, birding, plant ID, and more.

Inclusion Assistance Partnering with Bend Park and Recreation District to adapt field programs for students with special needs, to ensure that every child can participate.

FAMILY AND HEALTH The Children’s Forest seeks to improve health outcomes in youth by providing opportunities that lead to more time spent outdoors. We believe that time spent in nature is essential to mental and physical well-being, and that it provides an important alternative to screen time, which can be addictive and unhealthy for children.

DISCOVER NATURE DAYS 1,100 PARTICIPANTS Discover Nature Days are free family programs offered in local parks that engage children and families with the outdoors. Programs are offered by Children’s Forest partners and include hands-on science activities, crafts, active games, and more.

KIDS ON-THE-MOVE! 52 PARTICIPANTS Kids On-the-Move is a free after-school program providing active outdoor activities, offered in partnership with Bend Park and Recreation District. The program includes health screenings, family outings, nature education, and tons of outdoor fun.

FAMILY TIME OUTSIDE 3,000 FAMILIES Family Time Outside is a marketing campaign that provides resources about free outdoor family programs, health benefits of time in nature, and safety tips. Brochures are distributed through medical providers, community organizations, and schools.

CAREER PATHWAYS Through partnerships and innovative collaboration, the Children’s Forest strives to foster leadership skills in youth, promote a sense of stewardship for public lands, and provide access to potential natural resource career paths.

YOUTH LEADERSHIP 317 YOUTH Several Children’s Forest partners including Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and Camp Tamarack offer meaningful leadership experiences to high school students who participate in stewardship projects, share their projects with the community, or serve as counselors for Outdoor School participants.

INTERNSHIPS 12 YOUTH The Children’s Forest offers paid internships to high school and college students to gain first-hand experiences in environmental education, recreation, or natural resources with Children’s Forest partners.

YOUNG WOMEN’S NATURAL RESOURCES CAREER CAMP 11 YOUTH Discover Your Forest, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service offers a free 3-day camp introducing young women from Central Oregon to careers in natural resources. The camp also includes recreation activities, goal-setting, and networking with mentors.



The Children’s Forest works to ensure that all children, including those with disabilities, can access outdoor programs through the following strategies: • ADA rennovations to Skyliners Lodge • Audits of programs and sites for accessibility • Greenhouses to Greenscapes, with Discover Your Forest, in which life skills students grow native plants for restoration projects


Total Revenue = $183,767

MAJOR FUNDERS Forest Service

Deschutes National Forest


Ochoco National Forest

Donations, Sponsorships, Events

Gray Family Foundation

Other Partner Funds

Phoenix Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation

Maybelle Clark MacDonald

Bend-La Pine School District

EXPENSE In addition to $89,588 in personnel costs, Children’s Forest expenses include:

Services to Schools

High Desert Education Service District St. Charles Health System Mt. Bachelor


Surdna Foundation


Redmond School District

Marketing & Fundraising

Kids In The Game Diack Ecology Fund

Total Expenses = $142,282

Miller Lumber

THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS The Children’s Forest believes that collaboration is essential to our success and that together we can do more to serve the children and youth of Central Oregon. Bend-La Pine Schools Bend Park and Recreation District Camp Fire Central Oregon Camp Tamarack Central Oregon Pediatric Associates City of Redmond Deschutes National Forest Discover Your Forest Heart of Oregon Corps High Desert Education Service District High Desert Museum Mosaic Medical Ochoco National Forest Oregon Park and Recreation Department Redmond Area Park and Recreation District Redmond School District Sisters School District Sunriver Nature Center The Environmental Center Trout Unlimited Upper Deschutes Watershed Council Wildheart Nature School

63095 Deschutes Market Road Bend, OR 97701