2015-2016 Annual Report

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2015-2016 Annual Report Children’s Forest of Central Oregon

Envisioning a world in which every child is inspired by nature

Dear Friends and Supporters,

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2016-2017 Bruce Abernethy Bend La-Pine Schools

Paul Andrews High Desert Education Service District

Mike Elam Redmond Area Park & Recreation District

Sean Ferrell Deschutes National Forest

Laura Handy (Vice Chair) Heart of Oregon Corps

Elaine Knobbs Mosaic Medical

Tory Kurtz Ochoco National Forest

Jackie LaFrenz Powell Butte Charter School

John McLaughlin At-large

Matt Mercer Bend Park and Recreation District

Rika Nelson Discover Your Forest

Robi Phinney La Pine Middle School

Kate Wells PacificSource Health Plans

Dana Whitelaw High Desert Museum

Kolleen Miller (Board Chair) Upper Deschutes Watershed Council

The Children’s Forest believes that much of childhood should be spent outdoors. All children are natural explorers and observers and being in the outdoors allows so many opportunities for asking questions, being creative, challenging oneself, and learning about the world around us. The Children’s Forest was created because many of us are concerned that kids are spending too much time indoors, especially with screen time increasingly becoming a part of childhood. When the idea of the Children’s Forest came about, the founding principle was that we wanted to reach each and every kid growing up in Central Oregon. Our vision is that “every child is inspired by nature to become a healthy individual and create a sustainable future”. In order to realize this vision, the Children’s Forest has set out to provide a wealth of opportunities for kids across Central Oregon to get outside. Knowing that no single organization could do this alone, we’ve assembled a coalition of 23 diverse community partners that share our vision for Central Oregon’s youth. We are excited to have a strong, growing, and committed network that works together so that each year we are reaching more and more kids. Thank you for your continued support and join us as we look to 2017 and beyond. Sincerely,

Bruce Abernethy Board Chair, 2012-2016






We want to thank all of our partners who each play a special role in connecting our youth to the natural world. It is through these partnerships that we are able to better reach the children and families of Central Oregon through a continuum of outdoor opportunities for all ages. 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 Middle Deschutes Watershed Council Mosaic Medical Ochoco National Forest Oregon Park and Recreation Department Redmond School District

Redmond Area Park and Recreation District Sisters School District Sunriver Nature Center The Environmental Center Trout Unlimited Upper Deschutes Watershed Council Wildheart Nature School

Photo: 2016 Children’s Forest Annual Partner Meeting 50000

Total Participation in Children’s Forest Partner Education Programs



Number of Students 20000

Student Days in Nature








2 0 1 5- 2 01 6 H I G H L IGHT S NATUREHOODS EDUCATION PROGRAM The Children’s Forest launched a new NatureHoods education program this year with support from an AmeriCorps member. The program reached over 700 students this school year, who participated in a four week series in which they learned about their local parks and natural areas, along with science concepts tied to grade level standards. The program targeted K-2 students across Central Oregon, as this age group has been one of our underserved audiences.

WATERSHED EDUCATION The Children’s Forest received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to expand watershed education and stewardship projects in the Deschutes Watershed. Through partnerships with Upper Deschutes, Middle Deschutes, and Crooked River Watershed Councils, 800 students will participate in education and stewardship projects on Whychus Creek, Willow Creek, and McKay Creek during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. Additionally, we will be coordinating a tri-county Watershed Summit in which students share the stories of their local rivers and their stewardship projects.

DISCOVER NATURE FESTIVAL In September 2015, the Children’s Forest hosted the first annual Discover Nature Festival in Riverbend Park in Bend. The festival featured over 35 nature education and outdoor recreation activities offered by 20 community partners. Activities included canoeing, archery, live birds and reptiles, nature arts and crafts, fly casting practice, a bike rodeo and much more. The event was attended by over 3,000 participants.

CAREER PATHWAYS The Children’s Forest works collaboratively with our partners to foster leadership skills in youth and offer programs that introduce them to potential careers in natural resources and foster a sense of stewardship. This year, 12 youth participated in internships with Children’s Forest partners, 12 young women participated in the Natural Resources Career Camp, and 208 high school students served as student leaders at Outdoor School with Camp Tamarack.

E D U C AT I O N P R OGR AM S & S E R VIC ES 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. Our network of partners offers over 30 different types of field trip opportunities for Central Oregon students and the Children’s Forest has worked hard to address barriers that teachers and schools face to outdoor learning. We have developed a suite of resources that help schools access these programs including funding for transportation, an equipment lending library, and training for teachers. Our network reached 16,862 K-12 students through educational field trips in 2015-2016.

BY THE NUMBERS Increase in the number of students participating in outdoor learning since 2011

FOCUS ON MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL Over the past two years, the Children’s Forest has targeted middle and high school students, an underserved group in Central Oregon. Through the development of new programs and collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, 4,230 middle and high school students participated in field experiences this year, a 346% increase from 2013.

157% 155



The Children’s Forest reached 38 K-12 teachers through 20 hour workshops that provided skills for leading outdoor investigations with their students. New this year, each participant was paired up with a coach that provided follow-up support to facilitate outdoor learning with their students. Teachers led projects ranging from forest plots to bird counts to habitat surveys and more.

97% 3,098

Photo: Training for K-5th grade teachers at Smith Rock State Park

Field trips supported by the School Engagement Fund

Percentage of Central Oregon 5th or 6th graders that attended Outdoor School

Percentage of teacher training participants who led field experiences with their students

Students utilizing equipment from the Resource Co-op

FA M I LY A N D H E A LT H P R OGR AM S The Children’s Forest seeks to improve the health of our youth by providing opportunities that lead to more time spent outdoors. We believe that time spent in nature is essential to well-being, and that it provides an important alternative to screen time, which can be addictive and unhealthy for children.

KIDS ON-THE-MOVE Since 2013, the Children’s Forest has partnered with Bend Park and Recreation District to offer our free after-school program, Kids On-the-Move. In 2016, we expanded to Ensworth Elementary and Lava Ridge Elementary, reaching a total of 75 participants. The goal of Kids On-the-Move is to get kids active and outdoors after school through nature exploration, active games, and team-building activities. The program also features special activities with Children’s Forest partners and a health screening with Mosaic Medical. “I can't give enough positive feedback about this wonderful program. Thank you so much for this amazing program that encourages children to get outside and explore, as well as actively participate and learn while engaging with their peers.” -Kids On-the-Move parent

DISCOVER NATURE DAYS In 2015-2016, the Children’s Forest expanded our family programs to reach more families than ever. Discover Nature Days are free family events with special themes facilitated by Children’s Forest partners. Programs include hands-on science activities, nature exploration, crafts, and games. Discover Nature Days reached 480 participants through 10 events throughout Central Oregon.

INCLUSION SPOTLIGHT One of the core values of the Children’s Forest is for our outdoor programs to be accessible to all youth, including those with disabilities. In 2015-2016 we focused on several strategies that helped to improve access for all kids. • Completion of an ADA ramp and restroom improvements at Skyliners Lodge to allow safe access to one of the most frequently used outdoor sites. • Inclusion audits of three key programs, evaluating their effectiveness in serving students with disabilities. • Expansion of the Greenhouses to Greenscapes program to three high schools, providing life skills students skills for growing plants and restoring public lands.

2015 - 2016 FIN ANC IALS REVENUE MAJOR FUNDERS Deschutes National Forest Environmental Protection Agency Gray Family Foundation Bend-La Pine School District High Desert Education Service District Oregon Community Foundation Forest Service


Ochoco National Forest

Other Partner Funds

Donations, Sponsorships, Events

Bend Foundation Mt. Bachelor, Inc.

Total Revenue = $237,765

Anonymous Redmond School District Bend Park & Recreation District


The Gear Fix Crook County School District The Tetherow Foundation of the Oregon Community Foundation Douglas Crary Laidlaw Charitable Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation St. Charles Health System


Services to Schools


Marketing, Fundraising, Admin

Facilities & ADA Improvements

Total Expenses = $219,165

IN-KIND Children’s Forest partners contribute approximately $500,000 in-kind annually.

PacificSource Sisters School District Riverside Animal Hospital Bruce Abernethy PacifiCorp Duncan and Cynthia Campbell Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation Linda Bonotto Paul and Jenny Andrews

The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon provides a network of outdoor places and programs dedicated to moving all children along a continuum of learning, exploration, and healthy living through engagement with nature.

Children’s Forest of Central Oregon 63095 Deschutes Market Road Bend, OR 97701 (541) 383-5592 childrensforestco.org

A proud partner of the U.S. Forest Service

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