Annual Report 2017-2018

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Uniting our community to inspire lifelong connections to nature for all kids

Dear Friends and Supporters, 2017-2018 has been another incredible year of bringing inspiring and transformative experiences in nature to kids across Central Oregon. We’ve strengthened our commitment to providing outdoor experiences to those who might not otherwise have these opportunities, with projects that range from nature programs for young families to field trips for low-income schools to supporting new programs that get Latino kids and families outdoors. The Children’s Forest is committed to leading Central Oregon’s movement to get more youth outside. We are humbled by and grateful for our incredible network of 24 partners that works together to find creative solutions to better serve our community, break down barriers, and reach underserved audiences. Thank you for supporting our mission of inspiring lifelong connections to nature for all kids. -Katie Chipko, Executive Director

OUR PARTNERS Bend-La Pine Schools Bend Park and Recreation District Camp Fire Central Oregon Camp Tamarack Central Oregon Pediatric Associates Central Oregon STEM Hub 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



Students attending outdoor field trips, a 169% increase since 2011


Participants in family programs, including Discover Nature Days, Puddlestompers, and Tiny Explorers


Field trips funded by the School Engagement Fund


Attendees at Discover Nature Festival, with 35 outdoor activities


Teachers participating in professional development workshops


Young adults completing paid internships in natural resources and outdoor education


TINY EXPLORERS Our Tiny Explorers program took off this year, reaching 520 participants at over 30 events across Central Oregon. The program provides nature experiences for families with children, ages 0-3, with new themes and activities presented each week. Our goal is to kickstart a healthy life enjoying the outdoors as a family, starting at birth.

OUR RIVERS, OUR FORESTS In partnership with Discover Your Forest, we piloted a new program for preschools that provided a series of nature-based learning experiences over the school year. The program reached over 130 students, mainly at rural preschool facilities, including Head Start classes. Our Rivers, Our Forests incorporated science concepts into outdoor play, songs, and storytelling, building a sense of wonder for nature.

NATUREHOODS PROJECTS The Children’s Forest supported four NatureHoods Projects at preschools and elementary schools, providing greater outdoor access for students. Projects included creating outdoor classrooms, improving play spaces, and enhancing habitat, including creating pollinator gardens.

DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS Discover the Outdoors was one of seven projects working to increase access to the outdoors for underserved communities, supported by funding from the U.S. Forest Service. This pilot with Bend Park and Recreation District provided four weeks of free summer programming for Latino youth and lowincome youth, providing many with first-time experiences exploring local public lands and trying outdoor activities.

CAREER PATHWAYS COLLABORATION In a collaborative project with the Central Oregon STEM Hub, U.S. Forest Service, and others, our region improved opportunities for local youth to get federal jobs in natural resources. As a result of two hiring workshops and one-on-one mentoring, 11 local youth were hired into their first federal jobs, successfully navigating the many barriers for federal employment.


FINANCIALS REVENUE Forest Service Grants Other Partner Funds Donations, Sponsorships, Events Total revenue = $209,157


Personnel Programs Services for Schools Marketing, Fundraising, Administrative Facilities Total expense = $208,513

Deschutes National Forest Bend-La Pine Schools Environmental Protection Agency High Desert Education Service District Ochoco National Forest Redmond School District Anonymous Ford Family Foundation Mt. Bachelor, Inc. Oregon Community Foundation Juan Young Trust Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation The Hollis Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation Gray Family Foundation Crook County School District The Gear Fix Sisters School District Central Oregon Independent Practice Association St. Charles Health System Bruce Abernethy Cascade Relays Foundation Brooks Resources Central Oregon Health Council Visionary Homes Charles Miller Discover Your Forest

TESTIMONIALS "Without this program our son would be in the house watching TV and playing video games. It’s great for him to be active and release his energy." -Kids On-the-Move after school program parent

“Outdoor field experiences teach my students to care about the environment and the place we live. They learn they are part of a system much bigger than themselves and that they can play a part in protecting our natural resources. Funding for programs such as this is essential – without it many kids would have limited opportunities to get outside and study nature.” -5th grade teacher

“There is another way to listen. I listen and I hear the music of the bear who roams all. I also listen and hear a tree older than the forest itself.” -2nd grade NatureHoods participant (excerpt from poem)

CHILDREN’S FOREST AWARD RECIPIENTS The Children’s Forest recognized six outstanding individuals and projects at our first Awards Ceremony in June. • Teacher of the Year - Jackie LaFrenz, Bear Creek Elementary • Environmental Educator of the Year - Jen Mickelson and Tory Kurtz, Ochoco National Forest • Children’s Forest Supporter - Chuck Newport • Innovation Award - Tumalo Irrigation District Kiosk Project, REALMS Middle School • Inclusion Award - Karen Gentry, Discover Your Forest • Outstanding Youth - Joe Whitlach, Heart of Oregon Corps