Children's Forest of Central Oregon Annual Report 2016-2017

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Annual Report 2016-2017

Our Impact

17,456 students learning

outdoors, a 170% increase since 2011


field trips funded by the School Engagement Fund


students using field equipment from our Resource Co-op


teachers trained 97% put their training into action


participants in Discover Nature Day family programs in 5 cities and 20 parks


participants learning new outdoor skills at Discover Nature Festival


hours of active outdoor fun through Kids On-the-Move after school program


young women participating in the Natural Resources Career Camp plus 6 internships

23 partners reaching 20,106 participants

Dear Friends and Supporters, We believe that a childhood rich in play, exploration, wonder, and curiosity should be a right of all children. All children should have the chance to be in awe of the night sky, to have adventures with friends or family that bring a sense of freedom, and to enjoy the peace and serenity that only nature can bring. The goal of the Children’s Forest is to make this happen for all children in Central Oregon. It’s been an exciting year for us, with new programs like Tiny Explorers that reach families with infants, continued growth in programs and services for schools and families, and an deeper focus on inclusion and reaching students with disabilities. All of this success is because of the tremendous network of partners that are so committed to the Children’s Forest’s mission of reaching all kids. We believe that contributing to a generation that is connected to and inspired by nature is one of the most hopeful causes to be a part of. We believe that these children are the future stewards of public lands, will continue living healthy lives, and will have the skills to contribute to a sustainable future. Thank you for being a part of this movement. Sincerely, Kolleen Miller Board Chair

Katie Chipko Executive Director

Who We Are The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon is a network of partners that introduces and engages the children and families in Central Oregon to the wonder, science, and adventure of nature.

Our Vision

Board of directors

A world in which every child is inspired by nature to become a healthy individual and create a sustainable future

Rika Ayotte (Secretary)

Tory Kurtz

Discover Your Forest

Ochoco National Forest

Rebeckah Berry

Jackie LaFrenz

Central Oregon Health Council

Bear Creek Elementary

David Burke

John McLaughlin (Treasurer)

High Desert Education Service District


Mike Elam

Upper Deschutes Watershed Council

Redmond Area Park & Recreation District

Kevin Gehrig

Pine Ridge Elementary

Laura Handy (Vice President)

Kolleen Miller (President)

Robi Phinney

La Pine Middle School

Sasha Sulia

Heart of Oregon Corps

Bend Park and Recreation District

Lynnanne Hayes

Kate Wells

Kassidy Kern

Dana Whitelaw


Deschutes National Forest

PacificSource Health Plans High Desert Museum

Our Partners 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

Why a Collaborative? The Children’s Forest came together in 2011 to address increasing screen time, decreased time outdoors, and rising rates of childhood obesity. We knew that no one organization could do this work alone, and so built a network of partners around a shared goal and vision. Our collaborative leverages each other’s strengths to fill gaps in service and develops strategies that address barriers to the outdoors for schools and families.

Our Work Family Programs

Connecting families to nature...together Did you know that children have lost about 50% of unstructured time in nature in recent decades? Studies show that in order to develop stewardship behaviors and a lifelong love of the outdoors, that children need regular time in natural areas close to home with adult mentors. The Children’s Forest’s Family Programs strive to instill wonder and curiosity for the natural world at a young age, as well as provide time for parents and children to learn and explore together.

Discover Nature Days The Children’s Forest offered 16 free Discover Nature Day events in Bend, Madras, Prineville, and Redmond. Each event features a different partner and theme, and connects families to plants, wildlife, and local parks and natural spaces.

Kids On-the-Move!

An active alternative to after school screen time We believe that all kids should be active, with plenty of outdoor time, after school. Kids On-the-Move is a free program that gets kids moving, exploring nature, and building community. The program is offered two days per week at Ensworth and Lava Ridge Elementary Schools in Bend. We’ve partnered with Bend Park and Recreation District who provides program staffing, with special nature programs offered by Children’s Forest partners. This year, the program reached 80 participants.

Tiny Explorers Our newest program for the youngest learners, Tiny Explorers kickstarts a healthy life enjoying the outdoors, starting at birth! The program provides regular outdoor meetups for new parents to enjoy nature together and network with each other. Lowincome families receive a free baby carrier to promote more time exploring the outdoors with their infant.

Discover Nature Festival This exciting event features over 30 outdoor activities for kids and families to try including the crosscut saw, fly casting, archery, and the fire fighter challenge. There are also plenty of opportunities to learn about nature with live reptiles, telescopes, birding, storytime, and volcano demonstrations. with each other.

“This was my son’s first Discover Nature Day event and he loved it!! Thank you for doing these, it’s a great way for kids to understand the outdoors.” “My daughter is in love with the Kids On-the-Move program. She talks about it all the time at home!”

Our Work Environmental Education

Bringing nature’s classroom to life

Across Central Oregon, there has been a big shift in outdoor learning. More teachers than ever are seeing the value of outdoor education and connecting their students to the amazing programs offered by Children’s Forest partners. The number of days that students are learning outside has increased by 451% since 2012. Additionally, through the development of new programs and services, we’ve made a huge impact in reaching the our biggest gap, middle and high school students.

NatureHoods K-2 Program Driven by AmeriCorps support, the Children’s Forest reached over 1,200 students through our NatureHoods program, which provides a 4-week program in “nearby nature” that connects to science standards for Kindergarten to 2nd grade.

Teacher Professional development Teacher trainings are an important strategy for expanding capacity and extending learning beyond one-day field trips. Trainings are multi-day and provide teachers skills and curriculum for leading their own outdoor activities.

“When we developed the curriculum for our outdoor experiences we were astound standards we were hitting through everything from asking questions to defining p silly not to be taking your kids outside because of the amount of standards these e -High De

Enhancing Access


The Children’s Forest provides region-wide services that help teachers and schools access the amazing outdoor learning opportunities available in Central Oregon.

With a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Children’s Forest expanded watershed stewardship programming, including a new partnership with MIddle Deschutes Watershed Council to provide students in Jefferson County with programs focused on their local streams.

Services for Schools

School Engagement Fund The cornerstone of our success, this fund supports transportation and substitute costs for field trips, ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn outdoors. Resource Co-op A lending library of field equipment that allows teachers to lead their own outdoor experiences, in their schoolyard or beyond. NatureHood Mini-Grants Mini-grants up to $1,000 that support schools to make habitat improvements, create outdoor learning spaces, or enhance visitor experiences in local parks or their schoolyard.

ded by how many math and science problems to analyzing data. It’s almost experiences cover.” esert Middle School teacher

Watershed Stewardship

“Just being a part of this stewardship project has meant a lot to me. It inspired me to apply for a job doing environmental conservation work this summer through Central Oregon Youth Conservation Corps” -Ridgeview HS student.

Our Work Career Pathways & Leadership The Children’s Forest works to provide pathways into careers in natural resources, public lands, and outdoor education. Our network of partners provides a number of avenues for in-depth career exploration. Internships Paid 100-150 hour internships that provide exposure to real careers in the natural resources or the outdoors. Young Women’s Career Camp Three-day overnight experience with hands-on introductions into public lands careers, coordinated by Discover Your Forest and the Forest Service. leadership experiences Youth have access to a variety of opportunities including Watershed project presentations, leading Outdoor School programs, and more.

Focus on Inclusion One of our core values is that accessible opportunities in nature must be provided for children and youth of all abilities, backgrounds, and ages. This year the Children’s Forest offered an inclusion training to over 20 outdoor educators in the region. Inclusion specialists from several organizations provided strategies and resources for more effectively working with students with disabilities to ensure that field trips are accessible to all students.

Financials Revenue

Grants 16%



Forest Service Other Partner Funds Donations, Sponsorships, Events


Total revenue = $226,022

Expenses 18%


3% 6%

Programs 41%


Services for Schools Marketing, Fundraising, Administrative Facilities Total expense = $220,230

Major Funders Deschutes National Forest Environmental Protection Agency Bend-La Pine Schools High Desert Education Service District Ochoco National Forest Anonymous Ford Family Foundation Mt. Bachelor, Inc. Redmond School District

Bend Foundation Oregon Community Foundation The Hollis Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation Crook County School District The Gear Fix Sisters School District St. Charles Health System Bruce Abernethy Miller Lumber Oliver Arbor Care PacifiCorp Willamette Dental

A proud partner of the U.S. Forest Service

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

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