The Children's Forest of Central Oregon has the goal of providing all children and youth in Central Oregon first hand connections with nature by providing meaningful, inspirational, and interdisciplinary education programs. Whether you are considering your first field experience or have been leading them for decades, we’re here to help.
Family Time Outside
Spending time outside has so many benefits. Central Oregon offers so much to do, a lot without even getting in your car! Children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day to grow up to a healthy weight. So get out there and explore with your family outside!
Develop opportunities for all children and youth to safely and accessibly engage in free play, exploration and recreation activities that connect them to nature
Provide Educational Field Experiences
Provide all children and youth first hand connections with nature by providing meaningful, inspirational, and interdisciplinary education programs including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), social studies, creative writing and art
Improve Health and Wellbeing
Improve health outcomes in youth by providing opportunities that lead to increased physical activity outdoors
Develop Career Pathways
Develop programs that foster leadership skills in youth, promote a sense of connection and stewardship for public lands, and provide potential environmental/natural resource career paths
Nature – ‘Vitamin N’ – has the ability to have a profound positive effect on both mental and physical health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently added mental health, obesity and the influence of media to the list of most urgent threats to child well-being. Freedom to safely play and explore the outdoors can make a huge difference in solving many of these threats. The Children's Forest of Central Oregon connects health care and other organizations in Central Oregon to address this important issue in our community.
Mary Brown, Pediatrician, Advisory Board Member
This collaboration is the most effective one I’ve ever been a part of. It has the right people at the table, the committees do their jobs, and we make things happen. It’s a pleasure to participate.
John McLaughlin, Advisory Board Member
Learning outside also changes the dynamics of our classroom. I might see a student in a certain light in our classroom, but when we go outside it often helps me view students differently. This is especially true of students who struggle to focus in our room, but are lazer focused when we’re learning outside. Just as some students excel in math or reading, I truly believe that there is an outdoor intelligence. In the future if we want people to value open, natural spaces they have to have those experiences, which learning outside
Ryan Shaffer, teacher
“When the students are able to learn outdoors, they interact directly with their environment and naturally ask questions and form connections with the science content and the natural world. I see the students’ interest levels increase, and they take more ownership in what they learn.”
Rima Givot, teacher
The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon provides a network of outdoor places and programs dedicated to moving all children along a continuum of outdoor learning, exploration, and healthy living through engagement with nature.