Childrens' Forest of Central Oregon

Virtual Learning Resources

We want to thank our teachers and schools who are navigating this incredibly challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This spring, many students will miss out on opportunities to go on educational field trips exploring amazing outdoor locations across Central Oregon.  That doesn’t mean that students need to miss out on time outdoors, or on learning about our local ecosystems.  We know that teachers are connecting with students and encouraging them to stay active and get outside.  In these challenging times, we feel it is more important than ever that students are connecting with the many benefits of nature for their health and well-being.

The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon has compiled some resources to support students, teachers, and families in safely connecting with nature.  We know there are so many resources out there, so we are emphasizing local resources focused on Central Oregon ecosystems and field trips, as well as high-quality state, regional, and national resources.  These resources encourage students to connect with nature, both at home and outdoors, and include a mix of videos, printable activities, and activities that get students exploring outside.  Of course, always remind families to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, with these simple guidelines.

We will post more resources as they become available this spring.  Please use this form to let us know what is most helpful for you and your students.

Local Resources

  • Virtual NatureHoods – The Children’s Forest has developed six videos and follow-up activities for K-2 students, modeled after our NatureHoods program.  Each lesson aligns with NGSS standards and activities require simple materials that students can find at home.  Grade level themes include:

    • Kindergarten:  Habitats and Changing the Environment
    • 1st Grade:  Biomimicry and Camouflage
    • 2nd Grade:  Seed Dispersal and Pollination


    Virtual Reptiles and Amphibians Program
    – Live Zoom program with the High Desert Museum exploring the habitats of the High Desert and the animals that call those places home. Even say hello to a live animal from one of the High Desert habitats.  May 27 from 11:30 am-12:00 pm.  RSVP here.

    High Desert Museum from Home – “Museum Moments” are videos that include wildlife demonstrations and a look behind the scenes at High Desert Museum.

    Virtual Wildfest – This long-standing event for K-3rd grade students in Crook County has gone virtual.  Check out seven videos modeled after the different event stations.

    Kids in Parks:  Central Oregon – A wide range of downloadable activity brochures focused on Central Oregon ecosystems, available in English and Spanish.  Youth can track their activities online.

    Stay tuned for more resources!

  • Outdoor School at Home – Camp Tamarack has developed online and printable activities that students can do from outdoor areas near their home, including a five-part activity about decomposition and other activities focused on outdoor exploration.

    Virtual Field Trip – Trout Unlimited has developed a 3 minute virtual field trip about studying stream health on Campbell Creek in Jefferson County.

    Virtual Upstream Project – Upper Deschutes Watershed Council has developed a series of videos focused including a virtual macroinvertebrate survey using real data, and simple art activities that students can do from outdoor areas near their home.

    High Desert Museum from Home – “Museum Moments” are videos that include wildlife demonstrations and a look behind the scenes at High Desert Museum.

    Virtual Oregon Encounters – The High Desert Museum has developed a six-part video series with follow-up lessons, exploring Oregon country in the 1800s, meeting fascinating people who have shaped Oregon’s history.

    Testing Water Quality – Middle Deschutes Watershed Council has developed a 7 minute video about water quality issues and monitoring in Jefferson County.

    Kids in Parks:  Central Oregon – A wide range of downloadable activity brochures focused on Central Oregon ecosystems, available in English and Spanish.  Youth can track their activities online.

    Stay tuned for more resources!

  • Our Water System:  A Journey Through Bend – Educators from The Environmental Center have created a robust, engaging, and interactive unit on water systems in Bend.  To learn more, email Geneva.

    Environmental Health – Educators from The Environmental Center developed a virtual, self-guided lesson with videos, discussion prompts, and follow-up project for 9th-12th graders.  To learn more, email Becca.

    Sharing WaterPowerpoint and video –  This interactive curriculum highlights the many water users in Central Oregon  and the connections between this precious resource and our lives.  Grades 5-8.

    Stay tuned for more resources!

State, Regional, and National Resources

Outdoor School Resources – OSU-Extension Service – English, Spanish

Weekly resource sets posted every week with a collection of nature observations, journal prompts, and online activities that parents/guardians and teachers can use to support students.  Grades 5-6.

360 Video Tour – Crater Lake National Park

Check out this 360-video created in partnership with multi-platinum singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley! This virtual experience – or Crater Lake 101 tour – will give you an introduction to the marvels you can experience while exploring this treasure of the National Park System.

Forest Learning at Home – Oregon Forest Resources Institute

Library of grade-appropriate resources, each aligned to state education standards, to help teach students about the wonders of the forests throughout our state.  OFRI has compiled mini-lessons using their materials that are designed for at-home learning.  Each lesson explores a forest-related topic through a combination of reading, writing, scientific investigation and other fun, engaging activities.  Grades K-12.

Live Video and Home Activities – Oregon Zoo

Go behind the scenes to meet animals and connect with our animal care staff through weekly videos.  After each live video, Zoo staff share at-home ideas to learn more about these animals and how to help them. The activities are aimed at children ages K–5

Volcano Tuesdays – Mt. Saint Helens Institute

Weekly videos and different activities and challenges focused on volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest.  Grades 4-7.

Mountain School From Home – North Cascades Institute

Lessons and activities to inspire students of all ages to continue to learn about the natural world and discover new connections to the outdoors from home.

guidebookBirdSlueth Explorers Guidebook – The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Free downloadable guidebook to connect kids to nature while studying birds.  Guidebook includes a habitat scavenger hunt, create a sound map, and bird observation and ID skills.  Best suited for Grade 4.

e-Adventures – Kids in Parks

Kids in Parks has converted some of our most popular TRACK Trail brochures into e-Adventures that kids can do on a smart phone or tablet. Kids can complete these e-Adventures in their backyard, schoolyard, local park, on an official TRACK Trail, or anywhere in between.

DIY Activities – Tinkergarten

Searchable database of outdoor and play-based activities.  Ages 0-8.