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Nature Educator Orientation

Have you ever wondered what it looks like when a child gets to see a 100 year old tree for the first time?  What about the thrill of helping a student discover their role within the watershed?  Do you yearn to finally catch a glimpse of an owl while 10 sets of eyes excitedly follow your finger in the hopes of finding them too? Are you a lifelong learner with a passion for learning, authentically welcoming diverse students, and committing to personal growth?  If so, you might be a Nature Educator!   Without you, thousands of students each year would miss out on the opportunity to experience the forest firsthand through educational hikes, activities, and community learning experiences.

This fall, Friends of Tryon Creek are offering a FREE 1-day orientation to our Field Trip program, to be held on Tuesday, September 24th from 10:00 to 2:00 at the Tryon Creek Nature Center (11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd, Portland, OR). Designed as a way to get new volunteers looped into our programs through the fall, this orientation compliments our comprehensive spring training scheduled for late February/early March 2020.  During this 5-hour program, volunteers will gain knowledge and tools needed to help them be a successful and positive leader and educator in the Tryon Creek field trip setting, with the intention of recruiting enthusiastic and passionate people to become a part of our family of naturalists, educators, leaders, and learners!

Since 1970, Friends of Tryon Creek (FOTC), in partnership with Oregon State Parks, has worked to nurture relationships with nature and connect people to Tryon Creek, Oregon’s only urban state natural area. Our field trip program relies heavily on volunteer Nature Guide support to lead groups of 5 to 10 students on 2-hour field trips as they explore our unique forest, learning about the natural and cultural history of this region.  Nature Guides enjoy a strong community and plenty of support - checkout FOTC’s Nature Guide Resource Page to learn more!

Friends of Tryon Creek is committed to acknowledging social justice, identity, and power structures in past and present settings through diverse perspectives. For us, this means all programs employ an equity framework, incorporating diversity trainings and workshops throughout our extended community, including board, staff and volunteer base. We seek to support our whole community in their effort to reclaim, reconnect and build relationships with the natural world. Our commitment is built and sustained through authentic partnerships with communities of color, culturally-specific organizations, and other historically under-represented groups. 

Our field trip program serves approximately 4,200 Kindergarten through 5th grade students each year, plus roughly 200 teachers and 700 volunteer chaperones from all across the Portland-Metro area.  Friends of Tryon Creek recognizes the diversity of races, cultures, backgrounds, and experiences of our whole community must be represented in our volunteer base in order to welcome and inspire all visitors, and strive to create safe spaces for people of color as well as folks who are LBGTQ, multilingual, first-generation, or from other traditionally marginalized communities to join us in our efforts to reclaim, reconnect, and build authentic relationships with nature.

We welcome all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels, asking only that you are ready to support us in our journey towards equitable opportunities for all, that you can pass a background check, and (ideally) are available to volunteer at least once a month (weekday mornings) during the field trip season, which runs throughout the school year, October through May. Register for our training today to join a robust community of like-minded volunteers who enjoy a variety of skill-building and social events throughout the year, building relationships that last a lifetime. We look forward to being a part of your journey as a vital connection between kids and the natural world, and thank you for your interest in this important mission!

Pre-registration is required – please contact FOTC Field Trip Coordinator Erin Cathcart: 503.636.4398 (ext. 105) or

Earlier Event: September 21
Guided Nature Walk - Spiders
Later Event: September 26
Story & Stroll - The Shape of Things