A Look Back on the 2021 Summer Youth Education Programs


As we packed away the hula hoops, animal skulls, water colors, and scoured the forest at Skyliner Lodge for lost water bottles, single shoes, and the occasional lost towel, the TEC youth education team breathed a big sigh of relief—another successful summer of outdoor based programs (and arguably our best one yet) was officially over.

Learning To Pivot, and Enjoying the Process

Reflecting upon the past school year, it seems that while it brought many challenges, those adversities trained us in our new super power: pivoting

Whether it be…

  • the ever-changing covid guidelines, 
  • unusual rainstorms, or 
  • poor air quality, 

…we were well equipped to act on our feet this year. 

With that being said, we truly want to thank all of the participating families for their patience and grace as we worked to continuously keep their children safe. We also want to give a big shout out to all of our awesome interns and NITS (naturalists in training) who continually supported us with their great ideas and endless energy. 

Our team at The Environmental Center is a small group of three super-women who work hard every day to manage and coordinate our programs, and deliver and engage with the children as group leaders. It’s hard work but boy is it rewarding.

(And hey, it’s not that bad when your office is on a beach by Tumalo Creek, right?)

What Made This Summer Our Best Yet? 

Today we especially want to celebrate the successes of our biggest programming summer yet. This summer we added more programs and groups, allowing us to reach 200 students this year

  • We added new locations such as our week-long camp at Ogden Group Camp exploring the creek and waterfalls in the Newberry Complex.
  •  Another exciting addition was our camp created in partnership with Camp Fire and City of Bend where we invited 13 teens from the Latinx community to join us in a weeklong exploration of our local watershed. 
  • Through support from the Oregon Community Foundation, we were also able to offer more scholarships than ever before—providing even more opportunities and access for families to participate in our programs. 

Looking forward to the fall, we are excited for another school year that will inevitably contain a few pivots here and there. 

Whether we are in the classrooms in-person or virtually, our amazing youth education team is ready to give it our all and continue to teach our Central Oregon youth to be stewards of the land, and live sustainable lives.