Sign Up for 2019-2020 Youth Education Programs

This blog post is especially geared toward our phenomenal educators in Central Oregon.

Back to school, back to school! It’s time to sign up for FREE environmental education programs with The Environmental Center. This year, we are bringing more programs to you with a new educator (you’ll have a chance to meet her in an upcoming blog post, as today was her first day!), new and updated lessons, and more outreach across Central Oregon schools.

Here’s a rundown of our programs including a brief summary, grade levels offered, and how to sign up. Trust us – we wish we could be in every school each year, but with limited capacity and time, signing up early is key!

  • Earthsmart Series
    • Students discover their impact on the environment through their daily choices at home and school
    • The full series, complete with 6-8 classroom lessons and a field trip to the landfill (dependent on school district), is available for 4th and 5th grade
    • Lessons themes include: Natural resources, carbon footprint impact, waste impact in terms of garbage, recycling, and compost, food waste, water, and pollution (More detailed info about each lesson can be found here)
  • Sustainability Series
    • Aligned with Oregon State Health Standards, this two-part series examines the interrelationship between human and environmental health
    • Series consists of two lessons (typically back to back days) lasting a class period each; can be taught to multiple class periods per day
  • Water Education-Bend
    • In partnership with the City of Bend, The Environmental Center engages students in NGSS aligned hands-on learning about human interaction with the water cycle and how their choices can support a sustainable future for Bend’s water supply
    • Four classroom lessons for middle school students and two for elementary students
    • The classroom lessons are supported by optional half-day field trips to:
      * Bend’s Outback Water Filtration Facility and Bridge Creek Intake
      * Riverbend and Farewell Bend Parks to study stormwater
  • Water Education-Redmond
    • In partnership with the City of Redmond, The Environmental Center presents a free program focused on human interaction with the water cycle and wastewater treatment
    • Hands-on NGSS lesson that provides context for a half-day field trip to Redmond’s wastewater plant

To learn more and schedule any of our programs, please fill out the request form at the bottom of our Youth Ed program page.

We love working with dedicated educators each year throughout Bend LaPine, Redmond, Sisters, Culver, Madras, and Prineville! One student from Redmond reflected on the Earthsmart series:

“The lessons were fun and we learned to keep our earth healthy with smart choices.”– 5th grader

We’re looking forward to another great school year working with new and familiar faces. We hope to see you in your classroom!

–TEC’s Youth Ed Team
Jackie Wilson, Youth Education Director
Becca Gilbert, Earthsmart and Outdoor School Program Coordinator, Sustainability Educator
Geneva Mayall, Bend and Redmond Water Program Coordinator, Sustainability Educator

Outdoor School Days Conclude and Interns Shine!

Our Outdoor School Days program is possible with sponsorship from The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon. Over the course of 15 days, we saw 17 schools from Bend-La Pine, Redmond, and Prineville in grades K-5, which translates to over 1,100 students! Outdoor Days are experiential based hands-on learning, playing, and exploring in nature. Some students experienced the beautiful landscape of Smith Rock on the hotter days of early May, others enjoyed the rushing waters and open green spaces at Tumalo State Park, and the final four groups of students explored the wonderful learning spaces at Skyliner Lodge. Although the rains have been a downer on many of our Central Oregon planned adventures, we were lucky enough to have only one truly wet day, and even so, students had a ball splashing around and finding new ways to stay dry.

Thank you to The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon and our interns for making our Outdoor School Days happen. Teacher feedback is a great way to measure our effectiveness and their insight is always beneficial. Some said:

“Our favorite part was that our kids were learning outside!”

“We enjoyed the hands on activities for the kids. Appropriate information for kindergarten. Fun and friendly staff. Well organized. Patient staff with 5 & 6 year olds.”

“A great balance of direct instruction and games. I appreciated the staff’s flexibility with students that have behavior challenges and rolling with it!”

We couldn’t have put on these Outdoor School Days without our fabulous interns, though. They truly made learning special and unique and came with high spirits on a daily basis. Thanks to Ellysa, Hill, and Sherry, our outdoor days were fun and engaging!

Here is a bit more about all three of them as they wrap up working with us for the spring:

Hill Mannis is new to Bend and has a background working at a summer camp in New York. His presence truly made students feel welcome and his fun-loving attitude made it easy for students to connect with nature and with one another. Students enjoyed playing games, learning new vocabulary, and having one-on-one conversations with Hill. He engaged so many students in various ways, which is a wonderful natural trait!

Sherry Sellars has volunteered with The Environmental Center’s youth education programs before and truly loves being able to use her experience in outdoor education and providing students a fun, safe, and engaging learning environment. You can catch Sherry singing songs, teaching movements and dances, and incorporating funny words to her lessons in order for students to learn and explore!

Ellysa Lindenmaier is an OSU Student in the Nature, Eco, Adventure Tourism Program. She is a native Bendite and has a passion for being outdoors and a deep knowledge of our natural areas. Ellysa is an expert at connecting learning with games and hands-on activities so students loved all the tricks up her sleeve. She’s a natural fit for teaching students in the outdoors and leaves every day with a smile and a funny story!

Hill in his natural teaching environment!
“I love working outdoors and introducing kids to the beauty of nature. I know what it’s like to be in a classroom all day teaching. The best part is teaching kids who normally don’t get a chance to get outside.” -Sherry








“After working with Outdoor School, I’ve discovered that I love teaching environmental education and providing children with opportunities to learn about the natural world. It’s inspiring to see how one day outside can spark students’ curiosity and compassion for the outdoors. I believe that through the connections I made with the students, I taught them as much as they taught me.”

Outdoor School Days Spring Internship

*Update 4/29: This position has been filled.

The intern will play a vital active role in providing outdoor school programming for elementary and middle school this spring. The intern will work directly with the Outdoor School Coordinator to deliver the education program. Program delivery includes: presenting lessons, providing student management, and educating students about natural resources and environmental stewardship.

Internship Dates: April 30th through June 3rd, 2019. Pre-planning/training meeting week of April 22nd (TBD). Intern must work all 11 outdoor school days: April 30th, May 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30, June 3. Start time: 7:45 am / End time: 2:30 pm

The intern will spend approximately 90% of his/her time as an instructor. He/she will spend another 10% of his/her time assisting with outdoor day coordination and general program support (such as maintaining supplies and helping with curriculum).


  • Teaching experience and/or interest in traditional and/or non-traditional education programs
  • Enthusiasm for working with students in outdoor education
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work independently as well as being a strong team player, with minimum supervision
  • Ability to commit to the full term of service for which they are applying
  • Regular and reliable attendance
  • Currently enrolled in college or high school

The intern will receive hands-on experience in field-based education as well as opportunities to network with both formal and non-formal educators. In addition to gaining valuable hands-on experience delivering environmental education programs, the Outdoor School Intern will also receive an education stipend between $750-$1,000 for successful completion of 100 hours.

Read more and fill out the application here, then please email responses to Becca Gilbert, Sustainability Educator.