Meet our 2018 Spring Outdoor School Interns

The Environmental Center’s outdoor school program offers students an all-day excursion outside the classroom to a natural area. We travel to sites throughout Central Oregon – including Sawyer Park, Cline Falls State Park, Shevlin Park, and Skyliner Lodge.

Students rotate through several different environmental education activities, allowing ample time for exploration and free play in the woods. The program aligns with the learning strands of the environmental literacy plan and correlate with Oregon state standards. Lessons are aimed at increasing general understanding of ecological principles, considering our relation to natural systems and communities, and more.

The outdoor school program depends on several interns each season in order to reach as many students as possible in our region. This spring, we have Brandon, Michelle and Antoinette as part of our team. We are grateful for all their hard work and dedication to sustainability education! Here’s a little more about these awesome interns…

Brandon Thurman (left):

“My favorite part of outdoor school is being able to facilitate a fun day in the outdoors and seeing how excited the students get when they are learning in an environment other than a classroom.”

Brandon is a soon to be OSU Cascades Tourism and Outdoor Leadership and Recreation Management graduate. He is an Oregon native and enjoys the outdoor education experience and exploring our natural areas. Brandon is a natural leader and provides a fun learning environment for students and for our staff. You can always count on him for a good laugh! He incorporates his love for our natural areas with the games and activities he leads, and you can be sure to find him playing right alongside the students he is instructing!

Michelle Van Hilten (middle):

“The best part for me is being able to spark an interest in kids about nature and facilitate learning about this beautiful place we live in. I love being able to work with them to share my passion to enjoy and preserve the outdoors, and show them why we should protect these natural areas.”

Michelle is a soon to be graduate of OSU Cascades Tourism and Outdoor Leadership and International Eco-Tourism. She is a true Bendite and has a passion for experimental learning in the outdoors as well as conservation efforts for our delicate environment. Michelle is a wonderful educator and provides a wealth of knowledge to students while ensuring they enjoy their time outdoors together!

Antoinette Weaver (right):

“The best part of outdoor school for me has been meeting a group of like minded people who care about what we are contributing to. It’s been great to work with people,both interns and volunteers, who want to be there and put a lot of effort into what we do.”

Just graduated from UNC-Greensboro with Environmental Science and Business degrees. A day after graduating, she packed up her car and drove across the country to move to Bend and begin an internship with TEC two days later. Antoinette has a passion for Mother Nature and our planet. Ask her about why she stepped into this role immediately after acquiring her degree and she will tell you, “There is no time for breaks when it comes to saving our planet!” Antoinette is an excellent source of fun in the outdoors and teaches with enthusiasm and passion, which rubs off on all of the students.