SNAP-Ed Leads ‘Nutrition in the Forest’ Project

Five plant part salad.

In November 2022, the SNAP-Ed Program was awarded a $2,000 Farm-to-School grant that provided funding to build raised beds at Hopkins Demonstration Forest. High school students installed the beds as a service learning project. The remaining grant funding was used to deliver a “Nutrition in the Forest” program to second and third grade students from three elementary schools, representing three school districts in Clackamas County in the spring of 2023. 

“Nutrition in the Forest” consisted of the delivery of eight lessons from the OSU “Growing Healthy Kids” curriculum. Teachers were provided with supplies and curriculum packets and trained to deliver seven of the lessons in the classroom. Bulletin boards were also placed in each school to help educate student about bee pollinators and their role in promoting a robust food supply. The final lesson consisted of a field trip out to Hopkins where students made a 5-Plant Part Salad, played a pollinator game, planted vegetables and pollinator plants in the raised beds, and took a 1.5 mile hike through the forest with OSU Forester Peter Matzka. At the end of the day, students received a “Growing Healthy Kids” certificate and a book titled “Sounds of the Forest” from the Forest Forever organization. 

A total of 225 students participated in the program. One student commented at the end of the field trip: “This is my best day ever! This day was like Magic I had so much fun.” The three schools are interested in repeating the program again next spring. There has also been interest expressed on the part of additional schools to offer the program. New funding sources are being sought.