Outdoor ‘day’ school offered at Hopkins

Story by: Peter Matzka, Forest Educator

The 140-acre Hopkins Demonstration Forest was host to 125 forest-based educational programs and four college-level courses. In total, OSU Extension’s forestry education programing in collaboration with Hopkins served over 4,500 people in 2022. While those programs ranged from elementary to college grade levels, there were more programs delivered to middle school youth last year than prior to COVID.

As the state began to relax COVID-19 restrictions, many local districts took the opportunity to get their middle school students some outdoor education experience since most of the current 7th and 8th graders missed their opportunity. Several schools from west Clackamas County came to Hopkins for an Outdoor School type of experience, with programing developed and delivered by OSU Clackamas County’s Forest Educator and the Program Coordinator at the Hopkins Demonstration Forest.

Youth explored the forest and learned several topics including wildlife and aquatic habitat, the food chain, plant and animal identification, wildfire risk/safety, forest management, forest soils, and map reading skills.

While the days focused on natural resources education, they also provided some missed social time in the outdoors for Clackamas’s youth.