Field Trips Program at Tryon Creek

Introduction to our Field Trip Program

The Friends of Tryon Creek State Park offer hands-on, experiential field trips that are designed to facilitate student-driven exploration of basic concepts in science and natural history in our southwest Portland urban forest.

We offer both full- and half-day programs for preschool through 5th grade, focusing on everything from animal adaptations and sensory exploration to watersheds and forest succession.  On every field trip students will spend time outdoors (rain or shine) in small groups with one of our trained volunteer Nature Guides, making connections to key concepts through group collaboration, hands-on activities, and direct observations.

All of our Field Trips are connected to state and national science standards and are designed to promote critical thinking, develop problem solving skills, and foster positive relationships with the natural world.  Preregistration for field trips is required and our schedule fills quickly, so register your class today! See below for downloadable registration forms.

Morning Program (2 Hours)

For each morning program, students will be welcomed to the park with a quick introduction before breaking off into small groups. Each group spends the majority of their trip with our trained volunteer Nature Guides who will lead them through field activities and a brief hike. At the end of the program, all students will gather back together for a concluding discussion that serves to solidify the day’s underlying themes and provide some ideas about how to connect their experience at the park to their time back in the classroom. If you wish, you can choose to stay after the program and eat lunch in the park!

Teachers typically schedule their program to begin between 9:30 and 10:00 depending on their school’s first bell, transportation time, before-trip snack needs, etc. Please plan extra travel time into your morning; we cannot extend program times to accommodate late arrivals.

Afternoon Program (2 Hours)

We do offer limited opportunities for schools to schedule visits in the afternoons.  Currently we are able to provide 2-hour field trips for up to 30 students on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 to 2:30, and are happy to discuss other options on a case-by-case basis.  Just like the morning program, students are welcomed to the park with a quick introduction before breaking off into small groups. Each group spends the majority of their trip with our trained volunteer Nature Guides who will lead them through field activities and a brief hike. At the end of the program, all students will gather back together for a concluding discussion that serves to solidify the day’s underlying themes and provide some ideas about how to connect their experience at the park to their time back in the classroom.

If you wish, you can choose to arrive 30-minutes early and eat lunch in the park between 12:00 and 12:30.  Note that we cannot extend program times to accommodate late arrivals, so please plan accordingly.

Full Day Program (4 Hours)

Each full day program includes a morning segment, 30-minute lunch break, and an afternoon extension consisting of two activity rotations. In the morning, students will be welcomed to the park with a quick introduction before breaking off into small groups. Each group spends the majority of their morning with our trained volunteer Nature Guides who will lead them through field activities and a brief hike. After lunch, students participate in interactive group activities or service projects that build on concepts introduced in the morning. At the end of the program, all students will gather back together for a concluding discussion that serves to solidify the day’s underlying themes and provide some ideas about how to connect their experience at the park to their time back in the classroom.

Teachers typically schedule their program to begin between 9:30 and 10:00 depending on their school’s first bell, transportation time, before-trip snack needs, etc. Please plan extra travel time into your morning; we cannot extend program times to accommodate late arrivals.

Preparing for your Trip

What to Wear
Our programs run rain or shine, so students should arrive with clothing that will keep them happy and successful throughout the day. If possible, each student should have the following:
Sturdy, closed-toe shoes

  • Long pants
  • Raincoat (please discourage students from bringing umbrellas)
  • Sweatshirt
  • Water bottle
  • Lunch (if your group will be eating at the park)

Student Groups
You should arrive with your students already divided into groups of 10 students or fewer. If possible, number or color-code groups for easy identification on field trip day.

Groups should be arranged in a way that will help all students be successful in a hands-on learning environment. If you have concerns about specific student’s ability to participate in the field trip, please don’t hesitate to contact the Field Trip Coordinator prior to your trip; we do our best to accommodate students with differing physical, behavioral, or academic needs.

You should plan on having at least one adult chaperone per group (with a requested maximum of two per group). Many teachers appreciate being separate from the assigned chaperones so they can travel between groups, enjoy watching their students learn, and be available in case any issues arise; feel free to do this if your ratio allows. Groups in need of extra support may have additional chaperones assigned as necessary. We will provide letters describing the role of a chaperone for you to distribute before your trip, or you can click the link to access that information now. Please provide nametags for each of your students and chaperones, preferably with their group number or color identified clearly on the front.

Safety and Stewardship
Before your scheduled field trip, you will receive a copy of our Expectations for Success. Please find time to share these ideas with your class before they arrive to ensure the safety of your students as well as the Tryon Creek ecosystem. You will also receive a copy of Our Unique Urban Forest that provides additional information about our park and our program. This would be an excellent thing to send home with your permission slips so all families have a chance to get to know our park.

Nature Guides will be equipped with basic first aid supplies (Band-Aids, gauze pads, lost tooth containers, gloves, and disposal bags) to distribute to students and chaperones as needed. Please note that our guides cannot administer first-aid to students; we simply provide supplies to deal with minor medical issues as they come up.

If you have students with relevant medical issues (severe allergies, seizure disorders, mobility differences, etc.) please let the Field Trip Coordinator know before you arrive so we can help to ensure their health and safety throughout the day.

Lunch and Snacks
We have a large covered open-air shelter with benches that is available for you and your class to eat lunch in the park. If you are staying for a 4-hour program, there will be a lunch break after the morning segment. If you are just coming for a 2-hour program you may choose whether or not you would like to create time to eat lunch in the park outside of your scheduled field trip hours. We are always happy to store lunch boxes, water bottles, etc. during their program as long as they are easily contained in tubs or boxes.

Because the woods can be a hungry place and our lunch breaks are often scheduled outside of the times students would normally eat at school, it may be wise to either have a quick snack in class before coming to the park or plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early so students can eat before the program. Please note that we do not encourage snacks during the field trip, as it can be distracting to the students’ ability to learn successfully. That being said, if you have questions or concerns about this policy, feel free to contact the Field Trip Coordinator to discuss options.

Getting to the park
Click on the following links to download directions to Tryon, parking instructions, and a map of the park. These documents will also be emailed to you with your Field Trip reminder approximately 2 weeks before your trip. Be sure to note relevant road closures and traffic patterns well before your trip so you can accurately plan your day.

Your start-time should be scheduled to give you plenty of time to gather students, coordinate with chaperones, and travel to the park through unpredictable traffic. Because we cannot extend program times to accommodate late arrivals, it is wise to allow yourself an extra 5 to 15 minutes to get students on the bus and to the park.

We will begin each field trip in the Jackson Shelter, located down the path to the right as you walk towards the Nature Center. Feel free to gather in that space until your scheduled start-time if you arrive at the park early, otherwise the Field Trip Coordinator will meet you in the parking lot to welcome your class and give some instructions before you unload.

Fees and Registration

Fees

  • 2 Hour Programs: $6 per student*
  • 4 Hour Programs: $10 per student*

In order to reserve your space, field trips must be paid for in full within two weeks of receiving an invoice. If you have billing questions or concerns, please contact the Field Trip Coordinator.

*We do not charge for chaperones, classroom aids, or teachers.

Registration
Morning and full-day field trips are available Monday through Friday throughout the school year, including the winter months, with a maximum of 60 students per day. Please note that our capacity is slightly more limited for the afternoon programs, which are offered for a maximum of 30 students from 12:30 to 2:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Available dates fill quickly, so please try to plan your trips well ahead of time. Groups of more than 10 students must be scheduled at least three weeks in advance in order to recruit volunteers and reserve classroom space.

To inquire about scheduling a field trip, please download and fill out the appropriate registration form below and email to erin@tryonfriends.org. You can also call the Nature Center to complete your registration by phone Monday through Friday 8 AM to 4 PM.

RETURNING SOON!

Slugs

We are currently working on revising this fun program that looks at the decomposition process through the eyes of Tryon’s most charismatic decomposer, the Banana Slug!  Please contact the Field Trip Coordinator if you would like to schedule this program for the spring.

Ethnobotany

The Friends are excited to partner with representatives of our local tribes in order to evaluate and update our ethnobotany program in order to provide a more culturally relevant approach and respectfully interpret their stories.  Please contact the Field Trip Coordinator if you would like to schedule this program for the spring.

Middle and High School Programs

We are excited to be working on new programming that better accommodates the needs of older students.  If you are a middle or high school teacher and would like to share your idea for a great program, please feel free to contact the Field Trip Coordinator, we would love to collaborate with the community we serve.

Forms and Documents

Bringing a Group outside our programs to the Park?

We are happy to help you plan your trip to make sure your day goes smoothly – please click here to access some important information about planning your trip, as well as driving directions to the park and instructions for large-group parking.

Program Descriptions