Outdoor School has provided 6th grade students of all abilities, experience, incomes, and family backgrounds to explore and learn about nature hands-on, including a day each of soil and water education, for decades. Emergency, one-time funding is needed this fiscal year to prevent the loss of camps and experienced staff while long-term, sustainable funding for Outdoor School is secured.
Friends of Outdoor School is a diverse group of parents, teachers, students, and community members dedicated to the preservation of the unique opportunity Outdoor School provides.
EMSWCD has partnered with Friends of Outdoor School on projects before and most recently underwrote six scholarships for low-income children to attend Adventure WILD Summer Day Camp during its pilot summer.
On May 7th, 2012 at the monthly board meeting a number of students, parents, teachers, and representatives from both Outdoor School and Friends of Outdoor School were invited to talk about Outdoor School's funding need.
After discussion the board of EMSWCD decided to commit $150,000 as a one-time, emergency grant to Outdoor School contingent on Portland Public Schools matching the amount.
The District feels fortunate to be able to help this phenomenal program weather the current crisis and looks forward to the program securing more sustainable, long-term funding. Other funders in this effort include Metro, Friends of Outdoor School, parents of 6th graders (as fees), and perhaps West Multnomah SWCD.
The Portland Public School board is scheduled to vote on the budget on May 14th.