Create next generation of environmental stewards

by Friends of Tryon Creek
Day campers with owl
Day campers with owl

Project Report:  Creating the next generation of environmental stewards

 First, I want to thank all our loyal GlobalGiving supporters.  We are a small staff (3 full time, 5 part time) and couldn’t do this work without your good will and generosity.

 We are currently in day camp season. Cars and buses deliver children to our Nature Center daily and the dark green of this treed natural area is brightened by all the colorful backpacks, jacket and lunch bags.  Our scholarship programs brings children from near and far – but some have never been in a forest.  One young boy, looking rather anxious, asked if there were lions here.  We assured him there were none.

 The overall goals for this education program are to connect more students to nature and use the park as an educational tool which will offer students other ways to learn, build a sense of curiosity and an interest in being an environmental steward. The field trip program strives to meet the following broader objectives. Students participating will gain:

  • § a greater awareness of accessible regional nature experiences and opportunities
  • § a greater understanding of methods of science inquiry and improved environmental literacy
  • § a deeper understanding of the importance of preserving natural habitat
  • § an increased interest in physical activity and outdoor exploration
  • § an overall interest in informal learning that will have positive repercussions in the classroom
  • § a better connection to Oregon State Science Standards through well-developed field trip curricula.

Our board and staff are working diligently to enhance our education programming through increased fundraising so that we might accommodate more local children who may connect to nature because of your gift.  WE THANK YOU!



The Board and Staff were pleased to learn of the number of new donors who contributed to Friends of Tryon Creek through our recent Giving Global project.  We believe that Tryon Creek Natural Area is a special place, and we know from feedback provided by parents and others who live in the community, that our education programs are highly regarded.  With regard to “Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Stewards”, we are pleased to have welcomed 80 new members this past year.


There have been several capacity-building developments over the past few months. They include: (1) Establishment of a Fund Development Committee consisting of Board members and leaders in the community.  This means that we have gained additional support in areas of outreach and fundraising; (2) Initiated a new Two-for-One membership campaign at our events.  Many of our renewing members used this as a way as a way to reach out to neighbors and friends who are now donor prospects.  Finally, with the hopes of expanding our education efforts, our leadership encouraged board member giving – and those donations doubled this past fiscal year. 

Our Annual Report was recently drafted.  Here are our 2012 Accomplishments:

  • Number of active volunteers: 1,465 volunteers donated over 8,000 hours of service;
  • Field trips for students from underserved communities (schools with greater

than 50% free or reduced price lunches):  1161

  • Number of local 5th and 6th graders involved in watershed ecology, science

exploration and conservation programs:  843

  • Number of PSU Capstone students involved in the Education Department: 45
  • Number of Capstone student hours spent learning and supporting Friends’ programs: 6,750
  • Total number of Education Programs conducted in 2012:  283
  • Total number of participants involved in all programs: 8,548
  • Number of educators trained through our Connect2Science programs: 59

Thank you again for your ongoing support!






The summer and fall have been very busy at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. We continued our popular summer Nature Day Camp program (800+ served), and school field trip program (1473 this fall with an additional 200 students served through our Lake Oswego School District watershed tour program). In addition we held another Muddy Boots Nature Club program and had 160 individuals participate. We see great opportunities with this program serving a population of parents with toddlers who previously had no connection to our programs. The combined social and educational aspects of this program are well appreciated by this group who are also looking to build their peer network with others who share these values and who support nurturing these types of efforts.

Financially, we continue to gather steam for our overall capacity building effort which will have a dramatic impact on the delivery of our educational programs. Grants from the Oregon Community Foundation ($10K), the Trust for Management Services ($10K) and The Collins Foundation ($8K) will go towards infrastructure support and direct funding for our field trip program. We look to finish the year in the positive and are encouraged by the support we are getting from a range of individuals and institutions.


This spring, The Friends of Tryon Creek launched a capacity building project whose goals are to create greater capacity and boost institutional competence around fundraising; develop a marketing program to raise awareness of the Friends' brand, improve program participation and reach diverse audiences; build more depth into our education programming staff to improve planning, delivery and assessment capabilities; and make improvements to our technology infrastructure so we can be more efficient and professional in all aspects of our operations.

All of these efforts are ultimately aimed at assuring we do a better job of delivering on our mission - to connect children and adults to nature and instill an ethic of stewardship in everyone we touch.

Initial response to this $350,000, 3-year effort was met with wonderful enthusiasm and support. We have already received a $150,000 grant from Meyer Memorial Trust, $15,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation and $25,000 from the Gray Family Tryon Creek Education Fund to support this effort. One outcome will be an expanded education staff which will impact all of our programs involving children. Key will be our improved ability to plan and assess these programs so we can continue to improve the quality of our offerings and their relevancy to teachers and students.

We are excited to continue to grow the organization to deal with the demand and need for these types of programs and remain a regional leader in this arena.

The Friends of Tryon Creek continues to make a difference in connecting children to the natural world through our range of innovative programs. A few successes worth noting:

- Last fall, the Friends received a $500,000 gift from the Gray Family Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation to support our Environmental Education program. This gift will generate $25,000 annually for the Friends if we can raise $12,500 in a 1:2 match. Funds generated from this Global Giving site will go towards this match.

- We will match previous numbers of students participating this spring serving thousands with our popular field trip program

- We have received some important grants supporting this program: $5,000 from the Juan Young Trust; $1,500 from the Union Bank Foundation; $5,000 from Bank of America in the last year as well as $1,500 from Pacific Power Foundation specifically going to support scholarships for schools to participate in our field trip program from inner North and Northeast Portland. As we work hard to broaden the pool of schools participating in this program, we are encouraged that partners such as Pacifcorp share these values and goals.

Thank you all who have given in 2011-12 to support an organization that is working hard at making a difference in our regional community.


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Organization Information

Friends of Tryon Creek

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Project Leader:
David Cohen
Portland, OR United States

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