We provide basic outdoor gear and resources, information about and transportation to neighborhood natural areas, and adult guidance to remove barriers to lower income youth and families taking advantage of greater Portland’s superlative network of urban greenspaces.
The Urban Nature Partners PDX program provides a tiered set of experiences designed to build comfort and belonging, physical and mental well being, outdoor knowledge and competencies, and leadership potential as youth grow. Our foundation is weekly one-on-one mentor-youth outings in neighborhood greenspaces. These are complemented by family inclusive group events offered once or twice monthly that provide more in-depth opportunities to experience natural areas and try new outdoor activities. Beyond their first year, youth are offered scholarships to partner led, nature based camps, and leadership opportunities guided by their interests and strengths.
Urban Nature Partners PDX fills a gap in services for youth beginning in 4th grade in the Portland Metro area by providing access, resources, and opportunities in local greenspaces that are relationship based, family inclusive, culturally responsive, and long term. Though our services may complement school curricula, they are not prescribed by them.
By serving youth for two or more years at a critical stage in their cognitive and social development, we act as the front end of a pathway to outdoor leadership opportunities for adolescents in our area, which can in turn lead to careers in the outdoors and natural science.
To capitalize on our organizational resources and strengths, we embed our work in that of a community of partners who share our values, including funders and organizations providing outdoor programming. In addition, UNP may provide leadership and outdoor experiences to youth enrolled in other programs.
Urban Nature Partners PDX intentionally combines the best practices of traditional mentoring and experiential outdoor education to give youth the benefits of both spending time with a mentor and spending time outdoors. This combination prepares youth to better succeed in community, school, and career, and to take lifelong advantage of outdoor opportunities.
UNP’s benefits extend to family members, neighbors, friends, classmates, and youth enrolled in partner programs through including them in outings and sharing environmental and place-based knowledge at home, in the community, and in school.