TRK’s Educational program teaches students to think like water, following a water drop’s journey throughout the landscape and showing students how our everyday choices affect the quality of the river, the vitality of the land, and the health of our people. TRK’s innovative curriculum takes place both inside and outside of the classroom and the goals are to dispel fears and misconceptions of nature and the river, engage new communities in its appreciation, and establish nature education centers to connect people to the Tualatin River on a daily basis.
Since 2005, over 6,500 children have been served in TRK school field trip programs (K-8th grade) in the cities of Hillsboro, Beaverton, Sherwood, Tigard, and Tualatin. In 2011 TRK opened the Dirksen Nature Park, built in collaboration with and owned by the City of Tigard. This rich land holds 42 acres of native habitat including the camas flower. Additionally, TRK believes that Native-inspired curriculum based on local traditional ecological knowledge needs to come to the forefront of environmental education curriculum design in Oregon. As such, we are currently working on integrating this approach throughout our entire environmental curriculum.
TRK utilizes the varied landscapes of the Tualatin to run summer day camps for grades 4-6, allowing students to explore the natural world in a safe environment. All camps include hiking, arts and crafts, and games where your child is sure to make new friends and become a fledgling scientist. Nature Awareness and Service is a youth educational program catered to students in grades K-8. It is designed to help students learn techniques to enjoy the nature in the neighborhood and will instill an early interest in conservation, foster scientific curiosity, and build life-long stewardship of local natural areas. Additionally, TRK invites community members to become volunteers and share their knowledge and passion for the natural world. Volunteers can become field trip leaders, or day camp leaders.
TRK educational programming values strength in diversity. In this spirit, TRK has partnered with Adelante Mujeres and Community Partners in Affordable Housing to help reach previously under-represented groups with our quality educational materials. Since 2004 TRK has partnered with Adelante Mujeres to host ‘Rumba al Rio’, a paddle trip event geared towards Latino youth. Through these partnerships TRK aims to place students in the driver’s seat, giving them the skills and knowledge to become watershed conservation ambassadors in their own communities and bring the message of environmentalism directly to their classmates through their own words.