• Contributed over $4 million to send students to ODS
  • Secured a permanent source of partial funding from Metro for each fifth- or sixth-grade student in the Portland Metro region to attend ODS
  • Developed hundreds of community partnerships with local businesses and nonprofits on behalf of ODS

"It's not just a trip to the woods for the week. It's a critical part of our curriculum. Reading about the forest is a lot different from being in the forest."

- Cheryl "Isis" Bland, sixth grade teacher

Why support Outdoor School?

Friends of Outdoor School is dedicated to preserving the Outdoor School (ODS) experience for all Oregon students regardless of a student's ability, experience, income or family background. We do this by raising funds, gathering volunteers, and building community partnerships on behalf of Outdoor School.

Created from a grassroots movement in 2003 to save the MESD Outdoor School program for Portland Public Schools, Friends of ODS has grown to become the lead organization in Oregon supporting Outdoor School.

In 2015, Friends of ODS helped to pass Oregon Senate Bill 439, which established the first-ever statewide Outdoor School program administered by Oregon State University Extension Service.

In 2016, we established and led a coalition (Oregon Outdoor Education Coalition) to secure state funding for a week of Outdoor School for all 5th or 6th grade students in Oregon through a citizens’ initiative, Ballot Measure 99.

Friends of ODS is the key connection between Outdoor School and the larger community of individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies that support Outdoor School programming.

Friends of Outdoor School

In 1957, a hands-on field science program called Outdoor School (ODS) launched in Oregon. It is an opportunity for students in fifth or sixth grade to move from their school classrooms into the outdoors to learn, immersed in nature. ODS programs are typically housed in residential camps; students stay onsite for up to five nights. While there, students learn about soil, water, plants and animals, as well as natural sciences specific to the local community and economy.

What is Outdoor School?

Who We Are

Read all about the myriad benefits of Outdoor School here.

Friends of Outdoor School members have:
  • Ensure our community knows how to support ODS
  • Secure additional permanent funding sources outside the K-12 budget so that all students in the region may attend ODS
  • Continue to develop partnerships with local businesses and nonprofits to raise the profile of ODS
Our goals: