Nearby Nature is a non-profit education organization dedicated to fostering appreciation of nature in our own backyards and public spaces and providing tools for ecological living. Our staff and volunteers lead nature walks, teach summer day camps, host school programs, and work on environmental restoration projects primarily in Alton Baker Park, the Willamette River and Amazon Creek watersheds.
In 1992, a dedicated group of environmental educators and local residents formed an organization to help community members discover, experience, and care for local natural areas. Several of these individuals had successfully worked to promote a local ballot measure to protect Alton Baker Park from becoming a golf course. Since that time, Nearby Nature has touched the lives of thousands of people through nature education and restoration programs that delight, challenge, and inform. Every year roughly 3,200 children explore the "wild side" of Alton Baker Park through our school walks program, summer day camps, monthly nature quests, and unique special events. More have participated in our in-school and after-school programs. Hundreds of adults have taken part in our ongoing restoration projects, public nature walks, and our volunteer guide program. Starting in 2001, Nearby Nature staff played a key role in developing the proposal for Network Charter School to the Eugene 4J School District.
Program Set-UP / Course Offerings
Nearby Nature's offerings for Network Charter School integrate academics with hands-on activities, career related skills, field trips to local natural areas and public libraries, and more. All of our classes revisit our mission to focus on nature, natural history, or ecological sustainability. For example, in addition to life and earth sciences, physical geography, natural history and outdoor literature, our physical education classes make an effort to visit green spaces throughout the city of Eugene, our health classes investigate environmental health issues, and our math classes study practical, real world situations.
Like other Network classes, our class sizes are small, affording great opportunities for teacher and student contact. Many of our science classes meet at our yurt in Alton Baker Park, allowing students to study and explore local nature.
Note on math: All math courses are paired with other content areas in three-hour class sessions. For 90 minutes, students attend the paired course, eg Calculating the Future (environmental studies) or Ultimate Frisbee (PE). For the other 90 minutes, students are grouped according to math needs, regardless of grade or age. The math courses address state requirements; every student receives strong support for earning the credits required for a diploma. Faculty members are highly qualified to teach courses from fundamentals through calculus. Project-based math focuses on critical thinking and includes fundamentals and topics in algebra. We use an externally developed assessment system to track progress, identify students' needs, and adjust instructional groups to nurture optimal learning.
Courses offered are listed under the "Course Catalog" Tab.