Updated May 13th: Nearby Nature is carefully tracking public health and safety recommendations and requirements issued by local, state, and Federal agencies regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). The health and safety our program participants, volunteers, and staff is our top priority during this challenging time. We will continue to follow guidance from public health authorities as the situation evolves, and keep you informed of changes in our programs or policies. For information about the Network Charter School shutdown and resources available to families, see Network Charter School’s webpage.
So how are we keeping safe and healthy at Nearby Nature in Alton Baker Park? At our office, our Yurt, and our Learnscape Outdoor Classroom, we have reviewed and where necessary, enhanced our health and safety protocols designed to protect our students, staff, and volunteers. These measures include:
- Staff members (other than our resident Park Host) are all currently working off site for the foreseeable future. If it is necessary to visit the our office or Learnscape site for any reason, we are instructing our staff and volunteers not to visit if they are feeling ill in any way. Physical distancing and mask wearing will be the standard when and if staff do meet on site.
- We will be disinfecting bathrooms, door handles, and highly-touched surfaces in and around our office, Yurt, and Learnscape at least once a day if we have programs in session or personnel on site.
- We are practicing regular hand-washing and appropriate social distancing at work and at home.
- We are sharing factual information and guidelines regarding COVID-19 with staff, volunteers, and program participants as appropriate.
- When we start running programs again, we will be instructing program participants not come to programs if they feel sick in any way. If a child appears sick unexpectedly during one of our programs, we will separate that child from the group and contact their parents/guardians for an immediate pick up. More formal policies are currently under development and will be finalized before summer daycamps begin.
- We are working to provide resources for families and teachers that will help folks connect with nature nearby during this challenging time. For more information about Explore Activities, our Nearby Natural Neighbors Project, and Nearby Nature Live, please see Nature-Schooling.
Programs Report as of May 13th: Most local events and programs have been canceled or rescheduled due to state/nationwide restrictions and/or guidance. See below for information regarding Nearby Nature’s upcoming programs and events. We will update this information as the situation changes locally.
- Summer Daycamps will happen! As of mid-May, we have the green light to run summer daycamps, with a variety of modifications that will help insure student and staff health and safety. See our FAQs and our Daycamps page for more information.
- No School Day Adventures: We canceled our March and May programs in accordance with recommendations by local, state, and Federal recommendations. If you have signed up for a program, we will either provide you with a credit for future programs or refund your tuition. You will receive a separate email explaining your choices.
- Spring Volunteer Information Session: Our March 18th Volunteer Information Session was canceled. We will, however, still need volunteers this summer! If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out a Volunteer Questionnaire. We will be in touch and will set up a way to meet with you when our programs are up and running again.
- Spring School Nature Walk Field Trips: Due to statewide closure of schools for the rest of the school year, we have canceled all spring field trips. We are very sad about this and will miss having kids in the park for the first time in over 25 years. We hope to see them again in the fall.
- Public Events: As of now, all April and most May events are canceled or re-formatted or postponed. This includes Green Start Play Days, Nature Quests, an Earth Day Park Clean-Up, and a Bioblitz. See our Calendar for more information. We will keep you up to date regarding future programs as the situation evolves.
Spend time in nature: Finally while it is certainly critical to keep up with the latest news on COVID-19, we hope that you will also take a moment to care for yourself and your family in another way – by taking advantage of a resource that is free, abundant, and without question healthy for your mind and body – nature nearby. A walk in the park or even just around the block will bless you with a rainbow of colors, the scent of spring flowers, an abundance of birdsong, and lots of welcome fresh air. Being outside will also lessen your anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, as well as reduce your brain’s tendency to ruminate, or continuously think the same negative thoughts! That’s something we all would benefit from these days for sure. (Note: As of the time of this writing, walking in the neighborhood or in parks, observing appropriate social distancing, is still okay according to local health and safety guidelines. That could change, however, so please keep up to date regarding local movement restrictions. We will do our best to promptly update this post if anything changes.)
Information about COVID-19: Looking for good sources of fact-based information about this fast-changing public health challenge? We recommend the CDC, the Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County Public Health.