Updated February 2021: Please Health and Safety Policies for our complete COVID-19 policies.
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) spend at least part of their week working off site. We instruct our staff and volunteers not to be on site if they are feeling ill in any way. Physical distancing and mask wearing are the standard when and if staff do meet on site.
- We disinfect bathrooms, door handles, and highly-touched surfaces in and around our office, Yurt, and Learnscape frequently if we have programs in session or personnel on site.
- We practice regular hand-washing and appropriate social distancing at work and at home.
- We share factual information and guidelines regarding COVID-19 with staff, volunteers, and program participants as appropriate.
- We instruct program participants not come to programs if they feel sick in any way. If a child were to appear sick unexpectedly during one of our programs, we would separate that child from the group and contact their parents/guardians for an immediate pick up.
- We are providing a variety of resources for families and teachers that help folks connect with nature nearby during this challenging time. For more information about in-person Nature School programs, emailed Explore Activities, our Nearby Natural Neighbors Project, and Nearby Nature Live, please see Nature-Schooling.
Programs Report as of February 15, 2021: Many 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! Coming soon…registration and information about this summer’s camps.
- Nature School: Since September, we have been running in-person programs for small groups of 10 children at a time (4-5 year olds and 6-10 year olds) at our Learnscape in Alton Baker Park, at Hendricks Park, and at Mount Pisgah Arboretum.
- Spring School Nature Walk Field Trips: Due to the closure of most local schools through at least mid March, we do not anticipate running school nature walk field trips this spring. We are, however, offering small group walks for Friends and Families.
- Public Events: As of now, most local events have been re-formatted or postponed. We have recently, however, started running Green Start Play Days for small groups of physically distanced families. 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: Please be sure to follow all local health and safety guidelines regarding face coverings and physical distancing when you visit public parks.)
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.