Updated June 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 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 spend at least part of their week working off site when recommended to do so by health authorities. We instruct our staff and volunteers not to be on site if they are feeling ill in any way. Physical distancing and mask wearing (for anyone who has not been vaccinated) are the standard when staff 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 physical distancing.
- 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 please see Nature-Schooling.
Programs Report as of June 24, 2021: See below for information regarding Nearby Nature’s upcoming programs and events. We will update this information as the situation changes locally.
- Summer Daycamps are happening! Most camps are full, but we encourage families to sign up on our wait lists as plans do change during the summer.
- Nature School: From September 2020 through June 2021, we hosted 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. Still to be decided, what form this program will take in Fall 2021. We will keep you posted!
- Spring School Nature Walk Field Trips: Due to the closure of most local schools in 2020-21, we did not run school nature walk field trips this past school year. We hope to re-open these programs in some form in the Fall of 2021. As of now, we are offering small group walks for Friends and Families.
- Public Events: As of now, many local events are still be run in alternative ways due to COVID-19. For example, as of January 2021, we 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 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.
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.