Alton Baker Park Nature Walks

Kids Check Out the Willamette River

Walk on the Wild Side!

Want to spend more time outdoors with your students? Looking for new ways to meet science learning goals? Need some in-town Outdoor School activities? Nearby Nature can help!

Kids who spend time outdoors are happy, healthy, and ready to learn. We invite you and your students to join us in the fall or spring for morning nature walks in the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park.

The Basics:

  • REQUEST PROGRAM
  • WHAT: Interactive nature walk field trips (topic options below)
  • WHERE: Alton Baker Park (meet outside the Eugene Science Center, 2300 Leo Harris Pkwy)
  • WHO: Two classes of K-5th graders per day (divided into groups of 7-9 children)
  • WHEN: Spring (late April-end of school year) or Fall (mid-September-mid-November)
  • HOW LONG: 9:30-11:45 am morning nature walk, including optional time for lunch (plus optional afternoon extension from 12-1 pm or 12-2 pm)
  • HOW MUCH: Morning walks $3.50/child, afternoon extensions $3.25/child (Nearby Nature) or $3/child (Eugene Science Center). Scholarships available. Request when you register. Priority to Title I schools.
  • LEARNING GOALS: See how our programs help meet science standards here.
  • STAFF: Walks led by trained volunteer guides. Schools provide one adult per group.
  • CONFIRMATION: Program date/s, scholarships, and prep instructions provided via email.

Morning Nature Walk Topics

  • Nature Detectives Walks (1st-5th graders) – Using their nature-detecting senses and observation skills, kids will explore the park and look for signs that plants and animals are waking up for spring or getting ready for winter! We’ll focus on whatever fascinating discoveries students make and try to solve whatever mysteries inspire their curiosity.
  • Critter Quest Walks (1st-5th graders) – Kids will spend half of their time using pond dipping nets to
    Critter Quest Pond Study

    look for aquatic critters and half of their time on a wildlife-themed nature walk. Life cycles, adaptations, and camouflage are some of the topics that will be addressed.

  • River Quest Walks (1st-5th graders) – Kids will visit the Willamette River to see the water cycle in action, learn about local watersheds/river history, and check out riparian plants and animals. Our Frohnmayer Bridge mural will be a highlight!
  • Kalapuya Quest Walks (3rd-5th graders) – Kids will discover how Kalapuya people historically used native plants and animals for shelter, food, and clothing. They will also learn about Kalapuya transportation, traditions, language, games, and stories.
  • Forest Quest Walks (1st-5th graders) – Kids will learn about all the parts of healthy forest, from soils that grow seeds to towering trees that provide homes for critters and the oxygen we breathe. Life cycles and habitats of Northwest plants and animals will be addressed.
  • Learnscape Adventures (pre-school-5th graders) – Kids will visit our Learnscape Garden and Outdoor Classroom. They will enjoy garden activities in our Edible Classroom, cooperative games/supervised free nature play, and storytelling in the Hazelnut Hollow. (Note: only one class per day can do this program.)
  • Kinder Quest Walks (pre-school-kindergarten) – Young children will get to know nature through games, stories, and hands-on activities that engage their senses. Walks will be paced for the age of your students. If you have a specific topic you would like us to address, feel free to ask. (Note: these programs can be shortened to 9:30-11 am if desired.)
Earth Art!

Afternoon Program Extensions

  • Nearby Nature Afternoon Adventures (12-2 pm): After their morning nature walks, students split into larger groups and spend two hours doing pond study (kids use dip nets themselves) and Earth Art.
  • Earth to Sky (12-1 pm) – After their morning nature walks, students watch a Eugene Science Center planetarium show. Topics vary by season and will be provided at registration.
  • Eugene Science Center Exhibit Hall Visit (12-1 pm) – After their morning nature walks students explore the Eugene Science Center’s current Exhibit Hall program.