This program has been sustained over the years by the continued generosity of Camas-Washougal Community Chest’s Grant Program, a volunteer nonprofit organiztion funded mostly by local employees and businesses to support Camas-Washougal youth and families, and the Vic Clausen Youth Education Fund. Through their support, this program has been offered, free of charge, to hundreds of Washougal students.
In previous years, middle school students from both Canyon Creek and Jemtegaard Middle Schools have had the opportunity to spend three days exploring the Gorge. Students chased waterfalls at Hamilton Mountain and got their boots dirty as they explored Beacon Rock Doetsch Day Use Area. Unfortunately, the program was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
were contacted by Tabitha Johnson, a Jemtegaard, who hoped we could develop a special, on-campus program for 85 students.
Together, we decided that if we couldn’t take the students out to explore the wonders of the Gorge, we would bring the adventure to them. In place of a Gorge field trip, we helped students explore the wonders of their own backyard via the Gibbons Creek trail that borders the school’s property. Students split in half and rotated through two different stations each class period. One group learned about native and invasive trees while creating colorful leaf tracings while the other group completed a nature treasure hunt along the trail.
At Friends, we know that to encourage local youth to care about the Gorge, they must connect to it, which means having fun. Whether that’s through making connections to the animals they see or spending the day at a creek laughing with their friends, we want them to build a positive relationship with the natural world that will last a lifetime.
As we head into another year, we are hopeful that we will once again be able to travel to and explore the Gorge with the students. We find solace in knowing that no matter the circumstances of 2022, we can always find a way to get students outside, learning and exploring in their own communities, all thanks to our strong community support.
More on Explore the Gorge
- June 13, 2019 | Camas-Washougal Post Record: Washougal Students 'Explore the Gorge'
- June 21, 2018 | Camas-Washougal Post Record: Explore the Gorge
- June 15, 2018 | The Columbian: Washougal students talk about environment during Outdoor School
- June 15, 2017 | Camas-Washougal Post Record: Out of Their Desks and Into Nature
- June 10, 2014 | Camas-Washougal Post Record: A Connection to Conservation
- June 11, 2013 | Camas-Washougal Post Record: A Natural Classroom
- June 21, 2011 | Camas-Washougal Post Record: Empowering Observation