The Oregon Zoo’s Urban Nature Overnights (UNO) hosted a group of Lincoln & Menlo Park students at the Wildwood Recreation Site. It was amazing to watch students explore the world outside the classroom and take on new skills and responsibilities. Our campers did all the work – setting up tents, cooking breakfast, washing dishes – chaperones got to kick back and enjoy the (beautiful) scenery.
With their UNO counselors, students hiked the trails of the recreation site – exploring the banks of the river, wetlands and the forest; learning about plants, animals, geology and ecology; even going for a twilight ramble to experience the mystery of the night forest. They also learned how to leave no trace and entertain each other without electronic devices, playing nature games and taking turns with campfire entertainment (a 60’s party at the beach was a particular hit…).
It is incredible to see how much students grow and learn in a short 24 hours. They’re pretty awesome to begin with, don’t get me wrong, but they come back from Wildwood with a song in their heart, a love for nature, and increased independence and interpersonal skills. Thanks to the Oregon Zoo, Wildwood and SUN for giving our students such a wonderful opportunity!