My name is Abigail Web and Outdoor School is important to me because I believe in the power of nature for children, for learning and for self-identity. I participated in Outdoor School in Northwest Portland in about 1981.
I remember making a wax candle with cardboard and a tuna fish can.
We went out to somewhere in East County and I remember licking slugs and hugging trees and I firmed up friendships with people who I’m still friends with today. That’s the amazing experience for kid—to bond with each other in a different way.
As a teacher I have to say I have never gone to Outdoor School, but the opportunity for kids to see teachers in a different light and in a different context and to be out of their element is so valuable. One of the things I’m excited about with [the Outdoor School for All] campaign is that it’s a huge equity piece. We really see that kids with more money and kids with wealthier backgrounds have lots more access to the out-of-doors and this is a shame. It’s wrong. It’s immoral. It’s critical that we make Outdoor School for All, just like our group has Scouting for All, where we make it accessible. It needs to be accessible for everybody to go regardless of language, background, income, or family background. It’s just a key piece. So when we’re looking for what we want in Oregon and what we want the future of Oregon to be, we have to send our kids to Outdoor School to learn values and to learn about science in order to be Oregonians of the future.