Outdoor Learning Gardens

OLG-soil-handWelcome! The Outdoor Learning Gardens (OLG) project at Atkinson Elementary School in Portland, Oregon was founded in Spring 2001 by two Atkinson parents. From our initial garden, a native plant wildlife habitat, we have expanded to include playground tree plantings, a multicultural garden, an outdoor classroom, a pollinator and butterfly garden, a flower garden called The Magic Garden, and the Discovery Garden.

OLG’s Mission Statement

“The Outdoor Learning Gardens committee is dedicated to providing and maintaining natural spaces on our school grounds where the Atkinson community can have sustained and meaningful interactions with the living world.

The gardens provide environments for observation, investigation and active hands-on learning. The activities used in these living classrooms foster curiosity and imagination, and create passion for and further the students’ and teachers’ knowledge of the natural world.

We aim to promote, in our school community, socially responsible, culturally sensitive and environmentally aware behavior.”

OLG News and Events

Every second and fourth Monday of the month is our garden volunteers hours where you are welcome to come work to help maintain the garden. Please bring your own gloves.

Every class needs a garden representative to help work with students and teachers in the Gardens.  Please email OLG co-chairs, Lilia Boyer and David Herron at olg@atkinsonpta.org to sign up for your class!

View our events page for upcoming events.

OLG History

The Outdoor Learning Gardens (OLG) project was founded in Spring 2001 by Atkinson parents Em Scattaregia and Kate Raphael, who trained as Oregon State University 4H Wildlife Stewards through the OSU Extension Service. Atkinson parents and students designed and planted our first garden, a native plant wildlife habitat, and became a member school of the OSU 4H Wildlife Steward Program.

A first grader studies in the habitat with the assistance of a parent volunteer garden rep.

Atkinson Outdoor Gardens

Volunteer at the OLG

Our Outdoor Learning Gardens are maintained by students, parents, families, and local community members. New OLG volunteers are always welcome!

How Does the OLG Program Work?

Garden Representatives:

At the start of each school year, parents volunteer as garden representatives for each classroom. They plan lessons with individual teachers deciding how classes will use the Outdoor Learning Gardens. Garden representatives take 5-7 students at a time into the outdoor gardens and/or classroom. While outdoors, the children are able to observe, investigate, plant, weed and harvest, write, draw, and dream. Garden representatives may also assist teachers with special projects, field trips and science curriculum not related to the gardens. We are always seeking new volunteer parent garden reps! We are looking for gardeners, cooks, artists, builders, grant writers, scientists, and nature lovers!

Garden Maintenance:

Our Outdoor Learning Gardens are maintained by students, parents, families, and local community members. New OLG volunteers are always welcome!

The OLG has evolved into a committee of parent volunteers who help coordinate education and operations in our expanding outdoor learning gardens. We welcome new ideas and parent and community involvement; please let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions.

We would like to thank the parents, staff, local businesses, churches, and schools who have helped us to maintain our Outdoor Learning Gardens. THANK YOU!

OLG Positions and Contact Names:

Co-Chair for Administration Open Position
Co-Chair for Maintenance Open Position
  Open Position
Multicultural Garden Garden Steward Open Position
Pollinator & Prairie Garden Steward Open Position
Outdoor Classroom Open Position
Magic Garden Steward Open Position
Native Habitat Steward Open Position
Stories of PLACE (Mural and Tile Project) Artist Open Position
Curriculum Open Position
School Grounds Open Position