5th Grade Environmental Education

The Fifth Grade Environmental Education Program hosts more than 5,000 5th grade students at The Oregon Garden each year.  Field trips offer students an opportunity to experience their natural world through outdoor learning.  Active, academic and fun, the program offers a hands-on science experience to complement classroom learning and a real world understanding of 5th Grade Life Science standards.


Program Cost

The grants supporting the Fifth Grade Program cover the cost of the program, school bus transportation, admission and program fees.  Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Please fill out and submit the following grant application:

Fifth Grade Program Grant Application

Unless otherwise approved, a maximum of $300.00 per bus or $600.00 per school reimbursement is allowed with an itemized transportation invoice.   Single day groups of 30 students or less  are reimbursed at $100.00 per bus.  Charter buses will be reimbursed for the cost of a school bus to make the trip. Please schedule the bus after you receive confirmation of your field trip date.  Teachers will receive a bus reimbursement form on the day of their visit.

Field trips are generously funded through the Friends of the Children’s Garden.  This partnership with the Oregon Garden was initiated by Roth’s Fresh Markets in 2001 and is currently managed through the Roth’s Benefit Education Foundation.



Please contact Cindy Quam, Program Coordinator, 503-874-8256 or cquam@oregongarden.org for more information, lesson descriptions, a grant request form and more.  Pre vocabulary and take home lessons have been prepared for many of the lessons.  As always, students learn best with advance classroom preparation of subject and vocabulary.


Lesson Descriptions

Aquatic Life and Wetlands: Students observe and investigate what lives and grows in The Oregon Garden wetlands while learning about the structural and behavioral adaptations of aquatic life.  Hands-on laboratory activities and discussion enable students to understand the characteristics and life cycles of invasive species including a thrilling opportunity for up-close observation of seasonably available live tadpoles and aquatic invertebrates.   Due to hands-on component, it is one of the student favorites.

Forest Food Web:  Students hone their observation and analytic skills while observing and discussing the physical and behavioral characteristics of decomposers, producers, herbivores, carnivores and omnivores.   Students examine interrelationships between consumers and producers and identify characteristics for success within the food web.  Physical specimens including skulls, teeth and pelts bring the learning to life as students experience why creatures look the way they do.  An exciting “hunt for signs of wildlife” in the whispering forest culminates the lesson.  This lesson is another student favorite and has lots of opportunity for connected thinking, great exercise and outdoor learning exposure.

Honeybees and Pollination:  Students learn how pollination occurs and what it really means. When time allows, students dissect flowers to better understand the structures involved in pollination and how seeds are formed.  The fascinating life of honeybees is thoroughly discussed including opportunities to examine and handle honeycomb frames from real bee hives (without the bees!).  An expansive lesson that inspires and challenges students’ imaginations and understanding of pollination, social insects and their role in nature.  Time permitting, a lively game of “Bee Jeopardy” inspires intense and fun competition.  This is an excellent learning activity, often generating many questions and challenging students to think expansively about nature.  

Decomposers and Earthworms:  What better way to learn about decomposers than to watch a giant earthworm in front of you?  Learning includes earthworms’ structural and behavioral adaptations that explain or debunk what you might have heard about worms.  See up close specimens of small but mighty workhorse decomposers in a lab tray compost sample.   Students discover there are carnivores and herbivores in the soil and that there’s a real food web operating underground.  This lesson meets life science standards and provides a great hands-on activity.

Plant Adaptations:  Why are some leaves slippery, fuzzy, thick, slotted or deeply grooved?  What’s happening inside all leaves?  Students examine a variety of “seed packages” and their strategies for seed dispersal.  Review the process of photosynthesis through discussion and hands-on observation of plants inside the beautiful greenhouse.  A fun hunt to match plants and their unique adaptations gives students time to examine plants and think about why they look the way they do.  Whenever possible, the grand finale is a demo of carnivorous plants!  Use The Oregon Garden as an outdoor lab to complement a study of plant adaptations in the classroom.


Frequently Asked Questions

When should I send in my grant request?   Grants are first-come, first-served and accepted beginning June 1st for the following school year.  It is particularly important to send in your fall request as soon as possible.  You will receive a confirmation for fall field trips in late August/early September.  Spring confirmations are sent in late November/early December.

How many students can your facilities accommodate in one day?   The 5th Grade Program has three educators and is able to host 75-80 students (3 classes) in one day if necessary.  Larger groups may be scheduled on two different days.

Who funds this program?   Roth’s Fresh Markets partnered with The Oregon Garden in 2001 to form the Friends of the Children’s Garden.  The “Friends” provide annual support to the 5th Grade Program as well as the Children’s Garden through generous donations from grocery vendors and local businesses. The Oregon Garden provides on-site facility, maintenance and horticulture support.   Letters of acknowledgment are encouraged and teachers receive information on where to send  thank you letters.

How is my school reimbursed for the field trip? Teachers receive a bus reimbursement form on the day of their field trip.  Please give to your school secretary and they can notify the district that the trip is reimbursable.  The district sends the amount due to the address on the form and a check from the Roth’s Benefit Education Foundation is sent to your district.

What is expected of teachers?   Teachers should stay with their group and are responsible for handling behavioral issues.  Due to the complex layout of the Garden and missed content, floating between lessons is discouraged unless for medical or special needs.  Teachers are expected to enforce behavior and field trip guidelines outlined for students during the orientation.

How many chaperones should I bring?   We request 1 chaperon for every 5-6 students.  Chaperones should be able to walk ½ to 1 mile.  Active learning and group participation with students is encouraged.  Younger siblings are not permitted.

Is there a covered area for lunches?   Yes, we will have a short orientation indoors and return to that area for lunch.  Waste free lunches (lunchbox) are encouraged.

What should I wear?   AM temperatures are much cooler than the high temp forecast for the day! Students and chaperones should always bring a jacket and generally dress to be outdoors.    Shoes should be closed-toed and suitable for muddy pathways or off-trail walks.

What if I have special needs or a student in a wheelchair or on crutches?  Please inform the Program Coordinator prior to your trip so we can plan to avoid steps and adjust the travel path.


May - September
Daily - 9:00am to 6:00pm

October - April
Daily - 10:00am - 4:00pm

The Garden is open 365 days a year and is pet-friendly. Check the Visit page for the Visitor Center hours.


Adults $11
Seniors (60 and over) $9
Students (12 - 17) $8
Children (5 - 11) $5
Children (4 & under) Free
Groups (15+ ppl, advance notice) $8ea
All Military w/ ID $8

Contact & Directions

phone (503) 874-8100
toll-free (877) 674-2733
fax (503) 339-2996
email info@oregongarden.org
address 879 W. Main St.
Silverton, OR 97381

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