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The Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service Outdoor School program recognizes the key role that educators play in helping us to achieve our goal for every student to have an inclusive, meaningful, and high-quality outdoor school experience.

Our Approach

As we develop resources, engage with educators, and provide support, we try to stay true to the following approaches:

  • Center equity. 
  • Meet people where they are, whether this is their first educator role or they have decades of experience.
  • Elevate voices that are not being heard. 
  • Support educators and programs in identifying and building on their strengths.

Our Tools

Our Self-Evaluation Tools are foundational to the support we provide for educators. These tools describe features of highly effective outdoor school programs. Many of our professional development resources are aimed at helping programs develop the characteristics described in the tools. We also use the tools to evaluate our own programming as we strive to offer equitable, inclusive, high-quality opportunities for educators.

Support for Gender Expansive Students


In January 2023, the Oregon Department of Education released Supporting Gender Expansive Students: Guidance for Schools. The guidance includes information about nondiscrimination laws and recommended nondiscriminatory practices, including information about facility access and travel. The guidance is paired with the Gender-Affirming Schools Action Plan, which outlines specific recommendations, related resources, and planned actions for supporting gender expansive students. The Action Plan includes information about providing students with access to field trip, travel, and overnight accommodations that affirm their gender and comply with Oregon and federal laws (page 10).

three educators sitting at a table are engaged in conversation

Do you have educator resources to share with other outdoor school educators? Would you like to request that the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School team develop a certain resource that would support you in your work? We would love to hear from you. Please contact Kristi Backe, our Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator, using the form to the right!

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