Environmental Volunteer Opportunities for Kids

Environmental volunteer opportunities offer a lot of great things for Portland families – the chance to get outside, to work hard, to give back, and to make our city more beautiful. Here are some of our favorite kid-friendly environmental volunteer opportunities. You can also find lots more kid-friendly volunteer opportunities here, and be sure to follow us on Facebook to be the first to know about our regular PDX Parent Cares volunteer events!

Johnson Creek Watershed Council. JCWC is committed to restoring Johnson Creek, a vibrant, 26-mile creek with many challenges. Children are often welcome to help out with JCWC. Sample projects include pulling weeds, spreading mulch, tending to and plant native plants, remove invasive species, and more. Coffee, tea and snacks are provided, along with all the tools needed to work. Check their calendar for upcoming projects. The project’s description will note if children are welcome.

Friends of Tryon Creek. The lush forest of Tryon Creek is home to many animals, plants, and kid-friendly volunteer opportunities! On first and second Saturdays, volunteers remove invasive plants and improve trails. Volunteers should be able to walk at least a mile and work off-trail in uneven terrain.

Forest Park Conservancy. The Forest Park Conservancy, dedicated to keeping Portland’s biggest park beautiful, hosts volunteer work parties Thursdays and at least one Saturday a month from 9 am to noon. Restoration work parties involve removal of ivy and other invasive species. All training, tools and gloves are provided. Recommended for ages 8 and up due to the vigorous nature of the work. Forest Park work parties are also available through Portland Parks & Recreation. All ages are welcome.

Friends of Trees. There are lots of opportunities to get involved with Friends of Trees. They often host several tree plantings on Saturdays from October to April. There are no age restrictions to be involved in a planting, but kids younger than 15 must have a parent along. Gloves, tools and guidance are all provided!

Zenger Farm. Zenger Farm is a hands-on learning center for the community that provides educational opportunities in sustainable urban agriculture, green economic development, and environmental stewardship. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with Zenger Farm. There are currently opportunities available to help with beekeeping with Portland Urban Beekeepers on 1st and 3rd Sundays from 10 am to 12 pm. Read more about our trip to the farm here.

Portland Community Gardens. Portland’s community gardens program has provided gardening opportunities for Portlanders since 1975. There are 52 community gardens located around the city, which all run on the help of volunteers and the Portland Parks & Recreation staff. Volunteer opportunities are through Hands On Portland, and are best for kids ages 10 and up. As a side note, Hands On is a great resource for finding volunteer projects of the environmental and non-environmental type for all ages!

Friends of Marquam Nature Park. Marquam Nature Park consists of over 200 acres of undeveloped land and over 7 miles of hiking trails. So there is lots of opportunity to help keep up this beautiful park! Volunteer work parties are held on the second Wednesday and last Saturday of each month. From April to September, most work parties are focused on trail maintenance, whereas from October to March the focus is usually more on invasive plant removal and planting.

SOLVE. SOLVE Is a great resource for finding kid-friendly stewardship opportunities. They put together work parties, clean ups, plantings, and more at parks and green spaces all around town—many of which are great for kids of all ages.

Ali Wilkinson
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Ali Wilkinson

Online Editor at PDX Parent
Ali Wilkinson is the Online Editor for PDX Parent, and is one of the founders of PDX Kids Calendar. She loves exploring Portland with her three small children, especially when the explorations lead outdoors, to music or to ice cream. You can read more from Ali at www.runknitlove.com.
Ali Wilkinson
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