KOBI Spirit of Community Moment: Outdoor School

This year OCF is celebrating its 50th anniversary by sharing stories about the spirit of generosity in Oregon. This is Part VII from KOBI TV's "Oregon Community Foundation: Spirit of Community" series. View the series.  

KOBI: And Only on Five, the Gray Family Foundation, a supporting organization of the Oregon Community Foundation, strives to provide an outdoor school experience to every child in the state of Oregon. Here's another Spirit of Community Moment.

KOBI: John and Betty Gray developed a lifelong passion for protecting the natural beauty of Oregon. To preserve their legacy, the Oregon Community Foundation helped establish the Gray Family Foundation to ensure multiple generations of children would have access to outdoor classrooms.

Ben DeCarlo: What's exciting for me is a lot of times up here at the Natural Resource Center students don't realize they're actually learning; they just think they're having fun, but there's a lot of learning that's happening at the same time.

KOBI: Ben DeCarlo runs the Butte Falls Natural Resource Center. It used to be a fish hatchery. BD: We’re gonna have a cooking class, we have an opportunity for students to do some woodworking, we have the high school students leading the younger students.

KOBI: Research shows outdoor learning has huge benefits for both a student's well-being and academic performance. Sarah Gray is on the Gray Family Foundation board. She's seen the outdoor school program grow and thrive.

Sarah Gray: Some of the kids who really struggle in the classroom, you get them outside and they just come alive. They're free and they're focused and they're curious.

BD: We're looking to be able to expand this into an outdoor school program for other students to be able to come up on a daily basis, and down the road our plan is to be able to house them here overnight as well.

KOBI: If you’d like to help make Southern Oregon a better place to live, visit Oregon Community Foundation at https://oregoncf.org/50.