About Us

Mission


Outdoor Education Adventures’ mission is to provide equitable opportunities for positive educational experiences in nature. Through nature immersion, exploration, and discovery we increase scientific literacy, knowledge of our local natural history and ecology, and inspire ecological stewardship in our communities.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Pledge


OEA recognizes that in order to achieve our mission and vision, we must embed the values of diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our work, from our hiring and employment practices to the services we provide. We strive to maintain internal policies, procedures, systems and practices that do not perpetuate inequity. We also recognize that continual reflection and improvement, with a culture of sharing, and learning are core components of our success. The following statements guide our work and actions as an organization:

Diversity
We welcome people of all beliefs, backgrounds and orientations. We believe that diversity results when equity and inclusion are practiced consistently and with intention. We work to build a diverse community that honors the ecological heritage of the Willamette Valley and actively participates in the stewardship of the natural environment.

Inclusion
We are dedicated to ensuring that all individuals and groups can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued in the process of learning about and experiencing nature. We are working to build an inclusive local community focused on embracing and honoring the psychological, physical and cultural differences that occur among any and all individuals.

Equity
We define equity as fair treatment, access, and opportunity to learning experiences in nature. We strive to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent historically underserved and underrepresented populations from accessing the benefits of nature-based education.

Values and Philosophy


Our teaching methods reflect the qualities that we value in people and organizations, including:

  • Student-guided inquiry: We engage students in learning that is guided by their curiosities.
  • Empowering Stewardship: We are mindful of our actions and choices, living life in concert with the natural world to the best of our ability.
  • Generosity: We try to be generous in our thinking of others, that they too are doing the best that they can.
  • Humility: While we take pride in our achievements and encourage others to do the same, we also encourage collaboration and a sense of humility. We are able to do great things together.
  • Kindness and creating empathy for one’s self and other living things: We create space and time for making mistakes, and encourage forgiveness and patience when mistakes are made. We encourage kind thoughts and actions towards others and one’s self.
  • Honesty & Integrity are developed and nurtured when people trust that they will be treated fairly, justly, and with empathy when they make mistakes.
  • Gratitude is expressed towards the people in our lives as well as the natural world around us. We begin and end each day with discussions that encourage grateful thinking.
  • Respect: We demand respect for all living things and natural systems, including other people.

How We Strive to Achieve Our Mission


We believe strongly that we are teaching the leaders and community members of the future, and that exposing them to nature as much as possible will help them make more informed decisions and become conscientious citizens. Access to outdoor education programs should be readily available to every child, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, marital status, parental status, national origin, disability, genetic information, or political belief. We are looking for opportunities for our programs to be more inclusive of people from all backgrounds, and welcome community involvement to that end. We know that there are many reasons why a family might not be able to pay full tuition, and we invite families in need of assistance to take advantage of our honor-system based, sliding scale financial assistance program. 

Specializing in creating intimate relationships with nature, Outdoor Education Adventures (OEA) encourages curiosity and creativity as well as getting dirty and having fun. We also sneak in learning about science and the wonders of nature (just don’t tell the kids they’re learning!). While OEA focuses primarily on educating children, we welcome people of all ages to join us in our adventures and explorations. Come out and play with us!

 

History and Future Adventures


Outdoor Education Adventures started as Watershed Education Adventures (WEA) in 2012 by Theresa Crain to meet the environmental education needs in Yamhill County. In 2015, Neyssa Hays joined WEA and the team decided to become part of the Greater Yamhill Watershed Council (GYWC). Early in 2017, Theresa and Neyssa set off on their own, creating Outdoor Education Adventures, LLC. OEA began transitioning to a nonprofit and began the process of restructuring, including adding a Board of Directors in 2020. In October 2020 the IRS declared Outdoor Education Adventures exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). 

Outdoor Education Adventures is growing, adding camps, volunteers, and increasing the number of campers we can have at each adventure. We’re now hosting nearly forty days of camp adventures for ages 5-12, plus Nature Play Adventures for preschoolers and their adult playmates.  We’ll be continuing our all-ages events around the county, and as before OEA is also available for field trips and in-class nature programs that focus on hands-on learning. In order to expand our reach, OEA regularly partners with other organizations in Yamhill County, including the Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District, the Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund, McMinnville Parks and Recreation, and school districts around the county. 

 

Defining Documents


Bylaws (click here to read)

 

Awards & Recognition


 In 2015, the team was honored by Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District with the Frieda L Miller Conservation Educator Award.

In support of their educational programs, they have also been recipients of grants from the Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, and the Oregon Wildlife Foundation.