12.21.21, marked the Solstice, the point at which the Northern Hemisphere was the farthest from the sun it will get all year, while our friends in the Southern Hemisphere were the closest they will be all year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it was the day with the longest period of dark and the least amount of light (less than nine hours of light here in Oregon). It also marked the final day of our end of the year giving campaign.

This is a time to reflect, to recognize the people who walk beside us and shine a light for us when the days are dark, and to give thanks for everything the world offers us.

You, dear supporters, are our light. WE GIVE THANKS

Image of a wreath with the words "To all of you who have supported OEA in so many ways! handwritten inside the wreath.

Thank you for your incredible generosity. Thanks to you we have surpassed our goal and have raised an amazing $15,491.58!!!

  • Thanks to you we will be able to offer 10 kids a week at camp with no tuition!
  • Thanks to you we will be able to hire a part time assistant.

We can’t thank you all enough.

Heart-shaped collage of photos of children exploring outside.

At OEA, we try to start and end each day with thoughts of gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for, and though we are well aware of just how difficult it can be right now to see the light, we know that showing our thankfulness helps to light the path when all feels dark. With that in mind, we want to give thanks for everyone and everything that makes it possible for us to do our work.

Collage of photos: thanks to all our assistants and volunteers

A special thanks to our four original assistants, who worked for nothing but ice cream for the first several years. Michael, Julia, Claudia, and Amadi (in no particular order) … thank you all so much for all of the help you’ve given us.

Our four original assistants.

Thanks to Laura McMasters (and others like her) who since the 1970’s has, through thick and thin, “soldiered on” to keep outdoor science education going in Yamhill County. On we go!

Collage of Laura McMasters teaching. Thank you, Laura!

Today we are grateful for:

  • The processes of nature: dark into light, death and decay into renewal
  • Our Community and communities
  • The creation and sharing of music, art, poetry, dance, theater …
  • The support and love of our workmates
  • The OEA families who trust and support us as we take their most cherished people into all sorts of weather to play, adventure, and learn
  • Our own families (especially our spouses) who have been flexible and supportive through all of this
  • The many people and organizations who have welcomed us onto their land so that we may offer these opportunities, as well as the caretakers of that land
  • All of the caretakers and stewards of this land who came before us from time immemorial, and to their descendents in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde
  • The land itself, and all of the more than human friends who inhabit it … the water, rocks, tiniest mushrooms and herbs, largest trees, insects, fish, birds, reptiles, mammals

To all of you and so many more, we are eternally grateful.

Collage of animals held in children's hands: crawdad, mantis, snake, skink, centipede, bird, beetle, frog, was, newt

AND many, many thanks …

Collage of mushrooms, flowers, and invertebrates