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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors (ECO)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Environment, Environmental Education, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Primary & Elementary Schools

Mission: ECO inspires elementary school students to connect to the natural world by providing hands-on ecology enrichment programs.

Results: Since 2005, ECO has brought experiential nature lessons and activities to more than 15,000 students in the greater Portland/Metro region.

Target demographics: inspire elementary school students to connect to the natural world

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2,500 students

Geographic areas served: the greater Portland Metro region

Programs: our Ecology Enrichment Programs. We bring expert Scientists in Residence into elementary school classrooms to help students connect with nature through hands-on science, art and service-projects.

Community Stories

34 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization! I have been blessed to be a part of ECO for the last 6 years, as president of the board of directors. The top notch programming is a testament to the amazing team of educators and support staff at this wonderful non-profit. Add to that, ECO's community engagement and willingness to reach out and work with other local and regional partner organizations has made ECO a leader in Nature Based Education. I look forward to many years of continued growth, with the hope that one day all kids have access to high quality, hands-on, nature based ecology education. Team ECO, you all ROCK!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am so glad ECO exists! Helping kids keep in touch with what is going on in our natural world is increasingly difficult in our screen centric culture. ECO engages and instructs students, while showing them just how cool and fun interacting with nature can be. Way to go team ECO, keep up the great work!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ECO is a collaborator and and a great partner for Hands On Greater portland. Eco-literacy and outdoor experiences are vital for our youth and I'm thankful this is their focus.

-Cristy Munoz
Program Manager
Hands On Greater Portland

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have worked with ECO for the past four years and it is always a delight. The students come to our site raring to go, excited to get to explore the natural world. The instructors clearly have good rapport with the students. They also project an easy proficiency with the art and craft of coaxing elementary students into the rigors of scientific thought, observing nature with respect, dealing with Oregon's weather, and positively affecting a piece of land.
The "back of house" component is also reliable and competent - correspondence, documentation, and planning is timely, complete, and efficient. Strongly recommended.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work with multiple schools in the Portland Metro area to support garden education. ECO has been a perfect partner to collaborate with and bring together the intersection of nature lessons and garden education to impact students in a fun and memorable way. The staff is ready and incredibly capable of collaboration with other organizations as they look for ways to lift curriculum up and outside together. I look forward to working with ECO more as they connect with students throughout the area!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am Director of a non-profit organization that has worked in partnership with Ecology in the Classroom & Outdoors. Working with young people indoors and out, teaching the ecological principles they will take into adulthood, staff members need not only to know their stuff, but be engaging environmental leaders themselves. You can’t fake out the kids or the environment. ECO makes good things happen by being very good, authentic, and fun.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been a board member with ECO for a few years now and still constantly feel lucky that I get to be part of this wonderful organization. From the dedication of the founders to the energy and positivity of the classroom staff, ECO always manages to impress.

FredC

Advisor

Rating: 4

I worked with ECO as an Encore Fellow exploring productizing curriculum to scale impact beyong the geographical reach of the educator team. I witnessed ECO educators work with students in classrooms and outdoors during service learning projects.

The student engagement experience is magical. ECO educators engage students enthusiastically and students respond fully. For many of the students, the service learning field trips are the few opportunities they have to engage nature. Student ECO experiences in the classroom and outdoors is often identified as a highlight of the year.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

ECO is the real deal! Exceptional student experiences in the classrooms, on outdoor service projects, and field trips. In addition to being a donor, I'm working with ECO as a independent Encore Fellow helping to expand their reach and impact. ECO programs educate students, advance collaboration skills, and build self-esteem.

Help ECO inspire the next generation to understand and revere nature, so they will become informed and effective stewards.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Time and time again, principals, teachers, and most of all students request ECO to return to the classroom to teach and inspire students to be more knowledgeable about the natural world. Students love the opportunity to take that knowledge outside and see the classroom teaching in the world. ECO works in partnership with the schools and other organizations and enjoys fostering those relationships. ECO's educators are top notch and strive to provide the best curriculum for the students. ECO is a wonderful organization!

Donor

Rating: 5

ECO fills tremendous gaps in Portland area schools' science education by taking children into nature for some solid experiential education - the kind that most closely resonates with me, and, I think, most closely resonates with kiddos. It's clear that the kids they reach are deeply impacted by both the education and the fun that is born from ECO's stellar vision and passionate staff. I can't afford to give to much or to many organizations, but when I see the results this fantastic organization achieves, I can't help but open up and give what I can. I'm so thankful that this wonderful organization exists, that they are growing, and that they bring so much light to the eyes of our future!

Board Member

Rating: 5

ECO is a unique program that develops relationships with schools and with children to help them build a relationship with the natural world. Coupling science inquiry with service learning and hands-on experiences in students' neighborhoods, ECO is a great antidote to "nature deficit disorder." The creative and talented educators leave students clamoring for more...and then they come back over and over to give it to them! Great one of a kind program!

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is simply a great non-profit! ECO aims to get kids outdoors, interacting and learning about the world that surrounds them- what else is there to know?!

Donor

Rating: 5

Talent and Passion and more Talent. ECO is a wonderful team of hardworking, passionate educators and visionaries. They do so much to get children out into nature, and to help kids appreciate and value their wonderful world - my favorite nonprofit in Portland, hands down.

Jenny99

Donor

Rating: 5

What could be more important than helping kids understand the importance of our natural world and how all the parts work together? Thanks to ECO for introducing our future leaders to the joy, excitement and significance of the world outside and engaging kids with meaningful projects and information!

Board Member

Rating: 4

Isiscovered WCO through my work as a STEAM teacher on special assignment . The learning fun and hands on integrated STEAM experiences that they provide brings smiles to the children, as well as a love and increased understanding of their planet.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ECO is hands-down the most dedicated and hard working team I've ever had the pleasure of working with. It's an absolute joy collaborating alongside this group of talented folks and helping realize their vision of connecting more kids to nature.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

ECO provides the opportunity for children to learn science in a safe and fun environment. It is the best place for me to invest my money.

Advisor

Rating: 5

ECO is an energetic group passionate about the connection kids share with nature and they bring it to the classroom! The kids stay excitedly engaged - I'm not even sure they realize how much they are learning. It's an incredible program and an amazing group!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors brings organic, hands on learning to the classroom. As a volunteer, I have had the pleasure of working with Betsy and Bethany in both the office and classroom. They are two extremely dedicated individuals who believe in the importance of learning ecology through real life experiences. I am so impressed with their teaching style and will continue to participate in any avenues I can. It is absolutely magical seeing the students faces when ECO walks in. They are so enthusiastic about this learning process. This program truly makes a big impact in schools and I feel honored to be a part of it. Keep up the amazing work!

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been extremely impressed with the ECO program. The staff is dedicated, experienced and exceptionally talented at reaching kids in meaningful ways. In addition, the curricula is structured to be student-centric and hands-on, which maximizes retention of learning. Classes focus on ecology with links to other aspects of student learning, which expands the value of each class exponentially. Finally, if you were to watch a video of the instructors (or better yet, sit in on a class), you would see the amazing rapport they generate with students. They use a wonderful mix of humor and engaging questions to keep kids focused on learning. I could not say enough good things about this non-profit!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors implements fun, organized, hands-on lessons in elementary schools to increase ecological literacy. I recently volunteered with ECO to help teach about ethnobotany and I was impressed by the students' enthusiasm for the lesson and how well the material complemented what the students were already learning about NW native peoples. The ECO teachers are engaging and the ethnobotany lesson included an interactive outdoor portion where students learned about the uses of several native plants and made a bit of rope from plant materials to take home. ECO visits a classroom several times a year, which allows teachers, students, and ECO staff to build stronger relationships. This organization provides a much-needed service in schools today: to get students outside and excited about the natural world they inhabit. I would gladly volunteer with them again!