WILD BUS: Kids' environmental education classroom on wheels
Retrofitting an old camper into a mobile classroom to bring environmental education opportunities to Portland area kids and families.
The Idea: Fund the Wild Bus!
We are raising $30,000 to buy an old Airstream camper, gut it to the frame, and retrofit it using green and recycled materials to be a mobile indoor/outdoor environmental education classroom. Our goal is to bring our environmental education workshops and hands-on nature fun to as many kids and families in Portland and the surrounding communities as possible, especially those that are underserved. We're calling it the Wild Bus for now, but we'll hold an official naming party when it's complete!
Who We Are
We are CityWildPDX, an Oregon non-profit founded by me, Britt Crow-Miller, an environmental geography professor with three young children. Our mission is to inspire curiosity about the natural world through fun, exploration, and hands-on learning for kids and families.
We value creativity, getting our hands dirty, nature as our teacher, and, above all, curiosity. From curiosity comes learning, from learning comes respect, and from respect comes stewardship and advocacy. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn about the natural community they're a part of and connect to nature, especially in cities.
What We're Doing
Through our high-quality, science-based, age-appropriate programming we offer the diverse communities of the Portland metro region the opportunity to rethink and strengthen their connection to the nature all around us. We offer classes and hands-on workshops and with our mobile classroom we'll be able to bring that programming directly to the communities we plan to serve. We'll bring the Wild Bus to public events, parks throughout the city, underserved preschools, farmers markets, vacant lots and anywhere else that will have us!
Sample workshops include:
Small Animal//Insect Study
Exploring Portland//Exploring our Senses
Urban Critter Tracking
Neighborhood Tree Mapping
Introduction to Nature Journaling
Wild Plants of PDX
Cool not Creepy: Echolocation in Bats and Moths
The Seeds We Eat
Why We Need Your Support
As a non-profit, CityWildPDX can take advantage of grant opportunities for our program development and most of our other costs, but we can't cover major materials...like a trailer and renovation! If you're a Portlander, you can support the development of a community asset that will serve our entire city and region. If you're outside the area, you can still vote with your dollars to support creating the kind of future that serves us all by helping to instill a strong environmental ethic in the next generation of decision makers. And who knows, maybe we can develop a fleet of Wild Buses, power them with clean energy, and take them around the country! Every single dollar counts.
Risks and challenges
The market for used Airstream trailers is limited and finding the right trailer at the right price may be a challenge. We're up for a drive to find the right camper and bring it to its new home in Portland.
Retrofitting work is new to us and we plan to rely on handy friends and family members to help with the renovation of the Wild Bus. We may need to call in an actual contractor if things get hairy!
Our plan is to use recycled and green materials for the interior remodel by partnering with groups like the ReBuilding Center in North Portland and SCRAP PDX. There's some chance we won't be able to find the appropriate materials used and will have to buy a few things new, but we hope that won't be the case.
These projects always take longer than expected, so running over schedule with our renovation is a risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (27 days)