Summer Camp Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions about summer camp, as well as information on our new summer camp sliding scale fee structure and policies. Please take a moment to review this page before you register for camp. Thank you!

What kind of camps do you offer?

  • In the Sanctuary day camps combine art, science experiments and games with explorations of our beautiful, 172-acre Nature Sanctuary and neighboring Forest Park.
  • On the Go Camps are day camps that travel by van or bus to learn about some of the beautiful parks, greenspaces and forests that are in and surround Portland.
  • Overnighters mainly take place at Marmot Cabin and the Miller Wildlife Sanctuary, outside of Sandy, Oregon. There are two 30 foot yurts and a 3,200 square foot cabin and a 91 acre wildlife sanctuary for us to explore, learn new skills and connect with nature and each other.
  • Expeditions travel with Bird Alliance of Oregon for 6 days across the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Summer campers will sleep in yurts or camp in tents.

What’s provided on overnight camps?
Food, transportation, and lodging are all provided on an overnight camp.

What if my child gets homesick?
The best way to treat homesickness is to keep it from occurring. Our Summer Staff work with different strategies to keep campers busy and actively involved in camp activities to try and combat homesickness. You can also help by not overly emphasizing how much you will miss your camper while they are away. This can actually make it harder for them and fuel potential homesickness.

Do you offer before or after care?
To better accommodate parents’ busy schedules, our full-day camps have a start time window between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. and a pick-up window of 3:00 and 3:15 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Camp will run between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Fridays. An aftercare fee of $25 will be charged for any child picked up after 3:15 p.m. (M-Th) and 1:15 p.m. (Fridays).

What is your discipline policy?
We expect all children to behave in a way that is conducive to a healthy and happy learning atmosphere. We reserve the right to remove the child from the class if disruptive behavior hinders our positive learning environment. We utilize a “three steps system.” If a child is behaving inappropriately, they will be spoken to (first step). If poor behavior persists a ‘second step’ will be given and parents will be notified at pickup that their child has been spoken to and advanced to the second step (or called if it is an away camp). If a third incident occurs, parents will be called to pick up the child immediately and child will be removed from camp for the week, and possibly for the rest of the summer.

Do you have a lost and found?
Campers are responsible for their belongings. Our leaders will do their best to ensure that campers keep up with clothing, shoes and gear. Please check with the staff member at pick-up if your camper has lost something. Items are donated to local charities at the end of the summer.

Do you have a payment plan?
We do not. Please pay for camp in its entirety when you register.

What is your tax ID number?
For your tax records, our Federal ID Number is 936026088.

General Camp FAQs and Policies

What are the qualifications for the Environmental Educators and what is the staff-to-camper ratio?
A typical ratio of one instructor to every five campers (1:6 for older groups) ensures that students receive individualized attention. Lead Environmental Educators are professional teachers with college degrees and experience in the natural world. Assistant Environmental Educators are high-school graduates, or high school students with an interest in working with children. All of our staff have had a federal fingerprint background check.

What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Please review our policy here.

What is your instructors’ medical training?
All camp staff, including counselors, are trained in first aid and CPR. Instructors also have Epi-pen certification. All programs have emergency procedure plans in place.

What time is camp?
We have a “window” for drop off & pick up times. Drop off is between 8:30-8:45 am and pick up is between 3:00-3:15 pm Monday-Thursday. The camp day ends at 1:00 p.m. on Fridays. Please be punctual. A late fee of $25 will be charged for any child picked up after 3:15 p.m. M-Th and after 1:15 p.m. Fridays.

What do I send my child to camp with?
Please send your child with a face mask, day pack, water bottle, snack, lunch, and appropriate clothes and shoes for outdoor adventures. Sunscreen is also recommended. For any Overnighter or Expedition, we will send a packing list ahead of the camp.

Packing Lists

Any camp with an overnight at Marmot Cabin

My camper carries medication. How do we let camp staff know how and when to administer medication?
Please review and complete the Medication Authorization Form and bring with you on your camper’s first day of camp.

Where do your summer camps take place?

Pick Up and Drop Off Locations  

(Grades 1-2)
Pick-up and drop-off are at Bird Alliance of Oregon, 5151 NW Cornell Rd. All 1st/2nd grade camps will be checked in and out under the Gazebo next to the Wildlife Care Center in our main parking lot.

(Grades 2-3)
Pick-up and drop-off are at Bird Alliance of Oregon, 5151 NW Cornell Rd. 2-3 grade camps will be checked in and out of camp in Heron Hall, located UPSTAIRS in the Nature Store/Interpretive Center building.

(Grades 3-5)
Pick-up and drop-off are at Bird Alliance of Oregon, 5151 NW Cornell Rd. All 3rd-5th grade camps will be checked in and out of camp next to the garage. The start of the trail to the nursery can be accessed from the east side of the gravel parking lot. Please walk up to the table next to the garage/shop and an educator will meet you there.

(Grades 6-8)
Pick-up and drop-off are at Upper Macleay Park on Cornell Rd, just east of Bird Alliance of Oregon campus. All 6th-8th grade camps will be checked in and out of camp here. Upper Macleay Park is just east of the Bird Alliance of Oregon campus. Upper Macleay neighbors Bird Alliance of Oregon on Cornell Road (please park at the Upper Macleay trailhead).

Can my child be in a camp for a different grade group than they are actually in?
Please do not send a child that is younger or older than the designated grade group. Our curriculum and planning are based on the appropriate age level for each program. Please register your child for camp based on the grade they are entering in Fall 2024.


About Summer Camp Sliding Scale Pricing

Bird Alliance of Oregon believes that the outdoors should belong to everyone. By shifting to a sliding scale payment model for camp, we are ensuring that all families can join us to play, learn, explore, and connect deeply with nature this summer. 

When you register, you will be invited to choose a dollar amount that works for your family. We welcome each family to pay at whatever level is feasible for you. 

If you are able, we invite you to “pay it forward” and give back, leveraging your privilege and abundance against the inequities that prevent many children from accessing camp. This will help us cover the true cost of the program for all campers and ensure that we can continue this sliding scale model in future years.

For more information around selecting the right sliding scale level, please see the guidelines here.

Animal Tracks and Traces camp, photo by Henry Jackson

Ready to register?

Click here!