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Tappin Roots (TR) is a newly launched 18-month environmental internship program for Black identified high school students in the Portland Metro region. Created and hosted by a collaborative group of community-based organizations including Camp ELSO, B.E.A.M. Village, The Blueprint Foundation and Friends of Tryon Creek. TR is a culturally specific community investment and restorative justice project. Using storytelling, mentorship and career exploration, place-based learning and healing practices, TR seeks to train and empower the next generation of environmental leaders and community leaders. Together, through Tappin Roots we hope to bring young Black Oregonians closer to nature, and closer to their history.
Tappin Roots Internship is open for African American youth ages 15-18. Interns will participate in summer nature based education work with one of 4 partners. During the 20-21 school year Interns will participate in weekend career and environmental justice symposiums led by professionals of color. Learning opportunities include indigenous cultural knowledge and Oregon's Black history. They will practice using oral tradition and cultural knowledge to educate others about the natural world. 16 Interns will be selected. Deadline to apply for Tappin Roots Internship is April 30, 2020.

Virtual Family Info Sessions:
Info sessions are designed for teachers, mentors, parents, guardians and high school students to learn more about the program and connect with representatives from our four (4) organizational partners. Details will be shared about each specific summer internship site. Info sessions are hosted on Zoom Video. You can join the info session from either a cell phone or computer with the instructions below.

Upcoming Info Sessions:

March 2020

March 31, 2020
4:00 -5:00 pm
How to Join:
On the date and time of the Info Session please click on the link "Join Meeting Now" below, in order to be automatically joined into the the Zoom call. You can also go to and click "join meeting" you will be prompted to enter the meeting ID: 711 927 854 .

Join Meeting Now
April 2020

April 3, 2020
1:00 - 2:00 pm
How to Join:
On the date and time of the Info Session please click on the link "Join Meeting Now" below, in order to be automatically joined into the the Zoom call. You can also go to and click "join meeting" you will be prompted to enter the meeting ID: 584 071 062.

Join Meeting Now

Contact Ericka Harrison, Administrator

Supported By


Interns will work as Camp Guides for the Wayfinders Summer Program. The Wayfinders program is an immersive outdoor environmental education program for K-8th grade that aims to connect Brown and Black youth to nature. We accomplish this through experiential learning on excursions throughout the Pacific Northwest, and via exposure to different ways of knowing and frames of science - dominant culture and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Wayfinders is also committed to empowering and inspiring a future generation of environmentalists and scientists of color by exposing them to professionals of color and their stories/journeys. ELSO recruits, trains and hire young adults of color as Camp Guides to facilitate hands on activities, environmental justice conversations, guide outdoor excursions, and develop their understanding of equity and inclusion in the environmental field. Some of the training's include leadership skills, engage in cultural and historical learning, as well as practicing group management.

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B.E.A.M Village

Tappin Roots interns will work as mentors for Middle School age youth who participate in the BSTRONG Rites of Passage Journey. BSTRONG Rites of Passage Journey is an eight (8) week summer program hosted at REED College. Offering interactive workshops, research projects, and cite explorations to assist Black students in their development to know thyself and community. Their journey will focus on positive identity development, financial literacy through the lens of economic stability in the Black community, leadership responsibilities as students participate in civic engagement opportunities that examine the impact of environmental and social justice acts imposed on indigenous Black and Brown citizens of Portland. BSTRONG's curriculum is designed to unearth and uplift past and present African-American contributors in Oregon that defy the perceptive of majority cultural norms. Strategic partners with local and national Black educational service providers help develop and deliver ever-widening holistic programming that contributes to the heightened expectations for Black students, encourages family and community immersion, raise positive consciousness that contrasts students’ current experiences in public and private school settings, and builds their larger world presence.

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Friends of Tryon Creek (FOTC)

Tappin Roots Interns will take part in the Field Ecology program. Intern will work with FOTC and several partners on a research andconservation project related to understory species. The goal of the project is to create resilient native plant communities, andprovide information and technical assistance. The interns will play an important role, working with conservationists andresearchers to conduct seed scouting and mapping of native understory herbaceous species at Tryon Creek and otherlocations, collect and document seeds, track pollinators, and install understory species trial plots. The interns will presentfindings to partners upon completion of the internship.

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The Blueprint Foundation

Interns will take part in the Grounding Waters program. Grounding Waters is a project-based mentoring program for environmental science and green building. This program uses hands-on training, multigenerational-mentoring, and civic engagement to inspire Black youth to pursue careers in the green sector. Our approach uses a 4-phase WISE model, where youth (a) Witness natural areas (b) Investigate environmental issues, (c) Solve, a community environmental issue, and (d) Educate, their community about environmental issues and environmental stewardship.

Learn More about Grounding Waters: