Education, Field Trips & Outreach - Explore Oregon


Field Trips

Ever want to WORK with other amateurs and professionals in the field?  We participate in interactive labs and field trips exploring Oregon's landscapes.  Trips have taken us to places like the Metolius River to see native plants and to the beach to learn about geology.   

Left: Exploring for licheans on the Metolius.   


The Coast Range East of Tillamook
Ancient Volcanism and the Tillamook Burn.

Date: Saturday, July 20th. 

Cost: $15 for non-members (families $25), Free for members.

Start Time: 9:00 AM

Contact Information: (503) 358-9030 or e-mail: for meeting time and place and logistical details.

Trip leader: Dave Taylor

This trip takes us to the Coast Range, 20 miles east of Tillamook, where we will see reforestation effects of the 1933 Tillamook Burn, visit an early homestead, and glimpse the region’s volcanic history. All this is set in a surprisingly rugged landscape of sharp ridges, steep slopes and narrow valleys. 

Thousands of feet of lava erupted into seas in the Tillamook area 40-50 million years ago. This part of Oregon projected westerly into the Pacific Ocean then and has subsequently rotated into its current north-south orientation. Also, as the Atlantic Ocean has been growing it has been pushing North America to the west. Thus, the Yellowstone hot spot (hot spots are stationary centers of massive volcanism) was not always in Wyoming. Forty-five million years ago it was in what is now the Coast Range. The Coast Range reveals that history.

The geological highlight will be our search for crystals from a deposit erupted from a volcano – the yellow-green rock is peppered with green to black crystals.  These crystals are delicate, and we will see if we can find some complete, well preserved ones. They normally break into small pieces and weather to a glistening “sand”.

We will visit the Tillamook Forest Interpretive Center. The center will help us to appreciate the succession of trees that grow back after a burn and how the State Forest Service is managing its lands. 

We are including an optional hike to the top of Cedar Butte. It is ¾ mile long and has a 750-foot elevation gain. While the hike is difficult the view is impressive.

Logistics: You will need a vehicle with high clearance – or make arrangements with me for carpooling. It is a 5 ½ mile drive on a gravel road into the crystal locality. The road is steep in places and the last half mile is a little uneven.

Notes: Include a pair of hiking boots. Consider binoculars for wildlife viewing.  Bring a geology pick if you have one - I will have a couple extras. 

Lunch: Be sure to bring along a sack lunch and water, as we will not be close to a restaurant over the noon hour.


Outreach Presentations

Jurassic Dinosaurs - Field Notes From a Paleontologist

This includes a powerpoint tour of the Jurassic Parkland of Wyoming. Search for dinosaur bones in the famous Jurassic and Cretaceous fossil fields of Wyoming, and find the skeleton of the great three-horned dinosaur, Triceratops. Also, discover the only dinosaur fossil from Oregon!  

The presentation draws upon current issues in paleontology to demonstrate problem solving in science, and  it introduces ideas on how we learn about dinosaur lifestyles. Students are encouraged to speculate about how dinosaurs raised their young, how they walked (and ran), and the possible use of such structures as Stegosaurus plates or Triceratops horns. Ideas are presented on how the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. Students may also learn about what paleontologists do for a living and what one needs to study to become a paleontologist (details of presentation content depends upon age group).

Following classroom presentations, are hands-on activities in which students handle real bones and teeth of extinct animals. We finish with time for questions and answers. 

Fees: Classroom Presentation: $115

Assembly: $245 

Grades: pre-K through adult. (presentation content depends upon age group).

Length: 1 hour.

Travel charge: Additional fees may apply if travel distance is more than 25 miles. 

For more information or to register, please contact the Association at

Young geologists learning about the geology of Moolack Beach on the Oregon Coast.

Succulents encroaching gradually upon once explosive volcanic cinders.

A seal's view of the Oregon Coast.