Environmental Learning Center

The Newell Creek Headwaters Restoration Project

"The whole region will benefit from a restored Environmental Learning Center and protected Newell Creek Headwaters." - Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette

In 2014, the Headwaters of Newell Creek Restoration Project, at the Environmental Learning Center on CCC’s Oregon City campus, received an $863,432 Metro grant to help fund redevelopment of the 5-acre site into a regionally significant outdoor learning laboratory.

The site is currently being rebuilt into a regionally-significant outdoor learning laboratory that will showcase innovations in stormwater management, landscape design and sustainable living practices.

The Environmental Learning Center site will be open daily from dawn to dusk once construction is complete in spring 2018. For more information, please call 503-594-3015.

Give to the Environmental Learning Center

The Environmental Learning Center is a critical wetland

The Environmental Learning Center is a great place for children, families and adults to explore the outdoors and learn about watersheds through hands-on environmental education.

Newell Creek bubbles to life here — fed by underground springs and stormwater runoff from the campus and surrounding areas. It then flows through the Newell Creek watershed, connects with Abernethy Creek and continues on into the Willamette River.

The water flowing into the ELC provides critical wetland habitat for wildlife, but stormwater carries pollutants with it. Our functional wetland cleanses and cools this water, ensuring that what goes downstream is healthier than what entered the site.

The water in Newell Creek flows through the 1,800-acre Newell Creek watershed, the largest intact green space in the South Metro area. From there, it connects with Abernethy Creek and then continues on into the Willamette River, the Columbia River, and ultimately into the Pacific Ocean.

What can you do at the ELC?

  • Explore trails
  • Discover native plants and wildlife
  • Enjoy a peaceful break from a busy day
  • Take part in one of our Community Education programs – exploring a range of topics that include Stress Reduction, Arts & Crafts, Bushcraft, the Natural World and Events like Star Parties
  • Bring a classroom on a field trip
  • Attend short-courses on environmental topics that impact your profession.


Please note that we are currently closed for construction.

View 20 Facts About the Environmental Learning Center 

Continuing Education at the ELC

If you’re looking for a fun and convenient way to broaden your knowledge around environmental issues, the Environmental learning Center at Clackamas Community College offers short-courses designed to give professionals hands-on experience, while learning from the experts.  

Short-course topics will cover areas related to Stormwater Management, Wetland/River Restoration and Ecology, as well as others. Please contact us if you'd like to receive email notices about upcoming trainings: rharber@clackamas.edu.

Why to take a class at the ELC

Sitting in one of our rustic, yet comfortable classrooms, you’ll find yourself right in the middle of our recently restored riverine wetland. 

  • Only minutes from downtown Oregon City
  • Free and open parking
  • Retreat-like feel close to the city
  • Conveniently located off Interstate-205

For more information about upcoming workshops, or to discuss training needs, please contact Renee Harber at rharber@clackamas.edu or 503-594-3015.

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