Our Mission

The Straub Environmental Center inspires our community to connect with and care for nature in the Willamette Valley.

Inspirando a nuestra comunidad a conectarse con la naturaleza y a cuidarla en el Valle de Willamette.

Core Values

  • A cycle of impact: To create knowledge of current science, leading to increased curiosity and growth in understanding and respect for the environment. Teaching action and leadership through service in our community.
  • Community service: Taking action together to create a sustainable environment.
  • Real world environmental education:  Connecting schools and students to their community to serve the local environment.
  • The earth as the place where we live:  Exploring our interconnectedness with the environment.
  • Collaborative vision:  Leading to more powerful action from all community members.
  • Access for everyone:  Providing opportunities to our diverse community.  People of all ages.
  • Impact through sustainable resources:  Serving in a sustainable manner, environmentally, socially and economically.
  • To teach sustainable practices in an innovate, fun way.  To learn from experience and to celebrate each success!

Of all the paths you walk in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.
— John Muir

Our Educational Philosophy

We Connect People with Nature in the Willamette Valley

The Straub Environmental Center’s (SEC) mission is to inspire our community to connect with nature and care for the environment in the Willamette Valley. To do this, SEC provides educational programs for children and adults that:

  • promote a sustainable approach to daily life,
  • increase science literacy,
  • create awareness and understanding of our natural world, and 
  • inspire ecological stewardship.

Our Main Campus is the Outdoors

We put a premium on providing direct educational experiences outdoors. We help people leave the virtual world behind and enter into the real-world—one where nature is just waiting to be explored. Studies show that learning in nature increases knowledge retention, provides health benefits, and motivates people to adopt environmentally-friendly practices in their own lives. SEC believes the first step towards environmental stewardship is experiencing the wonders of the natural world first-hand.

Our History - Governor Bob and Pat Straub

Governor Bob and Pat Straub were the inspiration for the Straub Environmental Center (SEC).  The Straubs were renowned for their love of Oregon and their efforts to preserve its natural beauty.  SEC seeks to promote that spirit by fostering public awareness of the beauty and cultural history of the Willamette Valley.

Governor Straub’s contributions to the people of Oregon during his terms as State Treasurer and Governor were considerable. His unyielding efforts to protect the public use and open access to Oregon’s beaches, and his tireless support for Oregon’s statewide land use program, helped place Oregon at the forefront of the environmental movement. He also initiated the Willamette Greenway program, one of the most important conservation and recreation initiatives in Oregon’s history.

Mrs. Pat Straub helped shape and support the Governors environmental views. She served on the Oregon Forestry Council and wrote a book dedicated to organic gardening, a true testament to her devotion to the health of Oregon’s lands. Their homestead featured organic gardens and native woodlands which they later donated to the City of Salem as a park.