The Education Program at Leach Garden may seem to have gone dormant from the twin impacts of the Upper Garden Development Project and COVID, but we’ve been busier than ever!
David Douglas High School students are out in the Back 5 Community Habitat Restoration Site every month. They have weeded, collected and propagated native seeds, tested water quality in Johnson Creek, and practiced GIS and arboriculture. Blueprint Foundation and African Youth and Community Organization students spent a fantastic day in October dissecting owl pellets and learning about the food web with Johnson Creek Watershed Council staff. They also explored owl ears, eyes, facial discs, and feathers to understand the relationship between form and function, and took birding walks with a PhD student from OSU. This month they conducted rigorous scientific surveys of salamanders with a PP&R Ecologist, and learned about the concept of habitats.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the Back 5 Project is how many people and groups want to be part of stewarding our urban greenspaces. Green Workforce Academy, Rosemary Anderson POIC High School, Native Plant Society of Oregon Portland Chapter, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, NW Academy High School, Northwest Youth Conservation Corps, Connecting Canopies Interns, and volunteers for Portland Parks & Recreation No Ivy Day and Portland Parks Foundation Fall Summit Day of Service have all weeded out there. And of course, the ongoing efforts of the Wisdom of the Elders Workforce Development LLC and their interns, and the Leach Garden and Johnson Creek Watershed volunteers continue to make huge impacts. In fact, the first two acres are looking good, and we’ve started installing over 1,000 more plants!