Education Program Highlights – Fiscal year 2020-2021

Educators, families, and non-profit partners continued to support conservation education for District youth and surrounding community members despite the challenges of the past year. Overall, we provided nine partners with funding and conservation planning advice for a range of projects including native plantings, a greenhouse, raised garden beds, a wheelchair accessible pathway, and online garden and climate education lesson plans.

Cottonwood School of Civics and Science found a way to bring garden education to students learning remotely with at-home learning kits. Students were also fortunate hear a presentation by Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, botanist and author of Braiding Sweetgrass, which supplemented their remote learning. Dr. Kimmerer shared how she views the world through both an Indigenous lens and a lens of Western science and discussed the importance of reciprocity with nature.

Maplewood Elementary School installed 156 native plants and enhanced their soil with amendments. Giant Camas were planted upland of the Maplewood Wetland Garden, bringing visible Indigenous first foods to the space.

Sauvie Island School installed a greenhouse that will provide an excellent growing environment for veggie starts to use in their own school cafeteria and learning gardens while also providing students a warm place to experience gardening year-round!

Bridlemile Elementary School worked with its highly motivated and committed garden committee and volunteers to improve and extend irrigation throughout its garden, remove invasive species, and add compost in edible and habitat gardens.

At Jackson Middle School, SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) program staff worked with Wisdom of the Elders crews and eight volunteers to help plant 150 native plants, remove invasive species, and enhance a walking path with mulch to reduce erosion and stormwater runoff. During the work party event, volunteers got to visit Falling Creek, which flows near the south side of the school, to learn more about the direct impact of their efforts in the Falling Creek watershed, as well as downstream in Tryon Creek.

Sunstone Montessori School built several raised beds for a native plant and vegetable garden in an otherwise life-less courtyard.

The Better Together Garden at Portland’s City Hall have purchased lumber for a wheelchair accessible pathway to reach its garden beds and nearby native pollinator garden.

The Sauvie Island Center established new teaching gardens at its new site at Topaz Farms including a First Foods Forest.  The design of the First Foods Forest was completed with input from a diverse committee that included Indigenous community members from the Wisdom of the Elders.

Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors (ECO) engaged seven classes and 150 students from Robert Gray Middle School through their digitally-available Climate Action Education Program. Rooted in a proven place-based learning model, ECO’s Climate Action Education Program is designed to support teachers in building engagement with climate science, solutions, and justice in their own classrooms.