Summer & Fall 2017 Happenings At Nadaka Nature Park & Gardens

Summer & Fall 2017 Happenings At Nadaka Nature Park & Gardens. Read here!
Kids explore the bronze otter statue at Nadaka Nature Park, Gresham OR

By Monica McAllister
Nadaka Nature Park Coordinator

Something For Everyone
This past summer and early fall at Nadaka Nature Park has been abuzz with celebrations under the picnic shelter, free events, new additions to the play area as well as gardeners tending their harvest, and nature lovers exploring our lovely 10-acre forest. Even as the winter days start settling in, we at Friends of Nadaka (FON) have already started planning for next year’s events at the park. From hosting free indoor gardening workshops to forest restoration with local schools and community members, we are excited to offer plenty of opportunities for you to spend time with friends and family at Nadaka. Before we jump straight into next year’s events, let’s take a cue from the fall season to slow down and reflect on the bustle of activity that has occurred over the past few months at our neighborhood park.

Community Festival
This year’s 7th Annual Nadaka Community Festival was one of our best festivals yet! We had over 400 participants, 3 performances, and 35 partnering organizations & businesses, 28 of which hosted a community booth. We were thrilled to have The Aztec Dancers, Ukrainian Folk Singer Natalia Hougan, and the NW Panmen Terry Baber and Brad Hirsch on the Steel Drums perform again at this year’s festival. A big thank you to our Festival Committee, volunteers, partners and everyone who made the festival a marvelous success! Our Festival sponsors and donors included: Metro, City of Gresham, Owens Corning, and St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church. Albertsons & Organically Grown Co., Starbucks, and Rockwood PUD donated hot dogs & chips, organic apples, coffee, and water respectively.

Rip Caswell, Joan Albertson, Chad Caswell, Nadaka Nature Park, Gresham OR
Rip Caswell, Joan Albertson, Chad Caswell

Art Donations
Nadaka is especially grateful for the generous donation of the magnificent bronze otter and raven by Joan Albertson, the creators of the sculptures, artists Rip Caswell & son Chad Caswell.

as well as the work done by Lee Dayfield and Gresham Outdoor Public Art for making the installation and reveal of these beautiful art pieces possible.

Raven sculpture at Nadaka Nature Park, Gresham OR
Raven sculpture at Nadaka Nature Park
Giant Xylophone at Nadaka Nature Park, Gresham OR
Giant Xylophone at Nadaka Nature Park

Another amazing addition to the park is a new Xylophone installed at the north portion of the nature based play area. Thank you to the anonymous donor who made this possible and to the City of Gresham for installing this amazing gift of music for the community.

Volunteer Programs
Friends of Nadaka would like to recognize the amazing work of our two Nadaka SummerWorks? Interns and seven STRYVE Interns (Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere) who helped lead and teach bilingual events for the Wilkes Elementary Books in the Park Program, HB Lee’s SUN Program, Home Forward Apartment complexes, and our summer Tadpole Tales event. In addition to these educational events, they were also instrumental in keeping the park in tip top shape by removing invasive plants, caring for two education garden plots, managing for the front 2 acres, helping with the Nadaka Community Festival and more. Four of these amazing interns have joined the ranks of the Nadaka Ambassadors to continue working at the park year round.

Cleanups & more
For the fall season, volunteers from the neighborhood showed their love for Nadaka at our SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup in September and at the No Ivy Day event on October 28th alongside the “College Possible” High School youth to remove invasive plants and replace them with native plants. We also partnered with Audubon Society of Portland to host a September Bird Walk where we cataloged the number and variety of species passing through the park during fall migration. In the garden, we finished up our free hands on gardening workshop series with Outgrowing Hunger with a focus on “Harvesting Your Bounty” & “Shutting Down the Garden”. For those who are interested in gardening at the park, new garden registration for Nadaka begins February 1st. Contact Adam Kohl of Outgrowing Hunger ( for more information and how to register for a garden plot.

Park Safety
At the end of August, we had over 40 people attend the Nadaka Community Safety meeting to voice their concerns, learn what is being done to keep the park safe, and give suggestions for improvements at the park. We wanted to thank NET (Neighborhood Enforcement Team), CVIP (Citizens Volunteering In Policing), Gresham Parks Department, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, East Metro Mediation, and the Nadaka Ambassadors for sharing what is being done on the ground and behind the scenes to ensure that Nadaka stays safe and clean. One of the areas of concern was the heavily vegetated space between the St. Aidan’s parking lot and meadow. Since the meeting, we have worked with the City of Gresham Parks Department to lift the canopy and create a line of sight from the parking lot into the meadow. We are so grateful for the hard work that the Parks Department to help address this area of concern and have noticed a marked improvement in the activities happening in that area. By our community taking ownership of the park through volunteering, voicing concerns and potential solutions, in addition to simply being a positive presence in the park, we can continues to ensure that Nadaka Nature Park stays a safe and welcoming space to nurture nature, food, and families.

Fall & Winter Activities
As promised, here are a few great events coming up at the park in the next few months! Join us for a Free Beneficial Insect Workshop with EMSWCD on 11/4 from 9am to 11:30 AM, MLK Day of Service Monday, January 15th, and the Community Planting Event in February (date still to be determined). Other great events to keep your eye out for are our Annual Free Indoor Gardening Workshop Series with Oregon Food Bank, Spring Migration Nature Walk and Welcome Back Vulture Day with Audubon Society of Portland.

Connect With Us
These are just a few of the activities we have in store for the community at Nadaka. For more information and opportunities to get involved and help create a positive social and environmental change in the Wilkes East and Rockwood community visit, “Friends of Nadaka” on Facebook, or contact Monica at or 503-956-8558. We look forward to seeing everyone at the park!