Happening’s At Nadaka Nature Park & Garden Fall 2018

Happening’s At Nadaka Nature Park & Garden Fall 2018. A place that nurtures nature, food, and families

“A place that nurtures nature, food, and families”

Turned leaves are falling, the mornings are cool, and our plants are drinking up the first rains of the season as we settle into a beautiful autumn here at Nadaka Nature Park.

By Monica McAllister & Grace Graham

After a summer buzzing with community celebrations and gatherings, gardeners tending their bountiful harvests, and many educational workshops and volunteering events, we at Friends of Nadaka (FON) are looking forward to our winter programming and have already begun planning for next year’s events. Over the next several months, we will be offering indoor gardening workshops, forest restoration projects, and other community engagement events that we encourage all of our neighbors to attend. Before diving into information about our upcoming park activities, however, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the past season’s successes and thank our community members and partners who helped make them possible.

This year’s 8th Annual Nadaka Community Festival was a huge success! We had over 350 participants, 3 performances, and 34 partnering organizations & businesses. 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. The Audubon Society of Portland education birds and handlers, City of Gresham Police Cadets and Fire Department had a ton of fun connecting with the community and teaching them about the amazing work they do. Environmental education activities, crafts, and face painting were led by our Nadaka Interns, East County Nature Crew, Centennial Park High School, Gresham High School Key Club, and TALON Apprentices from Audubon Society of Portland while the Boys & Girls Club kept the fun going with games and activities at the picnic shelter! We extend a big thank you to our Festival Committee, volunteers, partners, and everyone else who made the festival a marvelous success! Our Festival sponsors and donors included: Owens Corning, City of Gresham, and St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, as well as Albertsons, Starbucks, and Rockwood PUD who donated hot dogs & chips, coffee, and water respectively. We are extremely grateful for their support!

Friends of Nadaka would like to recognize the amazing work of our two Nadaka SummerWorks Interns and nine East County Nature Crew who helped lead and teach bilingual events for the Human Solutions apartment complexes and lead nature activities for the SKIP Program (City of Gresham’s Summer Kids In the Park Program, which includes free lunch and family-friendly activities) hosted at Nadaka with the Boys & Girls Club this summer. This year, Lilia from the SummerWorks Intern Program joined the ranks of the Nadaka Ambassadors, and Trey has returned as an Ambassador after his internship with the East County Nature Crew to continue working at the park year-round. We also want to recognize the amazing work of our year-round Ambassadors who have been working to engage the community, lead events, and keep the park safe and clean!

For the fall season, volunteers from the neighborhood showed their love for Nadaka at our SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup in September and the No Ivy Day event in October. For this year’s No Ivy Day event, Friends of Nadaka was awarded a $2,000 SPACE Grant from East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District. This grant enabled us to purchase native plants and tools, and help support the Nadaka Park Coordinator and Nadaka Ambassadors in running the event. We were lucky to have “College Possible” high school youth and community members come together to prep the garden for winter. Another great annual event was our Fall Bird Walk with Audubon Society of Portland, 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, and did an end-of-the-season cleanup. For those who are interested in gardening at the park, new garden registration for Nadaka begins February 1st. Contact Adam Kohl of Outgrowing Hunger (adam@outgrowinghunger.org) for more information and how to register for a garden plot.

New to our team at Nadaka Nature Park this fall is AmeriCorps Member Grace Graham, who recently started an 11-month term of service as the Events & Outreach Specialist for both Nadaka Nature Park & Garden and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council. Grace was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, and graduated from Willamette University in Salem, OR last May with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and degree emphasis in Social Sciences. During her time in school, Grace managed her university’s Outdoor Program, assisted her academic advisor in climate research, and spent a semester studying biodiversity and the local social impacts of ecotourism in Bocas del Toro, Panama. After graduating, she worked for a diversified organic farm in Salem before moving to Portland to begin her service with AmeriCorps.

Grace is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring her passions for environmental conservation and social justice together through her position as the Events & Outreach Specialist. At Nadaka, she has begun facilitating and leading environmental stewardship programming with the SUN Program at HB Lee Middle School and students from Centennial Park Alternative High School. She is also looking forward to becoming more involved with communities and organizations in the Wilkes East neighborhood. At the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, she assists with outreach and communication efforts, and provides logistic and administrative support for community events. She is excited about becoming more engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion work in the environmental field, and looks forward to building many more relationships with the communities she serves! If you have questions about Grace's role, the AmeriCorps program, or opportunities to collaborate, please contact her at grace.graham@columbiaslough.org.

Even though winter weather will be upon us shortly, Friends of Nadaka will still have many fun events coming up rain or shine! Join us for our Urban Weeds Workshop with EMSWCD on Thursday 11/8 from 6-8:30 PM in the community hall at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church. MLK Day of Service will be at the park on Monday, January 21st, and the Community Planting Event will follow on February 9th. Starting in March, we will be offering our Annual Free Indoor Gardening Workshop Series with Oregon Food Bank in English, Spanish, and Russian. Another event to keep an eye out for is our Spring Bird and Nature Walk Day with Audubon Society of Portland.

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 www.friendsofnadaka.org, “Friends of Nadaka” group and Nadaka Nature Park page on Facebook, or contact Monica at monica@friendsofnadaka.org or 503-956-8558.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the park!