Continuing my 2013 Volunteer Series, here is our super duper fun EARTH DAY volunteer gig. (I know this was a couple months ago, but better late than never.) Being outside is key for me on Earth Day, and finding a way to give back and volunteer is even better. Thankfully, we live in a region that provides a plethora of opportunities. This year I decided to keep it VERY local. I found an outdoor beautification opportunity in North Portland only 1.5 miles from my home-it was perfect.
Force Lake is located in the Kenton Neighborhood of North Portland on N. Force Avenue next to the entry to Heron Lakes Golf Course. The lake is near the Portland Expo Center and the I-5 interchange with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Marine Drive West.
In full disclosure, I had never heard of this gem in North Portland, so I was intrigued, and a little embarrassed I hadn’t explored this lake so close to my home.
The way to get things done: WORK TOGETHER!
According to the Friends of Force Lake website, 38 of us hard-working volunteers worked for 3-5 hours (depending on the family) to provide these results:
- 25,000 sq. ft. cleared of invasive Himalayan blackberries and English Ivy
- 500 native species planted
- 500 lbs. of trash removed from in and around the lake
My 12-year-old daughter was reluctant to fulfill her volunteer duty. She didn’t want to get up early on her precious Saturday, and volunteering with her mom didn’t sound like tons of fun. (She has volunteered with me countless times on a variety of tasks, but as she get’s older it’s harder to “convince” her it’s still an awesome thing to do.)
However, as we started clearing the invasive species, and planting the natives, her face lit up. At one point she said, “I’m so glad you made me do this mom, it’s actually really fun.” That is what an eco-mama wants to hear- music to my heart! Additionally we had friends visiting from Seattle that volunteered with us. What better way to spend time together than volunteering outdoors!
I have to provide a huge shout-out to SOLVE. This is an incredible organization that cares for our beautiful state harnessing all the awesome volunteer power we have. Here is a quick rundown of their accomplishments during the Earth Day volunteer extravaganza during April taken from the website.
1 month — 343 projects — 10,000+ volunteers — and a whole lotta LOVE for Oregon as thousands of volunteers pitched in for a spring cleaning of Oregon’s beaches, waterways and natural areas.
On Earth Day: 143 volunteers came out to make a difference across the state as part of the 24th annual SOLVE IT event, presented by PGE. These impressive watershed improvements were made:
- 3,970 native trees and shrubs planted
- 74,260 pounds of trash removed
- 259 tires collected
- 39 acres cleared of invasive weeds
Force Lake Cleanup was a SUCCESS!
In addition to the Collaboration Team mentioned above, a big thank you goes out to Portland Parks and Recreation for disposing of the trash and providing mulch. To Champoeg Nursery and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services for donating native plants, and to the Kenton Neighborhood Association and HEART for their support.