Tag Archives: Earth Day

Celebrating Earth Day 2015

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One of my favorite days to celebrate! Here’s a little history: “The very first Earth Day, April 22nd, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.” Excerpt Taken From: HERE

I started Earth week out giving a somewhat informal recycling presentation to my colleagues at work. It was great fun to share my knowledge, answer questions and a really good reminder that recycling can be confusing. Living in the Portland Metro area, most people REALLY want to recycle, so they throw items into the recycle bin that shouldn’t go in there (I know, I was one of them).     But…When IN DOUBT…THROW IT OUT!

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Do you live in the Metro area and interested in recycling and waste management? Check out the Master Recyclers Class.  Part of graduating class 54, I was shocked at how much I learned since I was already so eco-minded. It’s a fabulous experience-you will learn a great deal and be with a room full of like-minded awesome individuals.

GIVING BACK

My family started a tradition several years ago to volunteer for SOLVEIT  – one of SOLVE’s big volunteer days. Last Saturday we went to the Wilkes Creek Headwaters (154th and NE Fremont in Portland) to discover a new area, enjoy the beautiful weather and clear invasive English Ivy from the restoration site.

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SOLVE partnered with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council (yes, one of my favorite non-profits I volunteered with a few years ago), Portland City Parks, an employee group from Boeing (yes, there is one in Portland too with 1,700 employees) and Portland Geocaching Group. So it was a fantastic eclectic crew and a wonderful turn-out.

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A small group planted native species and mulched a designated area while the rest of us pulled English Ivy. It was a gentle procedure because we didn’t want to disturb the native plants, many of which are blooming and growing this time of year.

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 -Trillium-

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                      -Trillium and an awesome mushroom patch that quilted the forest floor-

Wilkes Creek Headwaters contains the springs that feed the only free flowing stream in the city that still enters the Columbia Slough. The City of Portland and Metro acquired the site in 2011.

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Portland Parks uses some herbicide to clear unwanted plant life, but since this site was full of Native Indian Plum trees, they wanted to resort to manual volunteer labor. Indian Plum apparently is very sensitive to any kind of herbicides… Glad we could all help!

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Indian Plum Tree

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RESULTS

Over 8,500 volunteers came out on Saturday for SOLVEIT events all across Oregon! SOLVE estimates that this year over 25 tons of trash and debris was collected from 162 sites including neighborhoods, parks, school grounds and natural areas around the state. Invasive non-native plants were cleared from 11 acres and 3,000 native trees and shrubs were planted.

ENJOYING NATURE

Sunday my sweetie and I went to Sauvie Island to hike the lighthouse trail I featured back in 2013 HERE. At that time, we saw 2 other cars in the parking lot. Last weekend was a complete madhouse (granted, it was in the high 70’s). I love that so many people are enjoying our natural areas, and hopefully are inspired to care for them, but it’s hard to share sometimes. Fortunately, most everyone was hitting the nearby beach so we had the hike mostly to ourselves.

 

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-Happy pups exploring a cave in the river bank. Inca (on the right) went all the way through. :)-

Happy Earth Day Around the World! Get outside, enjoy some natural beauty, breathe fresh air, walk barefoot, soak in the sun or rain and feel gratitude for all the beautiful gifts we receive from this planet.

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SOLVE, NATIVE PLANTS & EARTH HOUR UNITE!

March 28th, 2015 is a Big Day!

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This Saturday provides several ways to ramp up for April Earth Month! If you are near the coast, you have the opportunity to give back to Oregon in the morning hours by volunteering with SOLVE at one of their beach cleanup sites. (Obviously a nonprofit I love since I serve on their communications board.) Shop for Native Plants in the afternoon at a fantastic fundraiser, and then celebrate EARTH HOUR with the rest of the world in the evening-what a day full of opportunity!

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The following link has all the information you need to get involved with SOLVE’s Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup. You can see my 2014 volunteer fun below (although it wasn’t on the beach).

There are 45 cleanup sites scattered along the coast, from Astoria to Brookings. Pick your favorite beach or site near you by checking the online Calendar of Events and registering!

Last year, 4,800 volunteers cleared more than 48,000 pounds of debris from the Oregon Coast! See the final report and photos from the 2014 event.

EARTH HOUR!

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One of my favorite events, and this year it almost slipped right by me! In 2008, we played a board game via candlelight and my daughter asked to do the same the following year! (It was very memorable.) Earth Hour started in 2007 in Australia as a lights-off event to raise awareness about climate change. It has grown to engage more than 162 countries and territories worldwide. For just one hour, don’t use electricity – no lights, no electronics, no power tools, or appliances (well, leave the fridge running) …get creative!

           Earth Hour is on Saturday 8:30pm – 9:30pm          local time all over the GLOBE!

Visit the website for more information: HERE

Friends of Baltimore Woods

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In 2014, we volunteered with Friends of Baltimore Woods for two of SOLVE’s big volunteer events. (Photos Below) Located in St. Johns (North Portland) between Cathedral and Pier Parks, the 30-acre Baltimore Woods Connectivity Corridor is a unique urban greenway with a ton of community support & love turning it into a wonderful natural site.

This Saturday, Friends of Baltimore Woods is having a Pacific Northwest Native Plant Sale in Portland’s St. Johns Plaza from 10:00am – 3:00pm!

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Our Volunteer FUN – 2014

My daughter and her friend (volunteering is way more fun with a buddy) and I volunteered on SOLVE IT Earth Day, April 26th, at Baltimore Woods. I was so surprised I hadn’t noticed this special gem!

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Look closely behind the people standing in the photo above, you can barely see the cement steps in the back covered in ivy, shrubs and debris. My helpers were super motivated to clear these steps-and they rocked it!

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Volunteer Day #2

My kiddo and her two friends volunteered with me September 27th, 2014 at Baltimore woods for the second time last year, and we could already see some changes!

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The next volunteer opportunity at Baltimore Woods is right around the corner-so mark your calendars!

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Plus you get this awesome view!

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So, this Saturday-March 28th – Volunteer with SOLVE in the morning, check out the Native Plant Sale in the afternoon, then Celebrate Earth Hour in the evening – what a great day and wonderful way to prepare for April…Earth Month!

Earth Day – SOLVE – FORCE LAKE – Volunteer #3

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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

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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.

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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!

Introducing the lovely collaboration between SOLVE, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council (CSWC), and Friends of Force Lake, with Portland General Electric (PGE) as a business sponsor.

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

SOLVE 4My 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!

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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.

                                                                                                                   

                                                                               Want to see the other posts in my Volunteer For A Year Series? Visit:                         Oregon Food Bank                                                                                                             Columbia Slough Watershed Council