Tag Archives | urban

Candy Lane Students to the Rescue!

Candy Lane bucket Brigade

Candy Lane Bucket Brigade

During a blustery morning of wind and rain, enthusiastic students from Candy Lane Elementary braved the elements in order to help support local pollinators. With planning and financial assistance from Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, the students are active helpers in the construction of a new pollinator hedgerow in their schoolyard.

Candy Lane Elementary is also home to Schoolyard Farms, a non-profit that operates an impressive 1-acre urban farm on the school grounds. Schoolyard Farms provides hands-on garden education for the students and operates a small CSA (community supported agriculture) for local community members. The farm will soon be supplementing the school lunch program with healthy, nutritious produce straight from the garden!

A hedgerow is a line of dense vegetation that provides habitat for wildlife, screens an unwanted view, marks property lines, and can serve as an attractive feature in the landscape. The hedgerow in this particular project will provide food and shelter for pollinators that support the farm crops. The pollinators, ranging from the native mason bee to the playful Rufous hummingbird, will benefit from the diversity of native trees, shrubs, and groundcovers that will provide nectar when the farm crops are not in bloom. The basalt basins in the landscape will serve as sources of temporary water, completing the habitat needs of the pollinators. Eventually, the students hope to build additional habitat shelters, such as mason bee boxes.

Candy Lane students got the project off to a great start by helping prepare the hedgerow garden beds. Despite the soggy conditions, the students happily formed a bucket brigade to move the mountain of compost to the new beds. Our friends Pat, Steve, and Dick from North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council also provided a big help by moving a few (dozen) loads of compost in the wheelbarrows. Thanks guys! Soon we’ll all be out in the garden again to plant our hedgerow with native Oregon grape, red flowering currant, and cascara!

Learn How to Bring Nature into Your Yard!

Jason Faucera photo credit

Hummingbird enjoying local garden photo by Jason Faucera

If you long for a beautiful yard that is filled with song birds and the buzzing of native pollinators, but are discouraged by high water bills and hours of maintenance, we have something to make you smile! Reserve your spot for the Naturescaping workshop series sponsored by Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District and presented by East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District.

Learn how to create a low-maintenance landscape that conserves water, prevents pollution, and saves you time and money! Explore how native plants can make your outdoor space a vibrant, healthy place for people, pets, and wildlife. You’ll dig up fresh ideas, tips, and resources to bring back to your yard.

Once you have a head full of great ideas, attend the site planning workshop that will walk you through how to prepare a site plan for your landscape or garden project. Step-by-step you will learn how to evaluate and map your property, as well as assess your garden style. Then we will show you ways to mix naturescaping practices into your new plan.

Both workshop will run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Lake Road Fire Station #4 located at 66000 SE Lake Rd., Milwaukie, OR.

Register early as seating is limited to 25 people per workshop! You must register for each workshop separately!

Register online for Naturescaping Basic workshop on September 27, 2014 or call 503-222-7645 for more information.

Register online for the Site Planning workshop on October 18, 2014 or call 503-222-7645 for more information.

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Celebrate Oregon Arbor Week, April 6-12

Photo image by johninportland

Celebrate trees during Oregon Arbor Week!

You’ve probably heard of the annual Arbor Day celebration, but did you know that Oregon celebrates an entire Arbor Week? Oregon Arbor Week is held during the first full week of April and is a time for residents to appreciate our state’s proud tree heritage. This week is a great time to learn about the importance of trees in your community and express support for our urban tree programs!

All of the trees in your community, including those found along streets, within parks, and in private yards, are collectively known as an urban forest. A healthy urban forest provides numerous benefits to our communities. For instance, a dense tree canopy can reduce harmful stormwater runoff by capturing nearly 20% of annual rainfall, much of which evaporates back into the atmosphere. Did you know that trees also help reduce soil erosion? You may be surprised to learn that each individual rain drop that hits bare soil causes soil erosion. Rain water runoff, now carrying soil particles, flows into our streams which, in turn, damages the critical habitat of salmon and other local wildlife. Tree branches and leaves help deflect the energy of each rain drop, which results in less soil erosion.

The urban forest also provides critical habitat for local wildlife, improves air quality, captures and stores carbon dioxide, and makes for a more pleasant neighborhood. Properly placed trees can reduce your home’s energy costs and enhance property values.

Oregon Arbor Week is a great time to plant a new tree on your property. Make sure you consider the mature size of your tree and select the “right tree for the right place.” Don’t forget to protect and maintain the existing trees in your community too. Consult with a certified arborist or a local nursery to learn proper pruning techniques for the trees on your property.

There are many ways to get involved in Oregon Arbor Week — volunteer with Friends of Trees or SOLVE on a local restoration project, organize a green team at your church or school, or contact your elected officials and express your support for urban tree programs. You can also request a “Right Tree, Right Place” workshop from Clackamas County SWCD for your local community group. For more information, contact urban conservation planner, Erik Carr at 503-210-6012.

Transform your hedge into a habitat hedgerow!

CUCC Hedgerows

Hedgerows add beauty and habitat for urban wildlife.

What happens when the hedge you planted for privacy becomes too large to prune and turns into a maintenance headache? Well, one option is to replace it with a habitat hedgerow!

The basic hedgerow is simply a dense planting of trees and shrubs, often arranged in long rows. While a typical hedge consists of only one type of plant, a hedgerow is much more diverse and includes several types of trees, shrubs, and grasses. Hedgerows are a common sight in the countryside and on farms where they function as windbreaks and protect against soil erosion. Hedgerows also have a place in the city, however, providing an opportunity to replace some of the critical wildlife habitat lost due to years of urban development.

Clackamas United Church of Christ (CUCC) in Oak Grove is now enjoying the benefits of a new habitat hedgerow thanks to an EPICC grant (Engaging Partners in Community Conservation) from Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District (District) and a watershed stewardship grant from Clackamas County Water Environment Services. The District’s EPICC grants support community conservation using volunteer labor from the landowner. On a sunny March morning, 14 members of the CUCC congregation picked up shovels and planted 120 native shrubs including Oregon grape, Pacific ninebark, red-flowering currant, and snowberry. All are native to the Willamette Valley. Landscape contractor ProScape NW, Inc. prepared the planting beds and installed an additional 25 native trees, which include incense cedar, cascara, and vine maple.

The new hedgerow will immediately provide privacy for both the church and neighbors, while also providing food and shelter for native wildlife and beneficial pollinators. As the trees grow, they will eventually provide much needed shade over a portion of the church’s parking lot. Studies have shown that branches of conifer trees can catch up to 20% of the rain that falls on them. Less stormwater runoff means less water pollution in our streams and creeks.

When the church planted their laurel hedge all those years ago, they probably didn’t expect it to grow into a 300-foot long, 12-foot tall giant! For a small congregation, the amount of time and resources required to maintain such a hedge was just too great. While the new hedgerow will never be 100%-maintenance free, it will offer a more manageable and attractive alternative that improves wildlife habitat and still functions as a property line buffer. It’s a project that benefits everyone – from the maintenance staff to the neighbors to the local hummingbirds!

If you are interested in finding out more about habitat hedgerows, contact Erik Carr at ecarr@conservationdistrict.org or call 503-210-6012.


Rain Drops and Restoration Along the Trolley Trail!

Fueled by hot coffee and Voodoo doughnuts, nearly 50 volunteers braved a rain-soaked Saturday morning to help install over 1,400 native trees and shrubs along the Trolley Trail in Oak Grove. Friends of Trees served as hosts for the neighborhood planting event thanks to a shared funding partnership between Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, North Clackamas Parks and Rec District, and Oak Lodge Sanitary District. Additional community support came from nearby Oak Grove neighbors, North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council, Marathon Education Partners, and Cub Scout Pack 214.

Creative plant delivery

Creative plant delivery!

Planting along an extended stretch of bicycle pathway can present some logistical challenges. However, the clever folks at Friends of Trees brought along their bicycle trailers to help transport plants and tools along the trail! All of the plants installed are native to the Willamette Valley, including Oregon white oak, valley ponderosa pine, cascara, and Oregon grape, and will provide habitat for native wildlife and pollinators. For instance, local hummingbirds will have plenty of foraging options thanks to the numerous red-flowering currant shrubs installed along the trail.

Community-based planting events, such as those offered by Friends of Trees, are a great way to meet your neighbors and get involved in local stewardship activities. Based on the smiles, laughter, and offers of free hot chocolate from adjacent property owners, we would say this was definitely a community success story!