Saturday Morning Nature Activities Program

 

As spring rolls around, we would like to use the visitor center as a focal point for several ecological and cultural activities to take place each Saturday morning (April thru May) at Mt Tabor Park. Possible activities could be:

  1. Outdoor Discovery Lab for Kids (set up outside)

  2. Culture of Trees Walk

  3. Native and Non-native Plants Walk

  4. Mt Tabor Reservoir History Walk

  5. Discover A Bird-a-Week project

  6. Nature Photography (for kids or adults)

  7. What’s Blooming?

  8. Ivy Basket Weaving

  9. Botanical Art

  10. Volcanic History talk

  11. Ecology of plant succession

  12. Mt Tabor nature, history, or geology videos

 

We think these activities, or any subset thereof, will be fun and informative for anyone involved. The activities, at this point, are just suggestions and we hope the list will evolve depending on interest and specialties. All activities will relate in some way to the character and ecology of Mt Tabor Park. We certainly welcome further suggestions and comments.

The plan is to send this activity list out to the FMPT membership and display it on our web site, and ask if anyone is interested in serving as a guide or instructor for a particular activity (they can suggest their own activity). An interested person is referred to as an activity leader.

 

The job of the activity leader would be to develop an activity plan (what you would do, a short paragraph) and then decide whom the activity would be for (young kids, adults, families, etc.), what schedule you would prefer (one Saturday morning, multiple Saturday mornings, etc.), and the limits on participants. Prior to the start of the nature activities, the activity leaders will meet as a group (with COVID protocols) to give a short explanation/demonstration of their activity, to go over best practices, and to discuss contingency plans.

 

The visitor center volunteers and FMTP will handle recruitment of interested participants, registration and notifications. We will also handle set up requirements, like tables, canopies, chairs, water, appropriate attire requirements, etc. The activity leader would only have to show up on Saturday morning at a predetermined time, welcome his/her group, and then commence your activity. Activities would generally run 1–2 hours in length.

We already have interest in our own ranks for activity leaders. Lise Gervais, Weed Warriors coordinator, has expressed interest in doing a native and non-native plant walk and/or ivy basket weaving. Caroline MacKenzie, a new FMTP volunteer, is interested in conducting a discovery lab. One of our visitor center volunteers, Candace Gossen, is currently conducting a “trees and medicine“ walk through Meet Up Portland and she is interested in doing the same walk for FMTP. And Hap Pritchard might do a reservoir history walk.

 

We are hoping to do anywhere from 1–8 sessions (Saturday mornings in April through May), either with the same group each week or a different group each week, or any combination therein. Some activities would be given on only one Saturday morning, while other might be given on several Saturday mornings. And we could cater to kids one week and adults the next, or whatever the interests are. This coming spring could be a low-key approach if we have only a few activities, to see how it goes and then gear up (or not) for the following spring.

 

Once we have a set of activities with potential leaders, however many it turns out to be, we would advertise through an e-blast to the membership and the FMTP website, run an advertisement in the local newspapers, and send out a flyer to local schools. Visitor center volunteers will assist in coordination and notifications, etc.

 

It would be great to have young adults involved in the activity as well, either as assistants or even as instructors or guides (with the activity leader serving as a mentor). To find interested young adults, we would again solicit the FMTP membership and/or post a notice on our web site.  For example, we know of several families with high school age sons or daughters who would be interested in participating and we would guess other families within the FMTP membership. Additionally, we may contact local schools and ask if they might have interested young adults.

 

All of this will, of course, depend on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. We could easily convert a springtime program to a summer program depending on safety protocols.

 

Interest in participating in the Saturday Morning Nature Activity Program? We'd love to have you involved! Please contact Hap Pritchard (FMTP board member) at pritchap@spiretech.com or 503-880-4383. If we can get this program off the ground, it will hopefully become a regular feature of the proposed Urban Ecology Education Center at Mt Tabor Park.