Educator/landscape professionals needed to present Sustainable Landscapes Workshops

Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

We are seeking educator/landscape professionals to conduct additional workshops! Please note that this is a contract and not a staff position. Our workshops are held evenings and on weekends, and are on topics such as Naturescaping, Site Planning, Site Planning Feedback, Rain Gardens, Native Plants and Simple Drip Irrigation.

Please see our Workshop Presenter page for more information about this position and how to apply.

Welcome to our new Conservation Program Supervisor, Andrew Brown!

Conservation Program Supervisor Andrew Brown

On behalf of EMSWCD board members and staff, we are very pleased to welcome our new Conservation Program Supervisor, Andrew Brown!

Andrew oversees the Conservation Legacy Program, which includes the Grants, Land Legacy and Farm Incubator programs, and serves as the District-wide planner. Andrew’s conservation and planning experience stems from his public, non-profit and private work in South Africa. During that time he worked in the Park Planning and Development Department of South African National Parks where he coordinated a regional landscape conservation initiative, and he also managed various conservation planning, land consolidation, stewardship and restoration projects.

Andrew came to the EMSWCD most recently from the Multnomah County Drainage District where he served as a Management Analyst. He holds an M.S. in Conservation Biology from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent in the UK, and a B.S. in Botany and Environmental and Geographical Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Please join us in welcoming Andrew to our organization!

From our farmers: Finding community at Headwaters

Emily Cooper of Full Cellar Farm

This is the fourth in our “From our farmers” series, and was contributed by Emily Cooper of Full Cellar Farm, one of the farmers enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program.

There’s a buzz around Headwaters Farm this year, and it isn’t just the bees. With 13 farms leasing land at the incubator (up from 8 last year), the activity here is more evident than ever before. And along with the sounds of the rototillers, irrigation headers, and tractors, there’s another sound that’s harder to hear, but more persistent than any other. It’s the sound of community, and it starts with “Good morning!”

I love farming at Headwaters, and the biggest reason is the community. With so many people here, it’s guaranteed you’re going to bump into someone as you go about your work. Maybe you share the wash station and get to see what variety of radish someone else is growing – or what pests are eating their carrots. Maybe you see a new tool someone is using, and stop to ask how they like it. Maybe you pause in the barn to bemoan your overabundance of tomatillos, and someone else magically has a customer who wants them. Or maybe you just say hi as you pass at the port-a-potty. (I’m lucky enough to host this hub of activity next to my field.) Read more

EMSWCD endorses Outdoor School for All campaign

Students at Outdoor School - photo courtesy of MESD Outdoor School

Students at Outdoor School – photo courtesy of MESD Outdoor School

July 2 Update: Outdoor School legislature SB 439 will become Oregon law! It passed the floor of the House of Representatives with a 59-0 vote. Read more from the Outdoor School for All campaign here.

The Outdoor School For All campaign seeks to secure lasting public funding for every Oregon fifth or sixth grader to experience a full week of Outdoor education. At our last Board Meeting on March 2nd, 2015, the EMSWCD Board of Directors joined 11 other organizations by approving endorsement of the Outdoor School for All campaign.

Many District residents have come to our Board meetings to relate the positive impact that Outdoor School has had on their lives. Outdoor education has been shown to help students develop leadership, social and critical thinking skills, while also fostering an appreciation for the natural environment and the importance of conserving it. In recent years, EMSWCD has joined with other local entities to provide funding to our local Outdoor School. We believe a long-term, statewide funding solution is necessary to ensure all Oregon students have access to this valuable, engaging and highly educational experience. Read more

Bringing Beneficial Insects to the Farm

Pollinator strip at Headwaters Farm, Mt Hood in the background

Healthy farmland is a microcosm of a heathy ecosystem; an abundance and diversity of life above and below the soil helping to make nutrients available to plants, ward off pests, pollinate crops, and contribute to the local food web. As the average farm size has grown, there has been a decline in both the quality and quantity of habitats that host farm ecosystems. Other farm practices like broad herbicide application and the reduction of flowering plants have also had negative impacts on beneficial native insects and honey bees.

Headwaters Farm serves as a demonstration site for several approaches to restoring on-farm habitat. The most prominent of these is the restoration work being done in the Dianna Pope Natural Area. This undisturbed area has great habitat and forage value to beneficial insects and is relatively close to the farmland. However, other habitat work is being done within and directly adjacent to fields actively in production. In partnership with the Xerces Society, EMSWCD is developing three defining habitat features: pollinator meadows, hedgerows, and beetle banks. Read more

Announcing our 2015 Partners in Conservation grants!

The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) awards $739,322 through its 2015 Partners in Conservation (PIC) grants for conservation and environmental education projects.

We received 34 PIC applications this year, representing projects in each of five grant program areas: restoration and monitoring, stormwater management and urban landscaping, urban gardens and sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and equitable access to conservation benefits. The PIC grant program funds projects through a competitive process in order to support the efforts that are most closely aligned with the EMSWCD’s strategic priorities.

This year, the EMSWCD Board of Directors awarded 24 grants, including two multi-year PIC Plus grants. EMSWCD provides partial funding for most of these projects, with a minimum 1-1 match for all grant amounts over $10,000. EMSWCD’s PIC funding for 2015 will leverage more than $2 million in additional support! A wide variety of projects were funded this year, from a project to restore over 100 acres in the Mirror Lake floodplain to another project that will establish a new community garden at the Floyd Light Middle School in East Portland.

Read the full press release here (PDF), which includes the full list of 24 grant projects and details about each. Learn more about our annual and monthly grants here.

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