2022 Partners in Conservation Grants Awarded

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District awarded 2022 Partners in Conservation (PIC) grants totaling $700,000 in new funding. The funds are awarded to 14 nonprofits, schools and local governments for fish and wildlife habitat enhancements, urban agriculture, community garden and conservation education projects in the EMSWCD service area (all of Multnomah County east of the Willamette River). Please see the list of the PIC 2022 grantees below.

2022 Partners in Conservation Grantees:

ARISE and Shine, $61,320
Seed to Dish

This project brings together three generations (seniors, adults and youth) to learn from each other sustainable agriculture practices that these communities (mostly African immigrants and refugees) have been using for more than 400 years. A partnership with Outgrowing Hunger.

Columbia Riverkeeper, $50,000
Columbia River Education and Monitoring Project

The purpose of the Columbia River Education and Monitoring Project is to work with the Yakama Nation to engage diverse communities fishing near Bradford Island, (the Pacific Northwest’s newly designated Superfund Site). The Riverkeeper will also monitor harmful algal blooms and E. coli at nine popular beaches, sharing results in English and Spanish and offer job-skills training to paid interns.

Zenger Farm, $77,240
Zenger Farm Youth, Family and Beginning Farmer Programming

Zenger Farm will provide a comprehensive culturally responsive, climate action-focused learning environment for 8 beginning farmers, 700 David Douglas School District 5th graders, more than 100 2-3rd graders, and 1,400 participants in family programming.

Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, $77,057
Cold Water Refuge Pilot Enhancement Technique Design and Permitting

Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership’s project addresses climate change and enhances fish habitat by advancing the design and permitting of a new cold-water refuge for Columbia River salmonids at the Horsetail Creek/Columbia River confluence. Their programming includes teaching diverse communities about climate change impacts and adaptation.

Multnomah County Office of Sustainability, $49,265
Green Gresham, Healthy Gresham

Multnomah County’s proposal extends their Green Gresham, Healthy Gresham program and the partnership with Friends of Trees another year. The project estimates planting 200 trees in low-income neighborhoods in Gresham. Through SummerWorks, local youth will be employed and trained to identify planting locations, maintain and inventory existing street trees and identify tree planting opportunities. Engages at least 200 residents in planting and outreach events focused on the connection between trees and community health and wellbeing.

Our Village Gardens, $46,681
Neighborhood Grown, Neighborhood Owned

Our Village Gardens strives to magnify food equity in New Columbia and Tamarack Apartments by supporting access to free urban garden and orchard space, providing garden education, expanding sustainable seed-to-harvest practices, caring for our urban tree canopy, purchasing and distributing produce from neighborhood growers, employing neighborhood leaders.

Outgrowing Hunger, $33,040
Non-PDX Refugee Farmer & Gardener Support

A continuation of the “Gardens for Health” project funded by EMSWCD in 2019-21, this program from nonprofit Outgrowing Hunger increases the health of the environment and the community. The project supports the operation of 8 acres of community gardens at 13 sites located outside of Portland in East Multnomah County.  Working in partnership with immigrant and refugee communities, Outgrowing Hunger is enhancing access to sustainable, watershed friendly urban agriculture and supporting access to a highly successful natural gardening program for local residents.

People of Color Outdoors, $24,660
POCO at Oxbow Park and Whitaker Ponds Nature Park

Through this project, POCO will host a series of educational outings at local natural areas with young adults and family groups in partnership with local naturalists, outdoor educators, biologists, etc. The activities, led by POCO leaders, take place will vary depending on the abilities of the group scheduled including a focus on salmon, old-growth trees, general nature education, and Indigenous stewardship.

Play Grow Learn, $70,150
Agricultural Mentoring Program

Project/program summary: Continues Outgrowing Hunger’s environmental education and stewardship programming with partners at Nadaka Park including 1) paid youth landscaping, conservation and restoration internships, 2) organizing partner-led environmental and agricultural internships, 3) farmers market and logistics, and 4) developing more self-sufficiency through agricultural skill-building.

Portland Audubon and Columbia Land Trust, $33,027
Collaborating to Create Backyard Habitats & Foster Environmental Stewardship

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program works with individual landowners to regreen urban landscapes where people live and gather. In this partnership with Verde, they deliver culturally responsive curriculum for families in Hacienda CDC’s multi-family housing developments about landscaping with native plants. Together with Verde they will install naturescapes and rain gardens. The program will also provide enhanced support and maintenance to community sites, prioritizing communities with low-incomes and high populations of Black, Indigenous and people of color.

Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center Inc., $25,544
Environmental Education & Experiences for Low-Income Youth & Youth of Color

This project supports two main aspects of POIC’s Natural Resource Pathway program including the Student Crew Leadership Training Program for low-income youth and youth of color restoring local habitats and natural resource mentorship and education; and the new Green Team leadership development initiative introducing the natural resources field and tree pruning.

Sauvie Island Center, $26,503
A Return to Farm-Based Education for BIPOC Students

Fifty elementary school classes will participate in their first farm field trips and winter class visits to Sauvie Island Center in nearly two years. This program serves 3rd, 4th or 5th graders from 10 Title 1 schools during the 2022/2023 school year. Each student participates in 11 hours of farm-based science education including one fall and one spring field trip as well as a winter classroom visit and bundles of fresh take-home vegetables after each trip.

The Blueprint Foundation, $75,513
Blueprint Foundation Green Infrastructure Initiative

The Blueprint Foundation’s initiative involves three project-based learning programs that build environmental literacy and technical skills for Black early learners, teenagers, and adults while reconnecting them to nature and environmental stewardship. The program curriculum centers on water quality and green infrastructure.

Verde, $50,000
Verde Bilingual Urban Habitat Program

Verde’s project provides environmental education and hands-on training to middle school youth and their families from Hacienda CDC, and to low-income homeowners. This extends the program to elementary school youth and adults, updates the curriculum and creates a maintenance guide for the sustainable stormwater features and naturescaping at their housing development.