Holiday wreaths support summer kids’ programs

See how the Parks Bureau’s outdoor ‘Nature Educators’ are working to raise day camp scholarships. Look: find out where you can take wreath-making classes this weekend …

Many “environmental educators” create hundreds of beautiful Holiday wreaths to raise funds for Portland Parks day camp scholarships.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
With below-freezing temperatures outdoors, most people aren’t thinking of going out to learn about nature in natural areas supported by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R).

But, PP&R workers and volunteers are staying warm, working in the Tabor Yard greenhouse, and helping the “Environmental Education” of the “City Nature” Division, by decorating Holiday wreaths as a fundraiser.

Portland Parks & Recreation Coordinator for Environmental Education City Nature Chrissy Larson has nearly completed making this Holiday wreath.

“The profits realized from our Holiday Wreath project brings children, with very little access to nature, to a week of Nature Day Camp,” said PP&R Coordinator for Environmental Education City Nature Chrissy Larson between tying boughs on a wreath form during the November 30 kickoff of their annual project.

In outer East Portland, Powell Butte Nature Park is one of the locations where environmental educators provide these summer day camps for kids.

PP&R Recreation Leader Jill Jackson sorts the greens she’ll use to make a Holiday wreath.

“We’ve been fundraising by making and selling Holiday wreaths for about ten years now,” Larson told East Portland News. “Both our staff and our volunteers make and decorate the wreaths; they are sold in several venues throughout the City of Portland.”

They reach children in under-served neighborhoods by partnering with schools and organizations, Larson said. “Unfortunately, not all children can afford the cost of camp, so we raise money through our wreath fundraiser each December.”

Sending a child to a week of camp costs $240, she explained. “We believe it is a good investment to connect children nature in parks, so they’ll care about our parks as they get older.”

They hope to sell all 450 holiday wreaths to be made, Larson added.

Although the Wreath Sale ends on December 13, donors can make a tax-deductible donation by calling the PP&R Environmental Education office at 503/823-3601; they accept checks, credit cards and cash.

-4 PPR Nature Educator Erin Flanagan puts finishing touches on a wreath.

Wreath-making classes available — this weekend
Another way to support the project is by taking a wreath-making class this weekend.

At the class, participants choose from a diversity of greens, individualized instruction, and the time and space to finish their project. The $40 fee includes cost of greens, paddle-wire, rings, ribbon, decorative items, and instruction.

> To sign up for the Saturday, December 7 class, CLICK HERE.

> To sign up for the Sunday, December 8 class, CLICK HERE.

Classes are held in the greenhouse at the PP&R’s Mt Tabor Yard – they also have the largest selection of holiday wreaths from which to choose – located at 6437 SE Division Street.

Environmental Educator Dave Orleans gets ready to wire decorations onto a wreath.

“Our goal is to send 36 kids to camp free of charge, Larson concluded. “We’re so thankful to everyone who supports this project every year.”

 © 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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