Kid’s ‘Nature Fair’ draws new visitors to Leach Botanical Garden

Learn how this annual event delights young people, while it introduces their parents to this unique outer East Portland natural beauty spot …

Leach Botanical Garden volunteer Mary Lou Koehler helps Cian Colgrove make a bark planting – as his aunt, Marianne Colgrove, approvingly looks on.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
An annual event that signals the turn of spring into summer is the Leach Botanical Garden Children’s Nature Fair. Even with soaring temperatures and under a blistering-hot sun, the May 17 event drew record crowds.

Fair promotes new visitors
“The Nature Fair is a way to expose Leach Botanical Garden to the public,” explained its organizer, Katie Goodwin, “especially to people who live right here in Southeast Portland. I’ve had a number people say that they didn’t know about the garden they came to the event today. This is a wonderful way to broaden our support base – by having young families come and discover our garden.”

The coordinator of the Nature Fair, Katie Goodwin, says she’s pleased at the turnout for the event.

As we stood under the lush and green canopy of trees, Goodwin, a volunteer on the education committee and chair of the Nature Fair, beamed about the event’s success. “Today we’ve had over 300 people come to our ‘home’; that’s a record for us. About half of the visitors were children.”

Activities included making wooden “cookies”, sun catchers, and bookmarks. Kids got to dig in the dirt and do planting. The more hearty youths enjoyed the spider and insect displays.

Deena Townsen visiting from Vancouver, Washington, shows us her drawing of the Zenger Farm “visiting chicken”.

“A popular activity was going on a fossil dig with a Portland Parks & Recreation specialist,” Goodwin added. “We even had a chicken visit us here,from Zanger Farms.”

Next event: English Tea
As we were leaving, Goodwin reminded us that, although the Leach gets some support from Portland Parks & Recreation, volunteers must hold events to raise money to keep improving the grounds.

“On July 16 and 17, there’s an English Tea at Leach Botanical Garden. Visitors will enjoy a three-course English Tea served on the east terrace. This tea is elegantly served by volunteers on antique dishware and table linens. It features premium tea, scones, sandwiches, and desserts,” Goodwin promised.

Treat your friends, or take a young person to enjoy a bit of historical culture here in outer East Portland. Reserve now for July 16th or 17th; seating is at noon or 2:30 pm. Just $25 per person – and it all goes to help further the work of the Friends of Leach Garden. This event usually sells out, so call Jean at (503) 771-2486 now to reserve your place.

Doing some planting at the Nature Fair are Bode (sitting on the table), his sister Corinna, and his mom Tanya Petrich.

Tours every Saturday
You need not require a special event to enjoy Leach Botanical Garden; it is open daily. And, at 10 a.m. every Saturday morning, they host a tour of the grounds.

Leach Botanical Garden is located at 6704 SE 122nd Avenue (just south of Foster Road).

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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