Celebration honors Johnson Creek volunteers

It seems that folks with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council have much to commemorate this year. See who was specifically honored at this dinner …

Welcoming guests to the annual JCWC Volunteer Appreciation Party is Reed College intern Grayson Klages, and the organization’s Executive Director, Daniel Newberry.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The Community Room at All Saints Episcopal Church in the Woodstock neighborhood filled with guests on Friday evening, November 8, as the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) Volunteer Appreciation Party got underway.

“This dinner for our volunteers looks to have drawn biggest turnout we’ve ever had, with more than 80 people coming to celebrate together this evening,” exclaimed JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry.

Guests look over a selection of door prizes before depositing their tickets.

“The efforts of our volunteers are so important in our several programs, including tree planting, invasive plant removal, pulling trash out of the creek, doing community science work, and gathering environmental data that is used to help manage the watershed,” Newberry told East Portland News. “Without the help of people who care about the creek, the stream would be warmer, and full of trash – two things that harm the health of fish.”

The hall fills with guests attending this year’s JCWC Volunteer Appreciation Party.

After pausing to greet another volunteer checking in at the front desk with him, Newberry smiled and said, “The best part of being here this evening is getting to meet, face-to-face, some of these people I haven’t yet met.”

Guests serve themselves from a buffet of delicious, catered Mexican food.

Guests merrily served themselves dinner featuring vegan and chicken tamales, and black beans and quinoa salad from Montavilla-based Oaxacan restaurant, Mixteca.

JCWC Volunteer Program Manager Courtney Beckel, who was serving as the program’s host, began by pointing out, “This is the organization’s 25th year, which means it started when I was in fourth grade!”

Beckel honored the organization’s Board Members, and gave appreciation to  the interns who served with JCWC, asking them all to stand and be recognized.

JCWC Volunteer Program Manager Courtney Beckel shares remarkable volunteer statistics during the meeting.

She then enumerated JCWC’s volunteerism statistics:

  • 44 restoration events
  • 2,500 volunteer sign ups for events
  • 7,000 plants planted and cared for
  • 10 acres invasive species removed
  • 4.5 tons of trash removed from the creek
  • 5 Community Science Surveys undertaken, including Lamprey/steelhead, Dragonfly, Prairie nesting birds, Beaver, and Salmon

Then, groups seated at tables competed against one another in a Trivia Contest, to earn extra door-prize tickets.

Receiving pins for their many hours of service are (left to right) Tim Crawley, David Gruen, Anthony Coleman, Sam Sharka, and Gary Klein.

For providing more than 100 hours of service to JCWC projects, the President’s Awards are presented to Caz Zyvatkauskas, Mary Ann Schmidt, Sarah Sapienza, Melanie Klym, Bruce Newton, Becky Dorff, Jeffrey Lee, and Tosha Sketo.

Then, Volunteer Hours pins were awarded to volunteers who logged between 20 and 100 hours of service during the year; and the President’s Awards – along with handsome fanny packs – were presented to volunteers who had given more than 100 hours of service.

In closing, Beckel said, “Thank you for giving your time to be part of this exciting work with us.”

Learn more abut the Johnson Creek Watershed Council and its work by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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