‘Children’s Nature Fair’ is a hit at Leach – even on a wet day

Discover why organizers at Leach Botanical Garden were happily surprised by the number of families that came on this drizzly morning …

To visitors entering the Leach Upper Meadow through the trees at Leach Botanical Garden, the 2013 Children’s Nature Fair looks like an enchanted village situated in a glen.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
From the time when East Portland News first covered the Leach Botanical Garden Children’s Nature Fair in 2006 [CLICK HERE to see that story], this family affair has continued to grow by leaps and bounds.

“Today’s theme is volcanoes!” exclaimed the organizer, Leach Garden Friends Education Coordinator Janice Jenkins, at the May 18 fair.

Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter and Leach Garden Friends Education Coordinator Janice Jenkins welcome guests arriving at the Children’s Nature Fair.

“But there are also arts and crafts; the Portland Audubon Society, with birds; Mad Science, and Zenger Farms; and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council is also providing many activities,” Jenkins said, stepping under a canopy to escape the mist.

“We do this partly because it offers families the opportunity to do something outside – out of doors – and do things a little more ‘nature-like’, as opposed recreational sports,” Jenkins continued. And, it gets kids here, to explore Leach Garden. They can do a Ladybug Walk; spend some time with her friends and family; and simply enjoy our open spaces.”

Sebastian Vigil-Escalera gets a scoop of ice cream from Leach Garden Friends President Gay Greger.

Solomon Rohrboch finishes his coloring craft.

Including the presenting partners, about 35 volunteers were there on the drizzly Saturday morning to put on the annual fair. “It’s not even noon yet,” observed Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter, “and we’ve already logged in about 400 visitors. Now, as the sun is breaking through, even more guests are arriving.”

This strong turnout helps foster Leach’s mission, Jenkins remarked. “When you get kids out into nature when they’re young, they learn not to be afraid. Then, when they get a little older, perhaps they’ll want to go to ‘Outdoor School’; maybe volunteer with the Audubon Society as teenagers – and as adults, become stewards for nature in general, and for the earth.”

At the Johnson Creek Watershed Council booth, Micah Ryder shows off a bird feeder she made.

The Marian Street Ramblers fill the air with lively music during the event.

Even with all the hard work, Jenkins was all smiles during the interview. “The very best part for me is watching the kids’ faces. I like seeing them with their cool little headbands, and the cool stuff that they’re doing. They seem to have a good time.

“It’s great to see that a little rain today didn’t stop people from coming out.”

Volunteer Kristine Patrick teaches the art of papermaking at the Leach Children’s Nature Fair.

To see regular activities at Leach Botanical Garden, located in outer East Portland, check our COMMUNITY CALENDAR. And to visit their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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