Johnson Creek volunteers celebrated with awards

Find out why people with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council were hosting a joyous occasion …

Christian Haaning, from Portland Parks & Recreation, checks in with JCWC staff Adrienne Moat and Alexis Barton.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Kaul Auditorium at Reed College was the location for this year’s Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) annual awards dinner.

Those attending included JCWC members, honored volunteers and their families, and representatives from governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Here, chatting with sponsor representatives, is Johnson Creek Watershed Council Executive Director Daniel Newberry.

“Here, at our annual dinner, we gather with our partners, agencies, donors, and volunteers, and celebrate our successes over the last year – as we also celebrate our organization’s 23rd anniversary,” explained JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry.

“One highlight is that we’ve been seeing a large increase in community volunteering; we logged just short of 2,400 sign-ups over the year,” Newberry said. “And, this also speaks to the great work that our staff does, to encourage and support volunteerism.”

Those attending the JCWC Celebration bid on silent auction items.

“I think the reason for increased volunteer participation, especially on outdoor projects, is that it lets people know that they’re doing something good by serving their community – helping their watershed, and stewarding Johnson Creek,” Newberry told East Portland News.

Examples of such participation include this year’s JCWC 20th annual Watershed Wide Event, in March, in which 450 people did tree planting and invasive removal; and, last August, 240 people pulled more than five tons of trash out of the creek, Newberry pointed out.

East Portland resident, and former Oregon Poet Laureate, Paulann Petersen addresses the guests at the JCWC Reed College dinner.

This year’s featured speaker was former Oregon Poet Laureate – and Sellwood resident – Paulann Petersen. “I’m so pleased to be asked to speak, and present poems about the wonder of waterways in our urban lives,” she said.

One of her original poems, entitled “Carried from the Current”, began:

“My house near the Willamette is only blocks from the river,
yet the sound of its rise and fall –
Its steady on-going into the Columbia, to the Pacific – doesn’t loft into the air and carry this far.”

Guests enjoy a buffet supper of orange chicken with brown rice, vegetable stir fry, and other delicacies.

Enjoying the celebration is JCWC Volunteer of the Year, Emily Waters.

One celebrant, JCWC Volunteer of the Year Emily Waters, said she

had the greatest number of volunteer hours during the year. “I was an intern for a year, and became a Creek Crew Leader on the weekends.”

While Waters worked along the entire Johnson Creek watershed, “mostly I concentrated on the area from Milwaukie, through inner Southeast Portland and Johnson Park.”

Organizations honored included Portland Parks & Recreation, Clackamas Middle College, and the Lao Buddhist Center Northwest.

In the future, Newberry said, JCWC is looking ahead three major projects during the summer, which will replace culverts along Johnson Creek.

Learn more at their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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