Kids discover nature’s wonders at Leach Botanical Garden

Why do volunteers work so hard to put on this terrific annual, family event? Look at the photos here, and you’ll find out. AND, you’ll see how you can get your own free tour every week – we’ll tell you when and where …

By creating his own planter, Helier Card learns about nature from his grandmother, Katie Goodwin of Leach Botanical Garden Friends. She’s a volunteer who chairs their Children’s Nature Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Try as they might, volunteers who promote outer East Portland’s unique natural preserve called Leach Botanical Garden, seem to have trouble getting people to visit this unique place.

“We hold our Children’s Fair each year, as one of our community outreach events,” said Katie Goodwin, who is with Leach Botanical Garden Friends. She’s the volunteer who chairs their Children’s Nature Fair.

“We hope that by offering an event like this, more families will come visit the Garden,” Goodwin told us. “Families, and their young people, are our future. If we can help educate them about sustainable ways of conducting their lives, it’ll make for a better city, state, and planet.”

The Marion Street Ramblers musically entertain guests with toe-tapping tunes.

Connecting kids with nature
Young people need to be introduced to the natural world outside their doors, Goodwin said, at the May 15 event.

“So many kids spend so much time indoors playing computer games and watching TV, they don’t get outside to connect with nature,” commented Goodwin. “We also have sustainable activities here – reinforcing the fact that our food and our clothing, and a lot of things that we take for granted, ultimately start with plants.”

Liz Schwarz, and Jonah and Leah, enjoy making art with stamps.

A wide variety of hands-on activities were prepared to occupied visitors during Children’s Fair – including paper making, slug races, etchings, seed planting, making face masks, and making engraved wooden “cookies”.

Creating nature scenes on a piece of bark – like this one – is one of the many activities at Leach Botanical Garden’s Children’s Nature Fair.

‘Honeybee Hikes’ every Wednesday
If you missed this great family event, consider Leach Botanical Gardens’ Honeybee Hikes.

From 10 am until 11 am every Wednesday morning through September, preschoolers and their parents are invited to hike and explore Leach Botanical Garden and learn about the plants and critters living there.

Pre-registration appreciated for groups of six or more; otherwise, just come on by. The cost is only $2 per child.

Nature walks begin Saturday
Starting June 19, weekly guided nature walks resume at Leach Botanical Garden.

To participate, come to the Leach Manor House at 11:00 a.m. for a FREE, hour-long fun and informative tour of Leach Garden.

Check out what’s blooming, and explore different sections of the Garden with your volunteer guide. These seasonal walks are free and appropriate for all ages. Meet in front of the Manor House every Saturday, through the end of September.

Leach Botanical Garden is at 6704 SE 122nd Avenue – two long and very winding blocks south of SE Foster Road. For more information, contact Sarah Kelsey at or call (503) 823-1671.

For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE to open that page.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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