Leach Garden ‘Nature Faire’ again fascinates kids

Take a look, and see all the fun had by families, during this annual ‘Faire’ at Leach Botanical Garden …

Families stream in to the Pleasant Valley neighborhood of outer East Portland, to find their way to Leach Garden’s Upper Meadow for its annual “Nature Faire”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Volunteers and staff of Leach Botanical Garden continued their annual tradition of hosting a spring “Nature Faire” on Saturday, May 19, bringing hundreds of people to the Leach Upper Meadow for a day of fun and learning.

This year’s free event, entitled, “Chew Chomp Slurp: How Critters Eat” allowed kids to explore how the food an animal eats affects its body and behavior.

All of the Faire’s favorite features enchanted and entertained kids, while they learned about the natural world through hands-on activities at a number of stations.

Leach Botanical Garden Education Coordinator Joann Vrilakas spends a moment with Judy Kennedy of Pacific NW Federal Credit Union, the event’s a major sponsor.

This year, some 60 volunteers pitched in to put on the Faire, said Leach Botanical Garden Education Coordinator Joann Vrilakas. “We host this, because we want even more people to know about us,” Vrilakas told East Portland News.

Providing an “old-time string band music” soundtrack for the fair is Possum Sixpack.

Always a favorite activity is watching “Slug Races”, hosted again this year by Leach Garden Friends volunteer Ron Goodwin.

“When guests who are new to the garden arrive, they always say they’re amazed to find what we do here, and all that we have to offer,” Vrilakas said. “Our hope is that these new visitors come back again and again, and bring their family and friends to explore this unique and beautiful garden.”

A volunteer face-painting artist from David Douglas High, Tri Quang Nguyen, gives Clarke Courter-Bjorck a beauty treatment at the fair.

“Learning by doing” the art of ikebana are Shelby Ness and Thayer Ness.

It’s a good thing when kids get exposed to nature when they’re young, Vrilakas observed. “There is kind of a ‘nature deficit’ going, for kids who live in the urban environment. When youngsters come into this wonderful, calming green space, it opens up their curiosity and helps them care more about the natural world.”

Portland Parks & Recreation Naturalist Gabby ‘Nimbus’ Albano, rounds up kids for a Ladybug Hike, exploring nature in the garden.

On went the day – with “Ladybug Hike” explorations, a salmon run game, critter boxes and mini-terrariums, magnifying glasses and nets – and of course, the slug races.

Learn more about Leach Botanical Garden at their official website: CLICK HERE. And to learn more about this event’s sponsor, Pacific NW Federal Credit Union, CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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