Parks volunteers again create hundreds of Holiday Wreaths

You might be surprised at why so many volunteers work so diligently at their annual Holiday Wreath project …

At the Portland Parks Mt. Tabor Yard, workers sort and prepare greens and decorations that volunteers will use to create Holiday decorations.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For 25 years, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) volunteers have gathered on the last weekend in November at Tabor Yard, on SE Division Street, to decorate hundreds of Holiday wreaths.

“We make these wreaths to help children gain access to nature,” explained PP&R’s Coordinator for Environmental Education, “Teacher Balsam” Chrissy Larson.

PP&R Coordinator for Environmental Education Chrissy Larson demonstrates how to hand-wrap a Holiday wreath.

A PP&R Teen Environmental Educator is making bows with volunteer Rebecca Sturges.

“This year we’re using all of our proceeds to help fund preschool classes, as well as our summer camp program,” Larson told East Portland News.

This year, volunteers and staff members are putting the final touches on 402 wreaths. “We decorate them with greens and pine cones that have been gathered from Portland’s parks. Then, we sell them at several locations around the city.”

Clackamas High volunteers Marvin Huang and Carmen Chen decorate Holiday wreaths.

“Original program volunteer” Keturah Pennington assembles decorations she’ll fasten to a Holiday wreath.

One might not notice volunteer Keturah Pennington, in the background swiftly fashioning bows from colorful ribbon, working at a table in the greenhouse where volunteers are gathered. But she’s very busy.

“I’ve been coming to help out with this project for each of these 25 years,” Pennington said, still looking down at the work she was doing with her swiftly-moving hands. “I keep doing this because the Parks Bureau has so little money and so many needs; I’m glad to help support the children’s education programs.”

Michaelene Wilcox from SW Portland, says she’s enjoying learning how to create her own working on her own hand-made Holiday wreath.

They not only make wreaths, they teach how to make them. On November 30, ten people attended a wreath-making workshop.

“We teach students how to hand-wrap wreaths,” Larson said. “It’s not as easy as one might think. It takes hands and a lot of patience.”

Through December 15, you’ll find the largest selection of Holiday wreaths at Mt Tabor Yard, located at 6437 SE Division. They’re open from 10:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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