Spirits bright at misty ‘Kids Fair’

The weather dampened attendance, but not the enthusiasm of those who did come to the Leach Botanical Garden’s annual nature celebration for kids …

Large tents set up in the Leach Botanical Garden Upper Garden provide dry space for families to enjoy their annual Kids Nature Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The weather wasn’t fully cooperating as Leach Botanical Garden held the annual Kids Nature Fair on May 14.

But, the light rain gave way to mist, and then stopped altogether, as many “true Oregonian” families braved the dark clouds and came to the fair on Leach grounds in outer East Portland they call the “Upper Garden” area.

Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter and Education Coordinator Janice Jenkins stand by to greet families arriving for this fun, free, unique event.

“This fair has been going on more than 20 years, rain or shine,” said Leach Botanical Garden Education Coordinator Janice Jenkins.

“This year we’re calling it ‘Pollinator Power’, so the theme of the event is about pollinators, and pollination,” Jenkins told East Portland News.

Robert Martin and Rowan Martin get up close to a hive with clear walls, to learn the role bees play in pollination.

Longtime Leach volunteer Jack Bishop, Facility Manager Kathleen Kennedy, and Children’s Garden Coordinator Kimberly Guerin, join to provide plenty of materials and encourage kids to furnish “rooms” in what they call the “Hotel Pollinator”.

There were many activities to keep kids busy and interested – including going on nature walks, participating in nature activities, and spending time with families – thanks to the help of about 35 volunteers. Jenkins pointed out.

The Marion Street Ramblers provided a musical soundtrack for the event by serenading folks with their Americana tunes, while an Audubon Society of Portland volunteer introduced Finnegan, the Peregrine falcon.

Volunteers from this year’s main sponsor, Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union, Judy Kennedy and Dana Eaton scoop ice cream for guests.

Perennial Slug Race Master, Leach volunteer Ron Goodwin, says he’s been in charge of this unique attraction for a decade because, “It’s a really fun thing”.

“This is important because it gives mostly younger kids an opportunity to be outside and learn about nature,” Jenkins said. “We surprise them with a new nature theme every year.

“If you can get the whole family interested in nature, hopefully that will continue onto their lives as they grow older,” Jenkins reflected.

Check in on the many events taking place at Leach Botanical Garden by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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