Friday, February 13

Ladybug Nature Walks

Portland Parks Environmental Education Ladybug Nature Walk program kicked-off their 2009 season this morning with a chilly hike through the Hoyt Arboretum. This is a lovely program where kids age 2-5 join a trained naturalist for a walk though various parks throughout the city. The kids strap on a ladybug backpack filled with nature tools, such as bug catchers and magnifying glasses, to explore the dirt, bugs and flowers in the park. Rain or shine -- 10:00 AM -- the cost is only $2! Henry warmed up with some hot chocolate after the walk.

Next week Henry will participate in the Nuts About Nature preschool program.

Important note: You can help to protect these programs!

The City of Portland is in the process of preparing the 2009 – 2010 budget. Portland Parks & Recreation has submitted a requested budget that includes $2 million in cuts due to the economic forecast for next fiscal year. One of the programs identified in the cuts is PP&R's Environmental Education program.

Last year, Parks Environmental Education provided activities for over 9,000 children, 1,000 teens, and 6,000 adults in classrooms and parklands throughout the city. We offered Ladybug Walks and Nuts about Nature experiences for preschool-aged children. Elementary school aged students attended field trips and nature monitoring activities at Hoyt Arboretum, Forest Park, Powell Butte, Mt. Tabor, Laurelhurst Park, Oaks Bottom, and many other parks. Approximately 700 students attended Nature Day Camp - a week long nature experience offered for 10 weeks during the summer. Although the 2009 revenue from camp was $98,000, over 250 youngsters (36% of campers) received full or partial scholarships to the program. Adults and families learned about wildlife, plants, geology, and stewardship in Portland's parks at the GreenWalks, Bird Festival, Arbor Day, Earth Day, and many other free events for the public. Our GRUNT (Greenspaces Restoration and Urban Naturalist Team) teen program attracted 18 culturally diverse teens who were trained to take leadership roles in environmental education. These youngsters through the multitude of their contacts are continuing to be spokespeople for urban nature in their communities.

For a City that proclaims itself as a "green city", the action to eliminate a program that promotes green practices through knowledge and stewardship to all its citizens is a backward movement. If you care to make comments, here are some suggestions.

· Send this letter on to friends, family and co-workers who care about environmental education in our beautiful city.
· Community Budget Forums will be held:
Feb. 19 at St. Johns Community Center, 8427 N. Central St., 6:00 - 8:30 PM
Feb. 21 at Floyd Light Middle School, 10800 SE Washington St., 9:30 - Noon
Feb. 24 at Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capital Hwy, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
· Letters, email, or phone calls to:
Mayor Sam Adams

Commissioner Nick Fish

Thank you for the support that you have given to our urban natural environment.

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