Nearly 30 volunteers put their knowledge and muscle to work installing the first Ocean Friendly Garden project by the Portland/OR Surfrider Chapter on September 16. Pete Stauffer, Surfrider Foundation's National Ocean Program Manager, offered up his home landscaping for the project, creating both an opportunity for volunteers to learn and for Pete to walk his talk.
The workday was led by professional landscape designer, Hannah Nickerson of Rain City Gardens. Two months prior, Hannah led volunteers through the design development process, going through four steps: (1) observe and map the site; (2) determine the location of the rain gardens; (3) assess the soil for percolation and soil-type tests; (4) determine the size of the rain gardenCheck out Hannah's cool blogpost about the day's activities.
Hannah lead off the day but running through the design. After volunteers dug out the swale (in the front yard...and they OFG'd the back yard, too), volunteer/Surfrider Oregon Field Coordinator, Charlie Plybon, fitted on an extension to the rain gutter downspout to direct rainwater into the swale (pictured on thumbnail photo to this blog post). Hannah then led the group through plant placement and installation, spacing the plants for mature growth and helping to prevent crowding and the pruning that goes with it (aka green waste).
Prior to the workday, participants had gotten a good education about the "why" and "how" of landscape changes by attending an in-class presentation (thanks to Multonomah Soil and Water Conservation District). Check out the blog post about the class and workshop. Also, watch a video of this OFG "working" during a rain storm, posted on the Portland Facebook page.
This was a great step forward for the Chapter's OFG Program and the vision that other projects will be coming. Anyone wanting to volunteer their yard for a beautiful OFG retrofit can contact Pete.
At the workday, there was also discussion about how OFG can compliment the Chapter's work on stenciling the storm drains to discourage people from dumping pollutants down them. During winter months, the stenciling program takes a break, and so it's a good time to do other things - like clean out the inlets to curb cuts so rainwater can flow in. The City lacks the resources to do this kind of maintenance and it would be welcomed. Like the PDX Facebook page and keep updated on what they are doing.