March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44

N AT U R E P AT C H E S

Portland Parks and Recreation staff
work with community volunteers to
plant new shrubs and native plants.

period. Heavy equipment operators, arborists, horticulturists, park
technicians, irrigation technicians
and many other park staff team
up with volunteering neighbors to
implement the plan. Before each
work effort, safety precautions are
reviewed, and appropriate personal
protective equipment is distributed
to the volunteers who don't bring
their own. Then, the work begins.
Arborists are assembled to do the
pruning and tree removals necessary.
Grading is next: compacted soils are
ripped and boulders stockpiled for reuse. The soil is worked to incorporate
organic compost to help the plants
grow. The ground is leveled and
graded to meet the plan. Compacted
crushed rock or bark dust pathways
are then laid out and constructed.
Fencing is installed and boulders and
" nurse logs " are placed.
Then comes the activity many
love the most - planting the new
plants. Rosewall schedules a " Parkie Planting Day " that brings out
field and office staff to place new
large shrubs and trees in their places. Utilizing native species, plants
are first laid out on the site and adjusted, and then holes are dug and
44	 Parks & Recreation

vegetation is planted.
Once that task is completed, the
neighborhood and other community members can then take part.
These individuals get so excited to
plant the many small native plants
that make this patch a real garden.
Following this eight- to 12-week
construction process, the transformation is complete. The crew
of staff and volunteers apply bark
mulch in the planting areas and
stand back and appreciate their
work. Unfortunately, landscape
projects often look their weakest
at installation - they need time to
grow and fill in. According to Portland Parks and Recreation Horticulturist Johnny Fain, " Nature patches
are an exercise in patience. In the
landscape industry, great importance is placed on an installation or
a project being 'finished' or looking
'done.' With nature patches, the
process has a longer timeline. Once
the plants are in the ground, we
have to let time and natural processes take over. "

Public Support
Many people and critters love the
transformed landscapes immedi-

| M A R C H 2 02 1 | PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G

ately. Wildlife arrives to investigate, forage and pollinate. Many
park neighbors inquire about what
is happening in " their park. " When
the project is explained, staff consistently get comments, such as
" Thanks so much for your work
on this area. It has added so much
to the park! " Park-goers often ask
how they can volunteer on the next
project. As the program continues
(15 projects have been completed
as of fall 2020), Portland Parks
and Recreation hears increasingly
from neighbors requesting a nature
patch project in their local parks.
The ESLI and Nature Patch programs have now moved from a " pilot
project " of Portland Parks and Recreation to an ongoing program. Projects
are funded through annual capital
funding from System Development
Charge revenue. The program budget
is currently about $350,000 each year,
which is sufficient to implement two
large and several smaller nature patch
projects a year.
The Portland effort is one that
easily can be replicated in park
systems around the country. When
we look around at our own parks,
we see that the need for transformations is great, the advantages
of increasing nature are many,
the costs can be relatively low, and
the process of transformation can
unite staff and the communities we
serve, as well as improve the ecological function of the park. Try installing a patch of nature today!
Mike Abbaté, FASLA, is a Landscape
Architect, Park Designer, former Director
of Portland Parks and Recreation, NRPA
Board Member and a member of the
Parks & Recreation Editorial Advisory
Board. (mike@abbatedesigns.com).



March 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2021 - Parks & Recreation

March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
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March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com