Over the past year or so, staff from Portland Parks & Recreation’s Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Initiative have worked with volunteers to add a nature patch to Woodlawn Park. Back in 2017, the first nature patch was created in Alberta Park. Since then, a dozen more parks were added to the nature patch list with six more in the works, including the one that was recently planted here in Woodlawn.
What makes up a nature patch? According to the website, “nature patches bring nature to neighborhood parks. Nature patches are spaces within existing parks that are enhanced with beautiful natural elements for people and wildlife. A variety of natural materials like native Pacific Northwest plants, logs, boulders, paths, and learning elements are added to underused areas to encourage people to play and explore. Nesting boxes, flowering plants, and other additions improve the habitat for birds, pollinating insects, and wildlife. Community members are welcome to help with planting and stewardship activities.”
How does the city decide where to site a nature patch in a particular park? Generally, the chosen locations are underused areas of parks that are are challenging to maintain or are better suited to natural uses. The Woodlawn Park nature patch trails along the east side of the park, below a stand of tall trees that border the Woodland Park condos, and includes an assortment of native plants, shrubs, and trees. On stretch of it is bordered by a fence. Volunteers have worked to remove the invasive ivy that covered much of the site to prepare it for these new plantings. Take a stroll and see if you can identify the new plants as they grow and fill in the area. Hopefully, by 2024, there will be signs and labels to help us all learn more about these ecologically sustainable landscapes.