A guest blog post from Svetlana Pell and Lea Wilson, Confluence AmeriCorps Members with City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Seventy-two green streets adopted, fifty trees planted, and more than 1500 adults and youth educated…. We’re the AmeriCorps-Confluence members at BES and we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting it done!
AmeriCorps represents an orchestrated and monumental effort to bridge the gap between top-down organization and bottom-up community needs by engaging volunteers in non-military national service. Here at BES, we channel our AmeriCorps energy through the mission of Confluence Environmental Center to engage low-income and ethnically diverse communities in Portland, OR. We empower community members to be the kind of stewards they want to be in their urban ecosystem through education, face-to-face communication, hands-on activities, special events, and old-fashioned networking. We work to create partnerships between BES and members of the community including citizens, businesses, community action groups, and non-profit organizations, connecting interest with action.
Svetlana Pell, Green Street Steward Coordinator
Hello, my name is Svetlana and I love all plants… well almost all. I serve as a Green Street Steward Coordinator with BES. In my work I get to talk to lots of people, make great connections, and share information about Green Streets with the community. In addition to volunteering as a crew leader with Friends of Trees and freeing the soil from concrete and asphalt with Depave, I serve on the boards of the Intertwine Alliance and Green Lents.
In March, I partnered with the Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) to teach a rain garden class at the Franciscan Montessori Earth School. Students from the school shared their creative garden- and rain-themed poetry, which was superb. Afterward, we held a native planting event to solve erosion problems at a local apartment complex. Thank you to Mark Boucher-Colbert (Garden Specialist at Franciscan Montessori Earth School) and CWSP for making this great event possible and inviting me to be a plant geek and play with the kids. I will be teaching classes this April and May so feel free to stop by and learn about your watershed and Green Street Steward Program.
Lea Wilson, Community Urban Forest Coordinator
Hi! My name’s Lea and I love trees! I also love cities and I am stoked to serve as your Community Urban Forest Coordinator with the Grey to Green Program. I am halfway through my service term, and focused on empowering citizens to get to know their urban forest personally. I work in existing relationships with Friends of Trees and Neighborhood Tree Stewards (NTS) while also seeking out new opportunities. I’m especially excited to bring NTS to Multnomah County Libraries for tree education workshops and to engage students at David Douglas High School (Go Scots!) planting and monitoring trees on their grounds to shade classrooms, manage stormwater, and provide critical urban habitat. In my own time, I volunteer with the Portland Fruit Tree Project and the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.
If you see me around, don’t be shy – I’d love to talk to you about your urban forest! Catch me at the Arbor Day celebration April 20th at the PSU Farmers Market. I’ll also be leading tree walks this summer at Lents Park. Stay tuned on Green Lents for more info.
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” - Dr. MLK Jr. What does your community need? Check out http://www.serve.gov/ for ways to volunteer and templates for community action.