In 2015, the Confluence Fellows helped to support a massive effort to survey the residents of Lents to learn what they community wanted their future to look like. From the report: "...we share the many creative ideas, preferences and wisdom we heard from Lents community members about how we might work together toward a more livable Lents for all."
Spring time is morel season!
Unfortunately, we didn't find any on Friday, but we did learn about them.
Marc and Patrick organized an extensive Team Meeting of fungi learning. For instance, did you know that mushrooms are the fruiting body of a fungus? Similar to the apple on a tree and its roots.
Nik gave us a deep overview of fungus. Leah shared tons of information about classifying and identifying different mushroom species. Brad gave us some great pointers for mushroom foraging. Travis even taught us how to grow our own!
After enjoying a cup full of Patrick's mushroom soup, we tested our knowledge out on the trails of Tryon Creek State Park. A lucky few even found some slime molds and some edible puffballs.
Bonus knowledge: ALL mushrooms need to be cooked before they're eaten. Word on the street is to saute them with butter.
February marks the halfway point for our AmeriCorps Members! Despite their busy schedules we still managed to convince them to dress fancy and join us for lunch.
We still have over five months with our team, but we're going to miss these goobers when their gone. At least we'll still have this picture to keep us company:
Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. - Martin Luther King Jr.
On Monday January 18th Confluence AmeriCorps Members and staff joined up with folks from Playworks NW in the basement of the Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church to prepare for our day serving the community.
We started the day with a delicious breakfast spread and took some time getting to know each other. After an inspiring introduction from the planning committee, we divided into groups and headed off to four different senior living and memory care facilities. We made ourselves available to paint nails, make crafts, clean rooms, sing songs, play games and chat.
The day meant so many things to each participant, but hearing stories and being connected to an older generation was a universally powerful experience.
Thank you to Providence Irvington Village, Emerson House, Courtyard at Mt. Tabor, and Friendship Health Center for welcoming us in to spend the day with your residents.
Thank you also to Grand Central Bakery, Stumptown Coffee, and Zupans Markets for your generous donations
Managing food waste is not just about composting. It's important to plan your meals so you don't buy too much food. If your planning is a little off, having some food scrap tricks in your back pocket is always a great plan.
Luckily, in Portland, we have curbside composting so when your meal plans and your scrap recipes aren't enough you can send your food waste to be turned into soil amendments.
Stacy and Emily warmed us up with a round of food waste jeopardy before breaking us into two groups.
One group went with Emily to the kitchen where they learned how to make vegetable stock from left over veggie bits. The other group joined Stacy to share meal planning and food storage ideas.
After enjoying a delicious meal prepared by the folks working with Emily we took a field trip to Nature's Needs to see first hand how a large scale composting facility operates. We were even treated to a show by Frank, on of the falcons on staff to keep pests away from the facility.
Molly and Jamie herded all the talented cats together for this day of awe inspiring skill sharing. Or rather, lets call it skill gifting because to have a skill and be able to share it is a gift. Our day was filled with cooking classes, bike repair, plant identification, yoga and a wide variety of craft skills. Folks learned how to drive a stick shift, make salad rolls and dream catchers. Lindsey even set up a pop up block printing studio.
As winter approaches we have more than enough ideas of how to pass the time.
Congratulations to Haley, Emily, Izzy and and April on being total rockstars during the pilot year of the Confluence Fellows program.
Working tirelessly with the Lents community to expand the tool library, establish a community orchard, survey community needs, and more.
We are so proud of their hard work and wish them the best of luck in their next endeavor.
The four things you need for survival in an extreme scenario, in order of importance, are shelter, water, fire and food.
Thanks to Dan Daly at Oxbow Park we now know how to build an emergency shelter, start a fire, identify common plants and trees, how to dress for warmth and pack for nature outings. As we learned, "cotton kills and synthetics save".
In the afternoon Caitlin and Matthew took some time to teach us about water purification and wild edibles.
We are honored to welcome our fifth team to the Confluence family. These 20 folks have started their journey toward becoming the next generation to work for environmental justice.
Learn more about their projects and sites HERE
On Friday July 24th we had the honor of celebrating our 2014-15 Confluence AmeriCorps Members and their Supervisors at our Commencement ceremony.
It was a gorgeously sunny day. We laid out blankets on the drought-baked grass and enjoyed chilled lemon cucumber water and home made desserts. Tom Lamar, Executive Director of PCEI offered some words of encouragement to our honorees before each Member was welcomed up to receive their AmeriCorps certificates for successfully completing a full Term of Service.
Here is an abbreviated list of their many many accomplishments this year:
- Leveraged 27,801 volunteer hours
- Educated 6,129 adults; 2,669 of which reside in communities of color and 3,109 reside in low income communities
- Engaged 12,016 youth, 4,418 of which reside in communities of color and 5,820 reside in low income communties
- Planted 48,976 trees and shrubs
- Over 75 acres of invasive species removed
Our Final Team Meeting was a tsunami of interesting activities at the Oregon Coast.
We started our day at Alder Creek Farm to learn about their former farm turned learning garden which is part of the Lower Nehalem Community Trust. We tasted fresh strawberries, learned about their food bank donation program and their school education program.
After lunch we met up with The Wetlands Conservancy to help remove Purple Loosestrife from a wetland in Manzanita. We broke up into teams and carefully removed the invasive plants without shaking their seeds off and bagged them to haul away.
Our next stop was Cannon Beach where we just missed tide pool time, but were still able to meet up with the Haystack Rock Awareness Program to learn about the birds of Haystack Rock.
With one final go-around of reflections, our final team meeting of the 2014-15 year wrapped under the soft hug of a grey oregon sky.
We are honored to announce the Confluence AmeriCorps 2015-16 project partners. After receiving many exciting project proposals that were reviewed by numerous community members we have selected our 20 projects for our 2015-16 service year.
For the fourth year, Confluence has honored the life's work of Cesar Chavez by bringing together our team of AmeriCorps Members for a day of service.
Erubiel lead us in an overview of migrant worker issues and history in Oregon while giving us a tour of the PCUN offices, radio station and the CAPACES Leadership Institute. Afterwards we broke into smaller groups to clear a community garden, build garden boxes for an elementary school, weed an eco-roof, and reorganize a small garden.
We wrapped up the day with a group meal of burritos from a local business and learning more about Planting Communities food justice work.
Joe Brady, Wildlife Steward with City of Gresham, Natural Resources Program, organized the planting of a native hedgerow on Grant Butte along the Gresham-Fairview trail.
Volunteers came out to remove invasive blackberry and then plant native plants that will form excellent habit for bees, birds and other small creatures.
Unseasonably sunny and warm weather lent a hand on Saturday February 21st for the Tryon Creek Watershed Council's (TCWC) wateshed wide restoration event. Organized by Adra, Confluence AmeriCorps Member placed with TCWC, the day was a safe, productive and fun event. Participants split into teams at 8 different sites to remove invasive plants and put natives in their place. Community members were joined by current Confluence AmeriCorps Members Ivy, Chase, and Haley as well as Sarah, Confluence Alumni from our 13-14 year. See more pictures from the event on the TCWC Facebook page
We have the distinct honor to work with 20 amazing folks who have dedicated a year of service to improving the natural and built environment that we all share. We are already half way through our 2014-15 service year and we are so very deeply in love and humbled by their hard work.
With just over 5 months left with these rocks stars we can't wait to see what they are sure accomplish and the fantastic work they continue to do in the years to come.
We love our AmeriCorps Members!
Confluence AmeriCorps and Playworks, in partnership with the Rosewood Initiative, joined together to serve the East Portland's Rosewood neighborhood in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Working closely with Mariel Mota, an AmeriCorps VISTA Member with Rosewood Initiative, Confluence AmeriCorps Members Vini Nguyen and Kate Hamel planned a day or service, education, reflection and celebration for nearly 50 AmeriCorps Members, staff and community members. After enjoying donated pastries, coffees and snacks, we split into small teams and participated in icebreakers facilitated by the Playworks members and then headed out into the neighborhood. Per the request of neighborhood residents, our teams removed graffiti, trimmed hedges to create safe lines of site, and picked up over 60 bags of trash and recyclables. Being out in the community was a great chance to meet new people, share stories with each other, and learn more about the neighborhood. We cleaned over 4 square blocks (about 40 acres) that included local business, apartment complexes, storm drains and green spaces. In the afternoon we were joined by Chief Justice Paul De Muniz who spoke of his passion for creating strong and healthy communities. We closed the day with small group reflections before heading out to enjoy the last bit of sunshine.
Confluence Environmental Center is proud to announce the receipt of a two-year grant of $30,000 from the Collins Foundation to support Confluence’s work in the Lents-Foster area of outer Southeast and East Portland. The program is also supported by The Meyer Memorial Trust and Oregon Volunteers, and will launch in January 2015.
The Confluence Fellows program will build the capacity of Green Lents, the Foster Green EcoDistrict, and the Livable Lents initiative, which operate at the intersection of a healthy environment, community livability, and social justice. Confluence will place fellows with these organizations for eleven months to build organizational strength, expand their programs, nurture leadership, and spur deep community involvement and cross-organizational collaboration.
The Confluence Fellows program was created through collaboration between Confluence and the three community initiatives. “These initiatives have enormous promise to deliver community benefits, and they’ve done it with volunteer leadership. The Fellows will inject capacity for them to deliver at scale and grow,” says Neil Schulman, President of Confluence’s Board of Directors. “That’s doubly important in places like outer Southeast and East Portland, where there’s a history of environmental and social inequities. Support from the Collins Foundation helps make this work possible.”
“Grassroots, community-led initiatives are a critical part of fostering thriving, sustainable communities,” says Jalene Littlejohn, Co-Founder of Green Lents. “Partnering with Confluence will help us implement projects such as the only tool library serving East Portland neighborhoods, and a new community orchard that will improve access to healthy, fresh food in an area surrounded by convenience stores.”
Confluence Environmental Center is a non-profit organization who’s mission is to bring together streams of thought, action, and people to make the environmental movement more robust, inclusive, and effective.
Under one roof, in just one day, we managed to learn no less than 10 different skills ranging from plant identifcation to soap making to car repair to cheese making and even macrome!
Melia and Griselda Maria planned our third team meeting of the year with an effort to highlight the local knowledge and expertise of the team. Members were invited to both teach something to the team during a one hour workshop block and also attend multiple sessions.
DIY skills are a great way to save money, conserve resources and build community. All things we value in our progam.