More than 80 community nature projects in the Portland metro region have received a boost over the last few years through a combined $3.7 million in Nature in Neighborhoods grants from Metro.
The grants support restoration, trails and nature education projects. Collectively, the projects are making habitat healthier, allowing more people from a variety of backgrounds to experience the outdoors, and nurturing the next generation of conservation leaders. The grants are paid for with money from the 2013 parks and natural areas levy.
Metro has also awarded $13.3 million in capital grants to 44 projects using money from the 2006 natural areas bond measure.
We checked in with several recent grant recipients to see the impact that Nature in Neighborhoods grants have made in their communities.
Above: The Audubon Society of Portland and the Columbia Land Trust received a $34,400 grant in 2015 for its Backyard Habitat Certification Program. The money expanded the program to 550 new households and paid for a pilot outreach project with the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) aimed at increasing program participation among Jade District residents. Photo courtesy of Audubon Society of Portland
Above: Volunteers from Earthshare pull garlic mustard on Ross Island, located in the heart of Portland. Willamette Riverkeeper received $62,000 for Restore Ross Island, a partnership effort to restore ecological function to a wildlife corridor and floodplain forest on the publicly owned Ross Island Natural Area. Photo courtesy of Willamette Riverkeeper
Above: Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors received a $25,000 grant to provide a series of hands-on ecology lessons and outdoor experiences for 47 classrooms of students attending six diverse and low-income schools in the North Clackamas School District. The group received another $30,000 in 2016 for a second year of programming. Photo courtesy of Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors
Above: Kevin Matute receives a congratulatory hug from Henry Hays-Wehle, a crew leader with Northwest Youth Corps, upon his completion of the Opportunity Corps & Beyond program in summer 2015. Momentum Alliance and Northwest Youth Corps received $15,000 to pilot a five-week paid internship for 10 youth leaders from diverse backgrounds to learn conservation skills. The group received another $30,000 in 2016 to continue the program. Photo courtesy of Momentum Alliance
Above: Diverse, low-income and homeless youths are exploring and learning about natural areas in their neighborhoods thanks to a $25,000 grant to Community Partners for Affordable Housing. Participants have explored Oleson Woods and Dirksen Nature Park and paddled along the Tualatin River with guidance from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Photo courtesy of Community Partners for Affordable Housing
Above: Hands-on programming for elementary through college students in North and Northeast Portland, Gresham and Fairview is possible thanks to a $67,000 grant to the Columbia Slough Watershed Council. Photo courtesy of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council