At Johnson Creek Watershed Council, we are working to engage with the many different communities and populations that make our watershed a vibrant and dynamic place. To that end, we’ve created the Bilingual Johnson Creek program through a grant from the Collins Foundation. Through this program we work with paid youth interns from immigrant & refugee organizations in the watershed – in this case, AYCO (African Youth Community Organization). Bilingual Johnson Creek interns create a brochure in their community’s language and plan a bilingual nature-based event to introduce community members to Johnson Creek and Portland’s natural areas.
This last Saturday was the culmination of Abdulahi Abib’s internship, and the first event of its kind!
Abdulahi (Abdi for short) and Alexis, JCWC’s Outreach & Riparian Specialist and Confluence AmeriCorps member, created content for a brochure that Abdi translated into Somali. In addition to introducing watersheds and Johnson Creek, we highlighted a few plants that people may see both in natural areas and around town in Portland: Sword fern, Oregon grape, and Western redcedar. The event was held at Powell Butte Natural Area with the help of Portland Parks & Recreation, and consisted of educational elements (discussing watersheds, wildlife, and plants) and a hands-on planting session.
It was a windy but clear Saturday morning when staff and interns from JCWC and Portland Parks & Recreation laid out tools and plants and set up a table of snacks inside Powell Butte’s Visitors’ Center. During the hike to our planting location, Abdi shared information about sword ferns and western redcedar, in Somali. Ahmed, an intern with PP&R who also speaks Somali, led the tools and safety talk. After braving the cold wind and planting for a while, the group returned to the Visitors’ Center for lunch.
Thank you so much to AYCO for being a great partner organization, to Portland Parks & Recreation for supporting this event, and to Abdi for your hard work and time spent on this project!
Thank you to the Collins Foundation and an anonymous donor for funding for the Bilingual Johnson Creek program!
Abdulahi attends Mt. Hood Community College and leads AYCO’s youth soccer programs, the founding element of the organization.
AYCO serves immigrants and refugees in Portland, fostering education, empowerment, and independence through providing community and social services assistance.