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Nov 14, 2022

An Evening of Gratitude: Thank you 2022 Volunteers!

Written by Monica Hescheles

A special thank you goes to these volunteers who contributed between 20 and 130 service hours this year. To honor their commitment they were awarded a special Certificate of Appreciation and pin for the dedication and care they gave this year. From left to right: Johnny Leuthold, Lloyd Vivola, Gail Chastain, Mary Ann Schmidt and Marianne Colgrove.

A huge thank you to everyone that came out on Thursday for the Volunteer Appreciation Harvest Party. The evening was about celebrating all of YOU, the volunteers who have generously contributed their time, energy and passion to Johnson Creek and its surrounding community. Since starting in September, I have been swept away by the magnitude of knowledge, dedication and care that the Johnson Creek Watershed Council volunteers bring not only to this organization but the watershed as a whole. It was an honor to celebrate all of your hard work. 

Pumpkins, yellow squash and dried statise flowers came from Lomita Farm. The Kabocha squash and dried corn came from Thimbleberry Collaborative Farm. Both are located at the Headwaters Farm in Gresham.

Together we celebrated highlights from the year, gave gratitude for dedicated volunteers, listened to the wise words of Zee Searles Mazzacano on Macroinvertebrate monitoring in Johnson Creek, played a riveting game of watershed trivia AND gave away some great raffle prizes. 

Thank you to Mixteca PDX for catering the event and @LomitaFarmPDX and @ThimbleberryCollaborativeFarm for providing locally grown decorations.

Below is a snapshot of what volunteers and the volunteer program accomplished this year. 

Volunteers:

Over 1,215 volunteers spent around 3,389 hours, removing 25,117 sq. ft. of unwanted vegetation, making room for 6,444 plants.

At the Johnson Creek Cleanup alone 5.9 tons of garbage were removed and another 86 cubic feet of trash was collected throughout the watershed in the rest of the year. 

The council connected with students, families and community members in over 30 different educational events. 

Throughout the year, a variety of partners collaborated on events and outreach. Including the 6 that are part of the Back 5 partnership where volunteers, interns, mentors, and staff come together to work towards the restoration of over 3 acres at Leach Botanical Garden and provide hands-on STEM youth education and workforce development opportunities. 

We would like to give a special thank you to the volunteers that dedicated a significant amount of time to the council this past year. Volunteers who contributed between 20 and 130 hours were awarded a special Certificate of Appreciation and pin. For those listed below that did not attend, please contact [email protected] to arrange a time to pick up your award.

The following volunteers contributed between 20 and 40 hours to the council in 2022. Thank you: Autumn Whitaker, Lloyd Vivola, Joren Lyons, Johnny Leuthold, Cailin Warner, Cory Lehan, Gail Chastain, Steve Smith, Carole Miles, Javier Escamilla, Denise Lopez, Bryce Mitzel.

These volunteers contributed between 60 and 100 hours. Thank you: Bruce Newton, Jacob Neal, Melanie Klym, Timothy Crawley, Carol Zyvatkaukas

Last but not least, these outstanding volunteer board members contributed over 100 hours this year and are recipients of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Thank you: Mary Ann Schmidt, Marianne Colgrove.

Volunteers, former staff, committee members, partners and board members all came together to eat good food and accomplish the successes of volunteers and the program this year.

Community Science: 

All 5 of our community science programs were at capacity this year, thank you so much for making these possible!! Remember to sign-up early for the upcoming seasons to make sure you get a spot!! 

This year Powell Butte Prairie-Nesting Bird Surveys surveyed prairie-nesting savannah sparrows AND caught a rare glimpse of a sagebrush sparrow and dusky flycatcher. 

Dragonfly and Damselfly surveyors found 24 unique species of dragonfly and damselflies.

During Beaver Surveys there were 28 beaver dams spotted along 9 reaches and volunteers saw a lamprey, pileated woodpecker and red legged frogs. 

The newest JCWC community science program, Amphibian Egg Mass Surveys, surveys stormwater ponds looking for Amphibian eggs. This takes place from the end of January through March so keep an eye out for more information soon, this is Marlee’s favorite! 

The list goes on and on! I am eager to see what we can accomplish together next year. Stay tuned for restoration and community events this fall and winter. For those that are interested in taking your skills to the next level and being a leader in the Johnson Creek Watershed, we will be having a Creek Crew Leader Training the first week of January. Stay tuned for more details. 

Thank you to our funders who made both the evening and the work in the volunteer program possible: Thank you to Mintkeski Family Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Portland General Electric, City of Portland, City of Gresham, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, Multnomah County, Clackamas Water Environmental Services, and Metro.

Photos show volunteers, board members, staff and partners enjoying food, drinks and raffle prizes. Thank you for coming! All photos taken by Marlee Eckman, Sara Volk, Monica Hescheles and Daniel Newberry.