Volunteer

Join Friends of Tanner Springs year-round as we restore the oak-prairie habitat at Tanner Springs Park in Portland’s Pearl District. All you need is a pair of garden gloves. We have the tools.  If you don’t know much about oak savannas, upland prairies or plants in general, don’t worry.  We’ll teach you.  Our projects are tied to the seasons but vary weekly. Some regular tasks have included clearing waterways, weeding, pathway detailing and setting seed. More seasonal tasks have been larger plantings and pond enhancements.

Friends of Tanner Springs collaborates with Portland Parks and Recreation to maintain and enhance the park for plants, wildlife and people. Less than 10% of this habitat remains in the Willamette Valley. Every bit we restore helps preserve area wildlife.

If you’re not a gardener, you can still help support the park and nature restoration more generally. Come to the park and take photographs. Become a community scientist who is aware of what is going on in the environment–by joining our pollinator or pond monitoring team.  Engage in environmental education with school groups.  But, please do become more involved. 

OCTOBER 2015 FALL PLANTING Photo: ©Roger Mangrum
OCTOBER 2015 FALL PLANTING Photo: ©Roger Mangrum

Volunteer Information Contacts

Portland Parks & Recreation
Steve Pixley, volunteer coordinator,  steve.pixley@portlandoregon.gov
Friends of Tanner Springs
Michele Shapiro,  stewardship coordinator,  fotannersprings@gmail.com

Print volunteer forms and mail in to:
Portland Parks & Recreation, ATT: Steve Pixley, Volunteer Program Coordinator,
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1302, Portland, Oregon 97204

Why We Volunteer

Tanner Springs Park is an example of the Willamette Valley oak savanna and upland prairie habitat in a microcosm.  Its native plants depend on fire disturbance to curtail encroachment of  more aggressive plants and keep infestations low.  The removal of fire and the exposure to new invasive exotic species are a constant threat. Without volunteers the native plants would be overcome, the reason we started in 2015.  Portland Parks and Recreation maintains the park’s basic needs. But improvement is the province of volunteers.  We hand weed, set seed and periodically cut grasses to mimic natural disturbance regimes. Come be part of our volunteer team and experience a small slice of Oregon’s natural resources.

Camas seeds Photo: ©Michele Shapiro
CAMAS SEEDS COLLECTED AT TANNER:  Native Americans had such extensive fields of blue camas in the Willamette Valley, Lewis and Clark thought they were lakes of blue water. The camas bulb was a staple food steamed in open pits then eaten or sun-dried for trade or storage. Photo: ©Michele Shapiro