July 2015 Update: April hill Park Wetland Protection Project will be delayed
Our long warm spring is allowing the plant to grow lush this year. And this year, the non-native invasives plants are doing very well too. Friends of April Hill Park is planning more work parties to remove invasive plants. We will wait until the birds’ nesting season is over. This little song sparrow has a second nest!
It was two years ago, May 30, 2013, that Metro Awarded Friends of April hill Park a Nature in the Neighborhoods Metro Grant. We were able to raise our matching funds by January 2014. There has been a lot of behind-the-scenes work including engineering drawings. But now construction of the boardwalk, bridges, and soft trails will be delayed another year, according to Lisa Tyler, Portland Parks and Recreation project manager. Due to delays, PP&R will miss the window for this summer’s construction. Our very generous pro-bono Engineer has taken on the job of completing the design work. Friends of April Hill Park will host an open house with an updated schedule from PP&R in September (exact date to be determined). Look for more information as it comes in and for the open house dates in the SWNI.org/AprilillPark site. Or contact us at AprilHillPark@gamil.com
June 18, 2015: Work Party, 8am - noon
May 2015: Work Party
On May 16, for a second year OSU alumni chose to volunteer their time in April Hill Park as part of their OSU Alumni Service Day, a world-wide event. The alumni graduating classes ranged from 1956 to 2014. City Nature’s Charlie Nappi and Nathan Schulte lead the group. Laura George, who organized the OSU alumni, grew up in Maplewood neighborhood and thought this would be a good service day project. Her parents and other neighbors help to create the playing field back in the 50’s, before April Hill Park was a park. Many of the alumni grew up in Maplewood. Maplewood neighbors joined the work party making it part reunion, part meeting new people. Laura handed out orange OSU service day T-shirts to all the volunteers, no matter what school they attended. We accomplish a lot and reclaimed much of natural are. We are not finished; planning to have more work parties this June and July to complete the spreading of cardboard and covering it up with mulch. Some of these will be on weekends and weekdays. Contact us at ApriHillPark@gmail.org
Placing cardboard down on the grass and coving it with mulch is called Lasagna gardening.
First, we had to remove the plastic tape from the cardboard. We now have found asource where to get plastic tape free cardboard for our next work party.
As one group placed the cardboard, another group moved the mulch.
Oh, and we found a large, fallen tree on the lawn that needed a new home to become habitat in the future for salamanders and more.
Cale and Henry Fleming and another volunteer dug right in to build spilt rail fences working with PP&R staff Nathan Schulte.
Wow! That was light as a feather when you have 10 people carrying it.
New split rail fence.
May 2015: Congratulations 30x30 winners!
April 2015: Bird Walk
A successful April Hill Park Spring Bird Walk was held on April 25, 2015. With the best weather and a turn out of 12 neighbors, some came from other neighborhoods, and birds showing off their spring colors. We will be holding another bird walk next year. Next Spring the boardwalk, viewing platform, bridges and trails will have been completed, making it even more enjoyable. Sarah Swanson and Max Smith lead the group. Below are Max’s comments:
Sarah and I led a bird walk to help promote the restoration underway at April Hill Park.
We had a great turnout and the birds were nice enough to show too.
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Band-tailed Pigeon 8
Anna's Hummingbird 1
Red-breasted Sapsucker 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 1 Our first of the year! We heard several calls but did not get a look.
Steller's Jay 2
Western Scrub-Jay 1
American Crow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 2 We checked a cavity where we observed nesting behavior last week. While we watched, a female entered the cavity, left a few minutes later to fend off a Douglas squirrel (amazing puffing display!), reentered the cavity, and was fed at the cavity by the male. Given these observations, nest is most likely in the incubation stage.
Bewick's Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 2
European Starling 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Black-throated Gray Warbler 2 Singing male chasing other(s) away
Spotted Towhee 5 One pair was quite nervous in an area where we'd seen them carrying food last week.
Song Sparrow 4
Dark-eyed Junco 1 Adult carrying a wiggly crane fly.
Email: Submit to AprilHillPark@gmail.com and we will post for you on our Facebook page.
The post with the most likes and comments will win fun prizes awarded Wednesday of each week! The prizes will be announced soon so be sure to keep in touch by signing up for our newsletter.
February 2015: Social trails become compacted, act as channels draining the wetland
A visit to April Hill Park after a rain event told a clear and obvious story that the social trails are seriously impacting the natural area. One of the impacts is these compacted trails act as channels draining the wetland. The salamander, newts, and frogs need the wetland to develop from immatures into adults. If the wetland dries up too fast, they die. This video shows how one of the social trails is draining the wetlands.
The new April Hill Park Protection Project with boardwalk, bridges and trails are designed to prevent this, providing a safe way for visitors to experience the park's natural areas with minimum impact. This project is funded by the Metro Natural Areas Bond Measure’s Nature in the Neighborhood Capital Grants Program, Portland Parks & Recreation, and generous donations by neighbors.
December 2014 April Hill Park Update
Three engineers donated their time in December for the engineering portion of the April Hill Park Wetland Protection Project, Boardwalk.
Using a hand auger, the geotechnical engineer took soil samples, one foot at a time until reaching more than 6 feet down. They check the depth of the creek, Woods Creek. It is about 10 feet from the bottom of the creek to the top of the bank.
The Geotechnical Engineer needs to touch and feel the soil. The color is important too.
The Bridge Engineer checked both the width and depth of the creek. The depth from the top of the bank to the bottom of the creek was about 10 feet. These measurements are part of what determines the size of the bridge.
November 15th, 2014 April Hill Park Clean Up Party
Sponsored by Friends of April Hill Park and the Maplewood Neighborhood Association. The first picture shows the "before" and the last picture shows the "after." A very hearty crew did a great job of removing the invasive blackberry! The ice leaf was a found treasure.
On May 31, 2013, Metro Council announced its award of a $83,059 Nature in Neighborhoods Capital Grant toward the cost of constructing a boardwalk, two bridges, and a wildlife observation platform in the wetland area of the park. The goal of this project is to provide safe access to the wetland for Maplewood School students, neighbors, and other visitors while protecting habitat for sensitive amphibians and plants. Letters of support for the project were sent in by Maplewood PTA Outdoor Explorers Committee, Art4Life, Wildwood Preschool, SW Watershed Resource Center, SW Trails, and others. The grant provides about 1/3 of the project cost. Another 1/2 of the project cost will be contributed through a combination of Portland Parks & Recreation funds and matching volunteer time from the Friends of April Hill Park, SW Watershed Resource Center, and professionals who have committed in-kind services to the project. We have less than 1/6 of the project cost left to fundraise! Ready to help?
If you prefer to donate by check, make payable to Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. or "SWNI" and write "April Hill Park" on the memo line. Mail to:
7688 SW Capitol Hwy.
Portland, OR 97219
Would you be interested in hosting a party or other social event to raise awareness and donations for this project? You provide the space and the invite list, we'll do the rest! Email Friends of April Hill Park for details.