Nurturing Young Environmentalists: Learning from the Leach Botanical Garden Back 5

Education, Featured, Projects

Leach Botanical Garden, nestled in the heart of Portland, Oregon, has been an oasis for many individuals and families, offering a unique blend of nature, tranquility, and opportunities to learn. We recently had the privilege of talking to a group of young nature enthusiasts who are part of Blueprint Foundation, an organization that connects historically marginalized youth with the great outdoors. These young minds, including Charles, Ari, TC, Harmony, Mariah, Ja’Siah, and Treazure, have spent time at Leach Botanical Garden, fondly known as “the Back 5,” and shared their experiences, insights, and enthusiasm for protecting our environment.

Exploring Leach Botanical Garden

Charles: “I would want to say in about all the year probably about 10 or 15.”

Ari: “This is my first time.”

TC: “For me, it’s a lot.”

These young individuals have varied experiences with Leach Botanical Garden, ranging from Charles, who has visited multiple times, to Ari, who is experiencing the beauty of the garden for the first time. Such diverse backgrounds contribute to a rich tapestry of knowledge and understanding.

Favorite Areas and Activities

TC: “My favorite area is by the water.”

Charles: “Mine is the Back 5 because we go back there to find salamanders.”

Ari: “I also like the Back 5 for the same reason.”

Their favorite areas all have a connection to water and the Back 5, where they eagerly seek out salamanders. Exploring these natural wonders nurtures a deep love for the environment.

Charles: “My favorite activity is probably when we did the crawfish catching and we did surveys.”

Ari: “My favorite thing was, what was it, habitat building because I am a good habitat builder, one of the best.”

TC: “Mine was the dragonfly survey. I didn’t know that they started in the water.”

These activities have not only excited these young minds but also imparted valuable lessons about the interconnectedness of life on this planet.

The Importance of Outdoor Learning

Charles: “I think it’s better to have an outside classroom so that you can explore and learn new things and learn about plants and stuff.”

TC: “For me, I feel like it is easier to pick up than just sitting in a classroom.”

Ari: “I feel like it gives you a better chance to explore and get out and do things you haven’t done before like an actual experience instead of just sitting in a class and learning about it.”

The consensus is clear; learning in an outdoor classroom enhances their understanding and engagement with nature compared to traditional classroom learning.

Helping Plants and Animals

Charles: “We planted more plants… plants help them because some plants provide food for some of the animals out here.”

TC: “We tested water to see if it was okay for animals. We found that plants provided shelter for salamanders.”

Ari: “We put the animals that we found back into their habitats… The reason this was important was so that it was safe again and won’t have to build a whole new world.”

These actions not only foster empathy for the environment but also contribute to the conservation of local ecosystems.

Fostering Community Involvement

Charles: “I hope we plant trees here again so it helps the animals to provide food and shelter.”

Ari: “If you see an animal or something in danger, then you can put it somewhere safe.”

Treazure: “I feel like it helps my community because for one with all the things that are happening, it is better to keep things in check.”

These young environmentalists envision themselves actively participating in future projects to protect their communities and create a sustainable future for generations to come.

Final Thoughts

Leach Botanical Garden and the Back 5 offers a space for young individuals like Charles, Ari, TC, Harmony, Mariah, Ja’Siah, and Treazure to connect with nature, learn valuable lessons about their environment, and make a positive impact on their communities. Their experiences demonstrate the importance of outdoor learning and community involvement in nurturing the next generation of environmental stewards.

The Leach Botanical Garden and the Back 5 stand as a living testament to the power of outdoor classrooms and the positive impact they can have on the lives of our youth and the future of our planet. It’s a reminder that we all play a crucial role in protecting the environment, and there’s no better place to start than in the beautiful, natural surroundings of Leach Botanical Garden and the Back 5.