Monday, October 10, 2011


If your family is looking for fun service-learning projects to care for the environment, animals, and people, you've come to the right place. A program of Resources for Health, our group is part of the global network of Roots & Shoots groups affiliated with the Jane Goodall Institute. We re-launched in the Hillsboro/Beaverton/Aloha area in 2010 after seven very active years in the Phoenix Metro Area. Check out the postings below to see our group's history! We meet regularly on the first Friday monthly for discussion, reflection, and celebration of the service-learning projects of the past month. Roots & Shoots members can keep track of their volunteer hours to qualify for the President's Volunteer Service Award, which will be presented at our annual volunteer recognition event. Members also can attend the Pacific Northwest Roots & Shoots Summit with Dr. Jane Goodall. The most recent summit occurred on October 7, 2011. Check out the photos on our Facebook page and like us, too. Interested in joining the fun? Please contact us!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


We've got our hands full this academic year with ongoing projects!

H2Origami - We're making wildlife origami with water protection messages to tell Governor Kitzhaber to stop Nestle from bottling the Columbia River Gorge. Learn more about this critical issue from Food and Water Watch.

SOLV Green Team - We're working with SOLV to restore Council Creek in Cornelius by removing invasive plants, planting natives, and monitoring wildlife in the area.

OFOSA - We're socializing puppies, walking dogs, rolling newspaper, and helping in any other way we are needed at Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals.

Evergreen Park Adoption - We do cleanup, invasive species removal, and planting projects as needed throughout the year with City of Hillsboro Parks & Rec staff.

Oregon Food Bank - We've volunteered in the past and will volunteer again to repack bulk food items for families in need.

Friends of Trees - Another favorite from the past, we'll help again this year with all the plantings scheduled in Beaverton.

More details and photos to follow!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Today marked the beginning of an ongoing project to raise awareness about water issues and influence legislators to keep waterways safe and healthy for animals and people. We decided to focus the project on Nestle's attempt to build a bottling plant in the Columbia River Gorge. We are making origami of any wildlife that would live in or around the Gorge, like ducks, frogs, salmon, turtles, and anything else you can think of. We are writing water protection messages on the origami to give to Governor Kitzhaber when Food & Water Watch schedules a meeting with him and his Natural Resources Adviser in the Fall. Learn more at the Beaverton City Library on Thursday, June 30th, at 6pm or follow the links below:

Nestle in the Columbia River Gorge -

Action needed by June 30th to help stop Nestlé's plans -

National and global water issues -

--submitted by youth leader, Mikal

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Today we completed our third project repacking bulk food at the Oregon Food Bank. During these projects we repack bulk foods from giant vats into two pound family sized bags. In January we packed pasta, in April we packed oats, and this time we packed frozen green beans. Needless to say, the room was chilly! But we were working so fast we hardly noticed the cold. Together with other volunteers we repacked 8,640 pounds of green beans for families in need. We look forward to volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank again in July!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Today was a day of celebration! In honor of Earth Day, volunteer appreciation, and our group's one year anniversary in Oregon, we planted flowers and cleaned up trash at our group's adopted park, Evergreen Park in Hillsboro. You can see how much our group has grown since our inaugural flower planting and park adoption event on April 30, 2010! The City of Hillsboro Parks and Recreation staff who provided tools, flowers, gloves, training, and supervision, were amazed at how quickly our group, including youth ages 2-16, got the job done. When the outdoor work-celebration was finished, we continued celebrating indoors at RFH Roots & Shoots headquarters with individual make-your-own pizzas, including vegan and gluten-free options, donated by Whole Foods Tanasbourne. We look forward to our next year of service-learning projects!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Together with other community volunteers, our team packed 7,880 pounds of bulk oats into 2 pound family size bags. According to the Oregon Food Bank, this amount is a new all time record! The total amount represented 12,123 individual meals, meaning that each of us packed 296 meals for neighbors who aren't sure where their next meal will come from. Many small tasks came together to achieve this success. Our multi-age group cooperated in roles as scoopers, baggers, weighers, twist tiers, boxers, and pallet movers. In Oregon and Clark County, Washington, an estimated 240,000 people eat from an emergency food box in an average month. We look forward to volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank again in May and July!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


RFH Roots & Shoots members joined other community volunteers to plant 800 trees, plants, and shrubs near Shiffler Park, restoring the riparian area along a tributary to Beaverton Creek. The planting was part of the "Tree for All" event co-sponsored by the City of Beaverton and Clean Water Services. The ambitious goal of Tree for All is to plant two million trees in the Tualatin River Valley in 20 years. Streams lined with native vegetation provide cleaner, cooler water, better flood management, and fish and wildlife habitat. It's good for the water and fish, and it's good for people and our community too!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


The ancient Japanese legend of a thousand paper cranes is that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures, and is said to live for a thousand years. In Japan, it is commonly said that folding 1000 paper origami cranes makes a person's wish come true.

Today three Roots & Shoots families gathered to make origami paper cranes for a sick child. has pictures and biographies of children battling chronic illnesses on their website so you can pick one and help make that child smile with cards and gifts. We will be making one thousand origami paper cranes for Heather Riley who has Symptomatic Generalized Epilepsy, the umbrella that Lennnox Gastaut Syndrome Falls under. It doesn't matter what you call it it has a bad prognosis. We hope our package will brighten her day! -- submitted by youth leader, Xarra

Thursday, January 20, 2011


RFH Roots & Shoots' trip to the Oregon Food Bank proved to be very productive. Together with other community volunteers, 20 of our members worked hard to re-pack 4,900 pounds of bulk pasta into two pound bags. There were several roles to fill, and our group took on all of them: unloaders, scoopers, baggers, twist tiers, boxers, and pallet movers. The Oregon Food Bank estimates that we packed enough food to provide 7,538 meals for people in need. Each individual member of our group packed an average of 179 meals. Despite the sheer amount of pasta moved, the task did not seem challenging in the least.

In Oregon and Clark County Washington, an estimated 240,000 people eat from an emergency food box in an average month. Volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank helps our many neighbors who aren't sure where their next meal will come from.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Despite the freezing cold weather, 15 RFH Roots & Shoots volunteers showed up to help plant 40 trees that Friends of Trees had waiting for us in a Beaverton neighborhood. It snowed on us for a couple of minutes during the planting, but we were fortunate that the weather stayed dry the rest of the time. This time the trees had been transported to the site in burlap bags around the roots. The holes had been pre-dug by the City of Beaverton. There was another Friends of Trees planting going on at the same time as the planting we volunteered at. At the tree planting across town, Friends of Trees was celebrating the planting of their 400,000th tree. When we planted the trees, we helped to make a cleaner environment and improve the quality of life for people in the neighborhood. Altogether, our group members volunteered 37.5 hours to complete the tree planting, and we finished 90 minutes ahead of the expected schedule! --submitted by R&S Youth Leader, Jacob

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Twelve kids and six adults gathered at a member's home to color pictures for Color A Smile, a non-profit organization that collects drawings to give to nursing homes, Meals on Wheels programs, and anyone else in need of a smile. Using crayons, markers, and colored pencils, we created 85 colorful pictures. Some were “color in” pages, and some were free art. Everyone had a great time coloring together for such a good cause. --submitted by R&S Youth Leader, Edison

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Today, fifteen members of our group worked with Friends of Trees and other volunteers to plant over 40 European Hornbeams in a Beaverton neighborhood. After a short lesson in tree planting, we split into small groups and went to plant trees. The holes were already dug, but we found the top root, measured and adjusted the hole depth, loosened the tree roots, and plunked the trees in. The potted trees were heavy! After refilling the hole, cleaning up, staking, and tagging, it was on to the next tree. Although our planting time was rain-free, it had rained earlier. One hole was even full to the top with water! The trees we planted will help to stop muddy water from polluting Fanno Creek and will help keep the air clean. --submitted by R&S Youth Leader, Maya

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Tualatin Hills Nature Park, a 222 acre wildlife preserve in the heart of Beaverton, features evergreen deciduous forests, creeks, wetlands, ponds, and meadows, and is the habitat for a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and other creatures. It also is host to invasive species that threaten the native flora. Today our group worked to eradicate the Himalayan Blackberry in one small area of the park, part of a larger ongoing effort throughout the year. We worked in pairs with one partner clipping vines while the other partner dug out the root of the plants. Afterward, we warmed up and enjoyed the exhibits at the Nature Park Interpretive Center.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


A handful of our group members celebrated the Thanksgiving weekend by participating in "Stewardship Saturday at Tryon Creek." In contrast to our earlier Tryon Creek planting events on October 30th and November 6th, this event occurred at Tryon Creek State Park. We could hardly believe that our luck held out for yet another rain-free day for an outdoor project! The sun even peeked out, further revealing the beauty of the forest. Unfortunately, amid all the beauty is a villain that is strangling life from the trees and crowding out native plants. That villain is invasive English Ivy. Our volunteer leader from Friends of Tryon Creek told us and other volunteers that they have been fighting the ivy for 15 years, section by section of the 670 acre forest. Pictured at left is just one of the several piles of ivy that volunteers pulled, standing over four feet tall. After helping pull ivy, we enjoyed hiking and exploring other trails in the park and looking at the exhibits in the visitor center.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Evergreen Park is always green because it is full of non-deciduous trees, but not all of the green belongs in Evergreen Park. Things like English Ivy, Himalayan Blackberries, bottles, cans, and other trash don't belong in parks. So our group did an stewardship project at our adopted park. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, "environmental stewardship is the responsibility for environmental quality shared by all those whose actions affect the environment. As stewards of Evergreen Park, we pruned Himalayan Blackberries, pulled English Ivy, and picked up trash. Thank you to all who helped and to the Hillsboro Parks Department for supplying tools! --Submitted by R&S youth leader Mikal

Saturday, November 6, 2010


For the second Saturday in a row, we partnered with SOLV to plant native trees and shrubs at Tryon Creek. This project was located on private property, where a homeowner partnered with SOLV, Friends of Tryon Creek, and municipal agencies to make this project possible. We planted in a small area where the creek ran in the past and native plants previously grew. We used two different planting techniques to plant in two different types of land: uplands and wetlands. The area was hit by blight a few years ago and was overtaken by invasive plants. Hopefully our efforts will help restore the area to its earlier condition! Our group of 13 plus one non-R&S volunteer planted 110 trees and shrubs. A thank you message we received from SOLV read: "Your work will ensure that the air in the Portland Metro Area is clean, and that there will be urban habitat for fish, birds, and small mammals in the years to come. The plants you put in the ground will also work to filter polluted storm water and decrease erosion along urban waterways in the Portland area. The clean air and waterway your efforts will be appreciated by Oregonians who will be breathing and drinking it for years to come."

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Today ten RFH R&S members ages 8 to adult joined forces with other volunteers to work on a SOLV project planting 140 native trees and shrubs to restore the urban watershed at Tryon Creek. We learned the correct way to plant trees and shrubs and the importance of mulching around the plants to keep invasive species at bay. We had a great time, finished planting just before the rain started, and enjoyed the spiced apple cider and sweet treats provided by the church that was the location host for this SOLV event. We're looking forward to another Tryon Creek planting with SOLV next weekend! Over time, these plantings will improve water quality, create wildlife habitat, and store carbon to slow climate change.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Today we were pleased to be a part of Hillsboro Park & Recreation's fourth annual Great Pumpkin Hunt, a fun car quest in which 35 teams traveled around town finding and deciphering clues and conquering challenges on their hunt for the Great Pumpkin. We staffed the location at Evergreen Park, our adopted park, where teams stopped to play skeleton hangman to get the clue to their next destination. We enjoyed four hours together in the great outdoors meeting teams and spelling Ichabod Crane while contributing to our community.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Today we marked storm drains and hung informational door hangers in the Aloha neighborhood of a RFH Roots & Shoots family. Storm drains in Washington County do not connect to sewage or water treatment plants. Instead, they carry rainwater and pollutants directly to the nearest waterway. Pollutants include runoff from streets, roofs, and lawns, as well as hazardous waste that people negligently dump directly into the drains. This pollution kills fish, vegetation, and wildlife and ultimately degrades our drinking water supply. Clean Water Services in Hillsboro provided us with all the supplies for this project. In just a couple of hours, ten of us marked 20 storm drains and delivered informational door hangers to 100 homes. This was a fun and easy project that we hope will make a big difference for our environment, especially Butternut Creek, the waterway (pictured left) that runs through the neighborhood. At the very first drain we marked stood a gallon jug of oily looking liquid (pictured below). Hopefully the owner will now dispose of this waste properly! We definitely plan to repeat this project in other neighborhoods.

Here are some clean water tips from Clean Water Services:
  • Plant northwest natives and reduce your lawn
  • Use organic or slowrelease fertilizer
  • Wash your vehicle at a car wash or on your lawn
  • Use mulch to improve soil and help retain water
  • Pick up your pet waste (put it in the trash)
  • Leave your streambank natural (don’t mow to the edge)
  • Keep pets out of streams
  • Fix your car’s oil leaks or catch drips with a pan
  • Remove English ivy and Himalayan blackberry bushes
  • Volunteer with your local stream restoration group

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Today we participated in the SOLV annual Beach and Riverside Cleanup, joining more than 6,135 volunteers statewide in removing an estimated 142,231 pounds of trash and recyclable and 57,685 pounds of invasive plants for watershed restoration projects. Traveling by canoe along Fanno Creek, we pulled loads of bottles, a car stereo, a small skull trinket, a lightbulb and more out of the water. It was quite the adventure, and some of the kids invented a creative story to explain all the interesting findings. In many areas of the creek we had to use teamwork to maneuver the canoes over shallow areas and under low hanging branches. We definitely learned the value of cooperation! It was a great day to appreciate nature and the great outdoors as well as get some exercise while protecting our environment. We know that our impact went beyond our local community, since litter often travels along local waterways out to the ocean where it becomes part of the swirling vortex of trash known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You can learn more about this environmental crisis on Mother Nature Network, a great website where you can learn a lot more about the environment and even watch old episodes of Captain Planet.

Monday, August 16, 2010


We braved the heat on this very warm summer day to team up with Hillsboro Parks staff to spruce up our adopted park. First we weeded out dead plants and debris from the raised beds. Then we raked barkdust around the remaining plants in the beds and around trees in the park. Barkdust is made from the bark of trees used in the logging industry. It works as a mulch to suppress weeds as well as to conserve water as it is effective at absorbing water and preventing water loss due to evaporation. It also made the park look great! We're proud to play a role in making our community more beautiful and were happy to see that the flowers we planted in early spring are still thriving.