Camas Day in Dirksen Nature Park

9 04 2019

“Come and celebrate Tigard’s premier nature park! Learn more about the local significance of the camas flower while it’s in bloom, take a tour to find brass sculptures of local wildlife, and enjoy the recently completed oak savanna overlook, nature play area and more. Also see plans for upcoming construction of more amenities in the park and improvements to the Fanno Creek Regional Trail.”

Last Update: 9 April 2019, Marc Woodard

“Coming in April…. the first ever Camas Festival Saturday, [begins] April 27 2019 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. At Dirksen Nature Park (11130 SW Tiedeman Avenue). Free Admission” (City of Tigard Web Site 2019). Visit: https://www.tigard-or.gov/community/dirksen_park.php to learn more about this city sponsored event. 

There are few things more amazing this time of year than viewing the hustle and bustle of nature renewing itself. One place I enjoy walking during springtime is Dirksen Nature Park, Tigard OR. Within this place a thriving ecology of plant, tree, insect, fish, bird and animal co-exist and dependent on the fertile wetland resources that sustain its ecosystem. It is a perfect place for children to learn the importance and value of today’s conservation and stewardship efforts and practices. Which they can easily learn by parents planning a camas day adventure in April or early May to view camas plants in full bloom.

Many know throughout history there are multiple examples of cultures who gave thanks for bountiful harvests, wildlife and clean drinking water which built communities. Like present day, people of the past understood what environmental stewardship and conservation management was long before it was coined in 1887. “Environmental stewardship refers to responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices. Aldo Leopold (1887–1949) championed environmental stewardship based on a land ethic “dealing with man’s relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it” (Wikepedia 2018).

Tiedeman Fanno Creek Bridge – Dirksen Park

To begin your day’s adventure in the park – walk across Fanno Creek Bridge, located off of Tiedemann Street adjacent to Fowler elementary school and track parking lot. After crossing, walk past the baseball diamond and stay on the paved trail until you reach the second field beyond the forest stand. The fence surrounding the oak savanna field was repurposed from evasive tree species fell during clearing in preparation of restoring the land to its former self. Learn more about Dirksen Nature Park and environmental benefits of this type of restoration at http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/dirksen_park.php

Camas flowers bloom April and mid-May

From this vantage point direct your focus to the distant bluish-purple camas flower patches – some of these long-stemmed flowers may still be in bloom early June. Then share the following information with your children. There were indigenous people long ago that relied on this perennial wetland food source. “One of the most important root crops for the Plateau tribes was camas, which provided a major source of carbohydrates for their diet. Camas is a lily-like plant whose bulb can be fire-baked to make a sweet and nutritious staple. In some places in the Northwest, camas was so common that non-Indian travelers would mistake the plant’s blue flowers for distant lakes” (Ojibwa 2011).

Big log with rings to count

The log is on the other side of shelter. The natural play structure is amazing and your children will love it.

Thereafter continue your adventure by heading back to the first open field. Head toward the large repurposed tree trunk near the playground-shelter area. Explain to your children for every year that pass a new ring is added and that increases tree diameter size. Have them count the rings. How old was this tree before it was cut down? They won’t be able to count all the rings but will understand it had a long life – whose majestic existence reseeded many a forests; provided food and shelter for insects, birds and squirrels and eventually became lumber to build homes and heat dwelling space.

Observation Deck Savanna Oak field

Continue walking straight ahead or westerly along the forest edge. Turn right onto the bark chipped trail and walk toward the open mid-field observation deck. You’ll immediately notice the stunning beauty and tranquilly of this place and able to view camas plants up close while in full bloom. This is a great place to have lunch and take pictures alongside the little bronze critter statuettes hanging out around the seated deck area. Other stories can shared here, e.g., how people harvested and separated the large camas bulbs while replanting the small ones to ensure future bountiful harvests.

Bronze Critters – Observation Deck

This is a perfect example of how to conserve natural resources to ensure a sustainable food source. Also a fact not know by many during the initial oak savanna restoration headed by the City of Tigard, “over 30,000 Camas bulbs were planted in Dirksen Nature Park in 2015 and bloomed for the first time in 2017. … ‘Restoration specialists were caught by surprise when a large bloom of native bulbs emerged that were lying dormant and had been out-competed by non-native pasture grass (City of Tigard Web Site 2018).”

Camas in Bloom from observation trail system

Continue walking westerly toward the Tualatin River Keepers (TRK) educational center on the same path. Just before those buildings direct your children’s focus to the northern forest edge. See if your family can spot the blue lake of camas flowers looking south – surrounding the large old oak tree [Tip – have them use the picture in this article to identify the spot]. To continue your adventure back track to the place you counted the tree rings. Then head toward the outdoor fitness station donated by the Tigard Rotarians, or shelter playground area. Get a little exercise activity if you’d like. Within these two play areas you can emphasis the importance of keeping the body fit through healthy exercise activity [another teaching point].

Rotary Club outdoor fitness center donation

Lastly enter the woods behind the fitness equipment – stay on the bark chipped trail. Within 100’ you’ll access an elevated oak savanna manmade platform. Here you can observe an active ecology encircled by wetland during the rainy season – view, hear and feel nature all around. Thereafter, end a perfect day of educational adventure by throwing a  Frisbee, baseball, croquet, soccer, etc., in the large grass field.

Wetland & wildlife observation platform.

Plan to make a fun, fit and educational adventure for the whole family to enjoy and imagine what it must have been like to live in this place and depend upon it for your survival. And why conservation, stewardship and restoration of land and clean drinking water is important to preserve and manage for the sake of nature’s ecosystems and our wellbeing.

Be sure to get lots of pictures of your special day during the annual camas festival and while the flowers are in bloom. If you’d like to share those family memories on our mirrorathlete Facebook page we’d be honored to share your Camas Day Adventure with our followers.

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2019 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit





Recreation Saves Lives and Cities

14 10 2018

“City recreation is now the policy maker in partnership with city leaders, especially as health and recreational access disparity grows.”

Updated: 14 October 2018, Marc Woodard

Today’s cities compete for residents and business by offering state of the art recreation facilities services and programs, developed parks and greenway trail systems, safe walkways and open green space and for good reason.  It is the tremendous economic, social, wellbeing and fit healthy benefits these recreational amenities bring to community.  Once people relate to these benefits their more likely to value, support and demand these things of city leaders.

I’ve known for years, when children are involved in daily playtime activities and organized sport they grow up valuing and prioritizing these things. Then share those experiences and memories with their children. It is also well documented by medical professionals kids need structured playtime to physically and cognitively grow into happy and healthy productive adults. And when recreational access to healthy activities is limited in schools and city neighborhoods sedentary habits, drug addiction, teenage crime and abnormal behavioral problems increase.

“The Center for Disease and Control reports “obesity now affects 1 in 6 children and adolescents in the United States.”

A national health risk trend parents are also concerned about for good reason is childhood obesity. It is said by many health experts childhood obesity and health disparity has reached epidemic proportions. The Center for Disease and Control reports “obesity now affects 1 in 6 children and adolescents in the United States.” It is widely known obesity has a direct connection to diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological disease including cancer, etc.

“Public recreation centers now educate our children on healthy lifestyle, not our schools [Surgeon General Dr. Murthy].”

Communities that recognize these health and behavioral risk connections are calling for more structured recreational activities and nurturing places for children to attend outside of public school yards.   Parents seek safe, structured and affordable afterschool programs to reduce these risks.  Active adults are also drawn to city recreational amenities but for different reasons.

“Active adults are also drawn to city recreational amenities but for different reasons.”

During the NRPA (National Recreation and Parks Association) 2015 conference, the US Surgeon General Dr. Murthy stated public community recreation centers must strive to provide fit healthy lifestyle programs and activities for all demographics. He also called to action to create a nation of walkers with connected wheel chair emphasis in design within a walkable community where everyone could participate in exercise activity.

He also described how public recreation centers now educate our children on healthy lifestyle, not our schools.  City recreation is now the policy maker in partnership with city leaders, especially as health and recreational access disparity grows.

And when cities lack public recreation facilities families look elsewhere to find them and even relocate to meet long term child development and active adult needs.

Families with children aren’t the only demographic demanding more of city recreation services and programs. The boomer population being the largest demographic has the resources to make or break affordable and sustainable city services for communities.

Active adults [senior citizens] living without children want more public recreation programs. “But for different reasons then families with young children.”

As a fit healthy lifestyle consultant and passion for city recreation I’ve attended multiple National League of City Conferences (NLC) in Washington D.C., and National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and Oregon Recreation and Parks Association (ORPA) conferences. It is very clear city recreation “saves lives [Dr. Murthy 2015]” and sustains economic, political and social culture and affordable city services – through civic outreach and engagement opportunities by city leaders.

Through community recreation, events and activities are the opportunities to engage the public to find out what city priorities and goals they’ll support. When cities use public recreation opportunities as a feedback mechanism – it is quickly determined what people need, want and will support within the city projects, planning and budget process.

I regress … Saving lives is a pretty clear concept from a recreators point of view.

That is – fit healthy activities for active adults …

And safe-supervised kid’s space and place to hang out with friends; and offer age appropriate playtime activities and social networking to make face-to-face connections – which supports: fit healthy habits, moral values, mentorship, coaching, community collaboration and involvement parents want for their children in becoming the next productive leaders of tomorrow.

But how does recreation save cities?

Top reason active adults relocate: “A need to live in a more recreationally enriched area.”

Consider the following insight.

There is a growing trend of adults who live very active lifestyles and want centralized city recreation programs within a reasonable distance from where they live. Which include multi-use indoor swimming pools, aerobics, yoga, exercise room, wellbeing and fitness classes, pickle ball, self-defense, arts, crafts and hobby and social events space etc., the list goes on.

Senior citizens also want to be referred to and categorized as active adults [forever ageless]. On average active adults spend $40,000 per year discretionary income. Studies show they spend a lot of this income on recreational activities [ORPA 2016]. And by far represent the largest volunteer population in cities that support libraries, police, schools and city recreation programs, parks and trail systems.

“On average active adults spend $40,000 per year discretionary income.”

Cities need to find ways to retain and attract more of the active adult community because of their economic impact on cities. They represent the largest demographic with the greatest discretionary income holdings.  Keeping active adults encouraged and interested to stay contributes significantly to the economic viability and affordability of city living.

The top 3 reasons people move away from a previous location: 1) A need to live in a more recreationally enriched area. 2) Get away from cold weather. When families and seniors live in cold environments they look for accessible and convenient indoor public use recreation facilities. 3) Live in an area with a plethora of public recreation programming opportunities for active adults and families. [ORPA 2016].

“Dollars that stay in communities sustain a quality of affordable city services for everyone.”

The best way to illustrate the financial impact active adults have on communities is by painting a relatable financial and sustainable city services picture. For example if 100 active-retired adults remain residents that retains $4m dollars of discretionary income spent within the city boundaries. Recall on average active adults spend $40,000 per year discretionary income.

Those dollars support economic development, small business and other sustainable city services connected to city fees & taxes, etc. Hence, dollars that stay in communities sustain a quality of affordable city services for everyone.

Providing for the next generations recreational needs must be a competitive city priority. Especially if it is to remain healthy, sustainable and a place people want to stay and call home.

When cities provide for the recreational needs of a community, it creates a healthy place people want to live, work, play and age in place.

The big take away is when city leaders value, prioritize and invest in city recreation, everyone in community wins and those fit healthy benefits will sustain cities by incentivizing the next generation to age in place.

 

 

 

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. Is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Why Recreation Events are Supported by Community

24 08 2018

 

City 4th of July Celebration – Awaiting Fire Works Display

I attended the annual 4th of July Celebration event at Tigard High School like hundreds of others this year.

Yes the fireworks were the main feature and reason many showed up… but something else is going on community leaders need to pay attention too.

The place was literally abuzz with conversation and activities within each families picnic area on the football field.

If I didn’t know any better I’d say I was experiencing a 60’s and 70’s blast from the past event. Especially with the genre of music played throughout the evening. I was thoroughly entertained watching everything from children and adults playing yard games with oversized racquets, to nerf and beach balls airborne overhead. While others juggled, performed gymnastics and danced for a captured audience.

City 4th of July Celebration – Gunny Sack Race

People participated in other activities like Gunny sack races for all ages, pictures were taken with visiting Star War troopers, and children lined up for the free face painting. While others stood in line to have family pictures taken with choice of background.

On top of all this the Tualatin community band played. There were also educational static displays by the Tigard police department, TVFD and a life flight helicopter landed and crew engaged onlookers. All of these activities can be defined and related to as various forms of recreation activities within a community event.

Why is it important for community leaders to be able to define, relate and apply recreational activities and events valued by the public? Without connecting these dots – community leaders don’t typically think beyond financial balance sheets and City budgetary cuts.

Annual Ice Cream Social at Tigard House

The National Framework for Recreation in Canada (2015) defines recreation as: “The experience that results from freely chosen participation in physical, social, intellectual, creative and spiritual pursuits that enhance individual and community wellbeing. ‘Recreation is the positive actions and choices we make to recreate, to restore and refresh the mind, body and spirit.’” Recreation means lots of different things  to different people. “Taking a walk around the block or in the local park, going to the library, Singing in a choir, playing tennis, being part of a sport team, rollerblading on community trails, taking an art or knitting class, taking a Zumba class, going camping, playing golf, reading a book, playing on the playground with your children, volunteering at the local senior center.” Source: http://www.gov.mb.ca/mr/bldgcomm/recreg/rhl.html

Research shows us robust city parks and recreation activities and annual community events enhance state of wellbeing while connecting people in unique ways where they are reminded why their city is a great place to live, work, play, spend leisurely time and age in place.

Face Painting – 4th of July Celebration THS Football Field

“All research indicates that people don’t move to a community because of the water quality or how often trash is picked up,” Thrower says [Director of the City of West Palm Beach Parks & Rec Depart]. “While safety is important, it is usually not the main reason someone moves to a city.” … “Today we are everything from drowning prevention to after-school care for children, to the only social interaction a senior citizen might experience.”
Source: http://source.southuniversity.edu/parks-and-recreation-centers-bring-communities-together-59072.aspx

Annual Balloon Festival, Cook Park

“Quality parks and recreation are cited as one of the top three reasons that business cite in relocation decisions in a number of studies. Access to parks and recreation opportunities has been strongly linked to reductions in crime and to reduced juvenile delinquency. Parks have a value to communities that transcend the amount of dollars invested or the revenues gained from fees.” Source: https://recreation.eku.edu/importance-parks-and-recreation

Relay for Life Event – Fowler Junior High

“There are no communities that pride themselves on their quality of life, promote themselves as a desirable location for businesses to relocate, or maintain that they are environmental stewards of their natural resources, without such communities having a robust, active system of parks and recreation programs for public use and enjoyment.” Source: https://www.nrpa.org/uploadedFiles/nrpa.org/Advocacy/Resources/Parks-Recreation-Essential-Public-Services-January-2010.pdf

Concert in Cook Park

For reasons previously mentioned and too many more to list, it is important for community leaders to recognize the value and benefits recreational events and programmed activities bring to communities – and why they should not be cut during challenging economic times.

“Across the country, parks and recreation departments are facing challenges due to improper funding,” Curtis says [Virginia Beach Deputy City Manager]. Thrower says that since parks and recreation departments are a quality-of-life issue, not a public safety one, they are constantly on the chopping block for funds. … Thrower says that parks and recreation departments are a necessity that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

CERT’s Disaster Preparedness Fair

If City leaders are serious about outreach and community engagement that recruits support for Parks & Recreation amenities and activities  – it is wise to recall, recreation events have a way of connecting people who want to help support the next annual event. Which can lead to a list of willing volunteers in support of other City goals, programs and services.

Read city recreation return on investment at: https://wp.me/p8mORL-1rf

Learn more about more upcoming City of Tigard events: http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/events.php

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle, City Recreation and free monthly newsletter, visit: http://www.mirrorathlete.com.”





City Recreation Return on Investment

19 07 2018

Tigard Ice Cream Social – Tigard House

Typically one thinks of City Recreation as offering a recreation center with swimming pool, events hall, fitness equipment, gym, indoor club and meeting rooms and a plethora of services and activities offered under one roof. Many Cities simply don’t have the financial means to offer such amenities. However when community leaders realize the economic return on indoor/outdoor events and activities – they support and strategically plan to grow them like any other core City service people need and want.

The NPRA (National Parks and Recreation Association) – shows many economic impact studies, where City recreation utilizes parks land and public use facilities capturing a portion of the tourism industry to grow City recreation programs and services. The economic health modeling studies show a Return on Investment (ROI) far exceeding revenue expectations to cover costs of events.

A simplistic way to illustrate this ROI can be seen through one of many research studies that measure the economic impact of recreational programming within cities. The NRPA (National Recreation Parks Association) provides data within a 2010 series of studies showing the economic benefit to taxpayers, small business and public at large. And why other non-profit and private business compete for similar recreation services and events… they can be very profitable!

Balloon Festival, Cook Park 22-24 June 2018

“Positioning Park and Recreation Agencies as Engines of Tourism
in many communities, tourism has successfully positioned itself as a substantial economic engine, a remarkable accomplishment for a relatively recent phenomenon. The conceptualization of tourism as an integrated ‘industry’ is a post 1970 phenomenon. It lacks the long and distinguished pedigree of the park and recreation field. Nevertheless, in the eyes of elected officials in many communities, it has surpassed this field in importance … In most communities, park and recreation agencies are the engines of tourism … For every $1 you invest in us, the community received $60 in return.’ Such claims are rarely challenged and the apparent high return on the investment is widely accepted by legislators, the media, and the general public” (Crompton 2010). But these numbers are not an average. And can vary greatly depending on the economic data entered within any similar study. The point is, there is a ROI that exceeds revenues less operating expense not realized within financial balance sheets. https://www.nrpa.org/uploadedFiles/nrpa.org/Publications_and_Research/Research/Papers/Crompton-Research-Paper.pdf

Although the City of Tigard doesn’t have a recreation center, it does have plenty of parks and downtown plaza space to hold public events. And a full time recreation coordinator who works very hard to bring children and family activities to the community. For example, Pop Up in the Parks offering children various sports, games and crafts for free – This activity is planned on Wednesdays from 11am – 1pm … July 11 (Cook Park), July 18 (Woodard Park) and July 25 (Bonita Park). Then movies in the parks for families begin at dusk on July 21 (Dirksen Nature Park), August 3 (Cook Park), August 11 (Metzger Elementary School Park), and August 17 (Metzger Elementary School Park).

Tigard also has a few large annual events during summertime: balloon festival, 4th of July fireworks display and Street Fair. Other annual City tourist attractions could and should include: Biking, cycling, skateboarding, running and walking events, annual veteran and other celebratory parades, food and hobby fairs; school, veterans, classic car and motorcycle rallies; and any number of cultural arts, food and music themed events.

4th of July Celebration, Tigard High School football field, 2018.

Tigard also has a few large annual events during summertime: balloon festival, 4th of July fireworks display and Street Fair. Other annual City tourist attractions could and should include: Biking, cycling, skateboarding, running and walking events, annual veteran and other celebratory parades, food and hobby fairs; school, veterans, classic car and motorcycle rallies; and any number of cultural arts, food and music themed events.

Our City recreation program is capable of doing much more. “If City recreation is allowed to flourish… by its own charter is driven to cost recover and motivated to generate a small profit, and grow a sustainable business through volunteer networking… and negotiate profit share agreements with other core city services struggling to keep their doors open.” (Woodard 2018, City of Tigard annual budget meeting). It’s the only business model I know of within City governments that use principled best-in-class business practices to cost recover – with a goal of using little to no taxpayer money.

Tigard Street Fair – Latino Fest Down Town Tigard 2017

Like all Cities surrounding Tigard, there are many reasons community leaders support and strategically plan to grow recreation facilities, programs, services and events: 1) they serve to educate and activate bodies with a goal to reduce childhood obesity and improve brain-body coordination and social skills development for kids. 2) Save lives in a different way than policing services – by redirecting youth purpose. 3) Grows small business and supports entrepreneur startup incubators within relative industries. 4) Offers affordable afterschool activities. 5) Supports other city services through profit share agreements. 6) Builds community bonds and sustainable City services through volunteerism, etc.

If you’d like to know more about Tigard City Recreation or interested in supporting or volunteering contact: Recreation@tigard-or.gov or call 503-718-2584.

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle, City Recreation and free monthly newsletter, visit: http://www.mirrorathlete.com.”

 





Camas Day in Dirksen Nature Park

22 06 2018

There are few things more amazing this time of year than viewing the hustle and bustle of nature renewing itself. One place I enjoy walking during springtime is Dirksen Nature Park, Tigard OR. Within this place a thriving ecology of plant, tree, insect, fish, bird and animal co-exist and dependent on the fertile wetland resources that sustain its ecosystem. It is a perfect place for children to learn the importance and value of today’s conservation and stewardship efforts and practices. Which they can easily learn by parents planning a camas day adventure in April or early May to view camas plants in full bloom.

Many know throughout history there are multiple examples of cultures who gave thanks for bountiful harvests, wildlife and clean drinking water which built communities. Like present day, people of the past understood what environmental stewardship and conservation management was long before it was coined in 1887. “Environmental stewardship refers to responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices. Aldo Leopold (1887–1949) championed environmental stewardship based on a land ethic “dealing with man’s relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it” (Wikepedia 2018).

Tiedeman Fanno Creek Bridge – Dirksen Park

To begin your day’s adventure in the park – walk across Fanno Creek Bridge, located off of Tiedemann Street adjacent to Fowler elementary school and track parking lot. After crossing, walk past the baseball diamond and stay on the paved trail until you reach the second field beyond the forest stand. The fence surrounding the oak savanna field was repurposed from evasive tree species fell during clearing in preparation of restoring the land to its former self. Learn more about Dirksen Nature Park and environmental benefits of this type of restoration at http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/dirksen_park.php

Camas flowers bloom April and mid-May

From this vantage point direct your focus to the distant bluish-purple camas flower patches – some of these long-stemmed flowers may still be in bloom early June. Then share the following information with your children. There were indigenous people long ago that relied on this perennial wetland food source. “One of the most important root crops for the Plateau tribes was camas, which provided a major source of carbohydrates for their diet. Camas is a lily-like plant whose bulb can be fire-baked to make a sweet and nutritious staple. In some places in the Northwest, camas was so common that non-Indian travelers would mistake the plant’s blue flowers for distant lakes” (Ojibwa 2011).

Big log with rings to count

Thereafter continue your adventure by heading back to the first open field. Head toward the large repurposed tree trunk on the ground. Explain to your children for every year that pass a new ring is added and that increases tree diameter size. Have them count the rings. How old was this tree before it was cut down? They won’t be able to count all the rings but will understand it had a long life – whose majestic existence reseeded many a forests; provided food and shelter for insects, birds and squirrels and eventually became lumber to build homes and heat dwelling space.

Observation Deck Savanna Oak field

Continue walking straight ahead or westerly along the forest edge. Turn right onto the bark chipped trail and walk toward the open mid-field observation pad. You’ll immediately notice the stunning beauty and tranquilly of this place and able to view camas plants up close when in full bloom. This is a great place to have lunch and take pictures alongside the little bronze critter statuettes hanging out around the seated deck area. Other stories can shared here, e.g., how people harvested and separated the large camas bulbs while replanting the small ones to ensure future bountiful harvests.

Bronze Critters – Observation Deck

This is a perfect example of how to conserve natural resources to ensure a sustainable food source. Also a fact not know by many during the initial oak savanna restoration phase, “over 30,000 Camas bulbs were planted in Dirksen Nature Park in 2015 and bloomed for the first time in 2017. … ‘Restoration specialists were caught by surprise when a large bloom of native bulbs emerged that were lying dormant and had been out-competed by non-native pasture grass (COT Dirksen Park Web Page 2018).”

Camas in Bloom from observation trail system

Continue walking westerly toward the River Keepers educational center on the same path. Just before those buildings direct your children’s focus to the northern forest edge. See if your family can spot the blue lake of camas flowers looking south – next to the large old oak tree [Tip – have them use the picture in this article to identify the spot]. To continue your adventure back track to the place you counted the tree rings. Then head toward the outdoor fitness station donated by the Tigard Rotarians. Get a little exercise activity if you’d like. Here you can emphasis the importance of keeping the body fit through healthy exercise activity [another teaching point].

Rotary Club outdoor fitness center donation

Lastly enter the woods behind the fitness equipment – stay on the bark chipped trail. Within 100’ you’ll access an elevated oak savanna manmade platform. Here you can observe an active ecology encircled by wetland during the rainy season – view, hear and feel nature all around. Thereafter – end a perfect day of educational adventure for a day’s play of Frisbee, baseball, croquet, soccer, etc., in the large grass field.

Wetland & wildlife observation platform.

Plan to make a fun, fit and educational adventure for the whole family to enjoy and imagine what it must have been like to live in this place and depend upon it for your survival. And why conservation, stewardship and restoration of land and clean drinking water is important to preserve and manage for the sake of nature’s ecosystems and our wellbeing. Be sure to get lots of pictures of your special day in the Park. If you’d like to share those family memories on our DareToWalk Facebook page we’d be honored to share your Camas Day Adventure with our followers.

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit





Learn How to X-Factor Garden Space

22 05 2018

Build garden above and around outdoor social space

Although many people begin planting gardens as early as March in the great North West, it is not too late to begin within the month of May. It is well known gardening activity is good for wellbeing, increased fitness levels and overall health, not to mention the nutritional value of consuming farmed fresh foods. There is also an X-factor created when gardening space wraps around outdoor patios and decks.

As one of many Tigard residents who grew up planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables on large acreage home farms, it’s fascinating to see how today’s generation makes use of small space to produce high-yields of farmed fresh foods.

There’s no need to go full plow and bulk seed bananas if looking to grow an affordable and manageable garden on a deck or patio; and like the ideal of embellishing it with a multi-dimensional vine catching structure that engulfs an outdoor social gathering and dining space.

You can easily build a garden trellis structure made out of rope wire anchored to walls or poles that continue overhead within a 6’x4’ (24sf) to 8’x5’ (40sqft) space, or larger. And able to handle the weight of favorite veggies and fruit hanging from the vine. Similar to the bean tunnel made out of old pipe parts as seen in the picture. Inexpensive no-frills PVC pipe can also be easily attached in garden beds that look like a Quonset hut. However the wire rope trellis system has become a hipster gardening favorite. It looks great and can be installed affordably in a small space by anyone.

Bean Tunnel made out of repurposed pipe.

To Build a Wire Rope Lattice-Trellis Structure – All you need are 2-3” long eye, or line-hooks, etc., to secure ½ to ¾” into walls or pole [siding]; wire rope, turnbuckle [used to apply tension to rope], S-hooks, and wire rope clamp-eyelet hardware. Installation: Measure the distance of desired siding and overhead rope runs to determine line length for project. Purchase enough line-hooks to install at 24 inch intervals up vertical siding. Add 6 inches extra rope length for each line set to install rope clamp-eyelet for connecting turn buckle and S-hook hardware at wall base hooks. Connect one turn buckle between S-hook [S-Hook is connected to wall base eyelet hook] and other end of turn buckle attaches to the clamped wire rope eyelet. Then on the other end install the rope wire anchor hardware without a turn buckle. Horizontal ski line anchors may or may not be needed depending on produce weight. If you choose not to run open sky overhead lines you likely don’t need a turn buckle.

As vines grow from soil – direct and lean them against both ends of lattice lines. Once vines are long enough, they’ll wrap themselves up the rope and continue overhead. Horizontal and vertical runs of snap peas, squash, beans, eggplant, zucchini, melons and grapes etc., can easily be grown and attached at any section of the structure from potted wall troughs, beds and shelved pots. [Local Home and Garden specialist, or Internet instruction can help with hardware installation and lattice-trellis wire rope design and hardware options]. Tools needed – drill, tape measure, wire cutter, crescent wrench, or socket set and screwdriver.

To make full use of a garden trellis floor or ground space below: place staggered shelves, pots and trough beds at the parameter. If there is wall space available that sees sun – secure shelving at various heights. Or consider staggered ground shelving unit(s) that can be built at little cost using repurposed planks, book shelves, etc., elevated on cinder blocks. Or create a stair like structure to reap the benefits of additional growing space that sees plenty of sunshine. Place lower profile garden produce like cherry tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and Kale at ground or mid-shelve level. Top shelves can be used for herbs like Basel, rosemary, parsley, oregano, cilantro, etc. And/or use top shelves to set and direct potted plant vines to make further use of mid garden overhead trellis space.

Green tomatoes hanging by the vine

Lastly, to create a stupendous X-Factor garden – If you have large enough space to integrate patio furniture and barbeque you can create a very unique social-dining experience. Where farmed fresh foods can be harvested, prepared and cooked in front of guests while sharing green thumb stories over a favorite glass of wine.

Jack Park Community Garden Plots – Access via the parking lot at the Walnut Street fire station at 12617 SW Walnut Street

 

 

If a deck, porch, patio or ground space is not an option but you’d like to grow a small garden, many cities like Tigard offer 4’x8’ garden boxes to plant seasonally at an affordable price. To learn more about community gardens: http://www.tigard-or.gov/communitygardens or 503-718-2591.

 

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle, City Recreation and free monthly newsletter, visit: http://www.mirrorathlete.com.”





Boot Up Properly To Walk Anywhere

19 04 2018

Marc Woodard, April 2018

I’m often ask why I ‘Boot Up’ to walk Tigard’s easily accessible sidewalks, parkway and greenway paved trail systems. That is, I typically wear boots and protective clothing with backpack. My reasoning is basically 5-fold.

1) I often walk through narrow dirt trail systems in publically owned wooded areas with overgrown brush and weeds within City boundaries. You can find these remote trails within and around Dirksen Nature Park, Bull Mountain Park, and Cook, Cache and Sunrise Parks and sections of Genesis loop. Also Fields and Brown property behind the Tigard Library running parallel with the train tracks. To include other unimproved land areas not well known to the general public.

2) If you love trail walking or work within rural and forested environments, or like to hike, camp, hunt over the weekends – protective all-weather clothing, backpack and supportive footwear in my opinion is the best attire to wear during daily walking exercise to keep the feet and body conditioned to participate in any of those activities year around.

3) Boots are more resistive to walk in than tennis shoes and require daily use to keep feet conditioned to wear them comfortably for any occasion. They also provide a superior level of protection from puncture, abrasions or blunt force that may occur on uneven and unstable outback surface conditions.

4) Regardless of foot wear choice and activity, an improperly fitted boot like any shoe can cause hotspots and blisters; to include lift toenails ever so slightly which allows fungus to enter under them. Toenail fungus is the cause of yellowish, thickened and cracked nail and painful conditions. To learn more about proper fitting foot ware, foot care and toenail fungus connection and treatment – Read: “Clear up Yellowed, Thickened and Cracked Toenails….” Visit: MirrorAthlete article – Click on short link: https://wp.me/p8mORL-uu

5) If you have ankle supination problems [where the foot strikes the outer back edge of heal first with unstable force], a properly fitted boot with 6”ankle height support will likely keep the foot from buckling inward – and may prevent strain or sprain of the outer ankle joint.

Loaded Back Pack – 25lbs of apples

My go-to walking gear consists of ankle high tactical boots with insole inserts for additional padding and arch support. I also wear lightweight protective long-sleeved and tactical flex-pant clothing, hat and often Don a backpack with 3 liters [~6.6lbs] of water. Additional gear consists of a flashlight, jerky or power bar, rain proof wind breaker, extra pair of socks, water purifier drinking straw, first aid kit and a pair of well-worn boots – should the primary boot compromise a foot during a long walk.

 If boot change out or foot treatment does not occur prior to ‘hotspot-limping’… This can result in a painful domino effect in any combination(s) of weight bearing joints, i.e., knee, hip, back and neck. In general and in many cases – weight bearing joint pain begins at the feet first and works its way up the body as exercise activity continues without foot ware adjustment. If foot discomfort is not addressed timely and pain persists daily this doesn’t motivate people to walk more.

My recommendation for anyone looking to condition the feet and body for long walks; traverse up and down hills as much as you walk the flatlands. It is hilly slops where boot ware can be tested for excessive slippage, uncomfortable pressure points and hotspots caused by improperly fitted footwear. This is the time to make adjustments, not while on a long or remote hike in the mountains. I can’t begin to tell you how many types of insoles, socks, moleskin [protective adhesive hotspot Band-Aid-like patches] and boots I’ve gone through to find the right combinations that allows me to walk on average 8-10 miles per day comfortably anywhere without pain.

Before beginning long distance walking… It is helpful to first plan to condition the feet in footwear of choice over a 4 week period and make adjustments accordingly. I recommend walking daily at a pace and distance you’re comfortable – then increase duration gradually. There is a secondary benefit to hauling up-to10-12lbs of essentials on daily walks most don’t consider. The additional weight takes extra cardio and muscular endurance effort while burning more fat calories.

No matter the adventure… foot maintenance should be the priority.

Once feet are conditioned, try donning a lightweight back pack and add weight gradually on a daily basis if you want the increased fitness benefits, or planning to condition the body for a remote hiking expedition.

To learn more about Tigard City trail locations to plan daily walk loops, or want to know more about the Cities trail master plans visit: http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/Parks/docs/trail_system_master_plan.pdf

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle, City Recreation and free monthly newsletter, visit: http://www.mirrorathlete.com”