Sauvie Island Center
Located at Sauvie Island Organics farm and the adjacent historic Howell-Bybee house at a site preserved by Metro, Sauvie Island Center provides elementary school field trip groups with important environmental literacy experiences: learning about the different parts of plants, about what makes healthy soil, where food comes from, animals and the food chain.
Visit the Sauvie Island Center online.
In a wide variety of fun, on-the-ground experiences led by a group of volunteer teachers, elementary and middle school-aged children are led through hands-on exercises that give them awareness of the natural world and a greater sense of their place in the whole.
They look for animal tracks in the woods near the house; they listen for frogs and learn about the different animals that live on the island and the parts they play in the local ecosystem; explore the giant compost pile to learn about the importance of decomposition and look for the creepy crawly inhabitants that help make it happen; they get to try their hand at growing food. For many of these urban youngsters, it is their first experience of this kind.
At a mere 20 miles from the center of town and even closer to the north Portland neighborhoods’ school children that make the trip via the St. Johns Bridge, Sauvie Island nevertheless feels strangely remote. Absent are the familiar traffic sounds of the city, the crowding of buildings; instead there are vast fields and farmland, dotted with cows and horses; hawks, herons and ducks fly overhead. There is a steady sound of birds and the startling sound of conversation and laughter as voices carry unexpectedly over large open spaces.
A vital part program at Sauvie Island Center is based around growing and eating fresh food, making that important connection for children of where food comes from and how good freshly-picked food can taste. SIC has a designated row for their use in the acre that is farmed by the Food Works program; some of the Food Works’ teenaged crewmembers take time out of their farming chores to mentor these young eaters in how best to plant and take care of their crops. The “Grow Lunch” program gives them the opportunity to participate in every stage of food growing, including harvesting and preparing a fresh vegetable feast with the bounty they have grown.
For all those who visit Sauvie Island Center, there is the excitement of discovery, the pride of accomplishment and delicious food too!
For information on how we can help, please send an email to Peggy Acott