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Fifteen years in the making: PCC opens long-awaited Cascade Campus Learning Garden
Photos and Story by Abe Proctor
Sometimes, it can take a long time for a plan to come to fruition. But when it does, it’s oh so sweet.
After nearly 15 years of planning and development, the Cascade Campus Learning Garden is, at last, open. A crowd of students, faculty, and staff gathered on April 23 to witness the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, and then rolled up their sleeves and got to work pulling weeds and planting the garden’s first crop in the ground.
“I’m diggin’ it!” said Briar Schoon, PCC’s sustainability manager and one of the driving forces behind the garden’s creation.
The opening of the garden represents the fulfillment of a long-held vision on the part of Cascade student leaders.
“This is years in the making,” said Alyson Lighthart, dean of the Math, Science, & PE division at Cascade. “Having the garden here, in a prominent spot on campus, will give it visibility and impact.”
The garden is situated toward the east end of the campus, between Jackson Hall and the Margaret Carter Technology Education Building. It’s PCC’s fifth learning garden, joining those at the college’s Rock Creek, Sylvania, and Southeast campuses, as well as the Newberg Center. When it is fully planted, the Cascade Learning Garden will boast a collection of native plants, edible vegetables, a small grove of espaliered fruit tree, and plants for use as study materials for the campus’ science programs.
“We’re adding another laboratory without walls,” Lighthart said. She added that the Learning Garden will be supported by PCC lab techs, and used by students in the Botany, Biology, Food & Nutrition, Health, and Environmental Science programs. The campus will soon begin a search to hire a permanent supervisor for the garden.
“I’d like it to be someone from North Portland,” she added. “Somebody with ties to this community, who can really appreciate this garden and make the most of it.”