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This content was published: October 29, 2018. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

What’s Growin’ On – Fall 2018

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PCC SE Learning Garden

Aquaculture project

This fall the Geodesic Dome is getting an upgrade!   The STEM Center is installing aquaculture tanks to grow aquatic plants in an enclosed system.

End of Summer clean up

The learning garden might be looking a little sad and empty, but it is just getting cleared out for winter. The Garden will still be open during fall, but with less staff. See STEM Center for more information.

The STEM Spaces team was awarded funding through the “President’s Fund for Excellence” program to further develop the Southeast Learning Garden as a “living makerspace” that helps to address student food insecurity. Several exciting projects are underway including an indoor aquaculture system and collaborative efforts with the Panther Pantry to support free access to healthy produce grown by the Food Justice club. Contact: Learning Garden Coordinator – Emma Sanders

Rock Creek

Article by the RC student team of: Kira Taylor, Shayla Rao, Angel Gonzalez, and Scott Sauerwein

Community, linguistics, and agriculture; what do all of these have in common? They are all part of the Learning Garden! From beehives to composting to farmstand, the education opportunities in the Learning Garden are plentiful. They operate largely on a volunteer basis. Students are one type of volunteer utilized, as the integration of curricular participation is a vital part of the mission of the garden and of the college. Courses that allow students to collaborate with the garden provide a pragmatic, hands-on educational experience. Customized lessons incorporate garden activities with any subject a creative instructor can draw a correlation with to reinforce learning in a fun and active way for students.

Mike Bené, a creative instructor with the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program, (ESOL) brought one of his reading classes to the Garden to emphasize community engagement. ESOL offers 8 levels of classes, level 1 for students who know little to no English, through level 8, which prepares students for English usage beyond college. These classes help students communicate with others casually and professionally, and contribute to their community.

Bené thought outside the box with his reading class and took the study of English outside, literally. His level 5 students were assigned to read a novel called Seedfolks, by Paul Fleischman, a story that takes place in a rural community. After reading the book, students collaborated with the Learning Garden to reinforce vocabulary and reflect on the themes of the novel. They read about the Gibb Street community in Seedfolks, who planted a “Three Sisters” garden of beans, squash, and corn. They then went out into the Learning Garden and planted their own Three Sisters plot. This dynamic was exciting for students to learn and practice the language and to work on a project that  helped them build relationships and feel like a part of the community at PCC, paralleling the Gibb Street community. One student, Yoonjeong Seo, from Korea, reflected, “Our class gathered from various nationalities and races… We also enjoyed communication with other people who we met while gardening. Gardening is now part of our regular lives.”

Practical application of the concepts they read about in the Seedfolks novel expanded the students’ ability to communicate by giving them common ground between the novel and their own lives. This emphasized their “reading to learn” experience, which is an important aspect of the higher level classes in the program

ESOL students are not the only ones taking advantage of the Learning Garden. A class that focuses on harvesting and using the food from the garden is the Health, Food Systems, and Environment class (HE 264), taught by Alissa Leavitt in the Fall. Students will explore what purpose the garden’s produce can serve once it has been harvested. They will discover how the produce affects our world and how different practices can impact the end product. They will also have the opportunity to visit the garden, prepare food in the campus Food & Nutrition Lab, listen to guest speakers, participate in a honey tasting activity, and help plan campus events. The ESOL students who began this project will meet with the HE 264 students, who will harvest the beans, squash and corn and prepare a meal with them. There will be a harvest celebration and dinner for all of these students, made from their own produce. This celebration will be a great opportunity for the ESOL students to further reinforce their language skills by discussing the project with other students.

The ESOL and HE classes are two of the many communities that benefit from the Learning Garden. To inquire about how you can get involved in a collaboration with the Garden, contact Miriam Latzer at miriam.latzer@pcc.edu.

Rock Creek LG and ESOL

ESOL students having a conversation in English while weeding

Rock Creek ESOL & LG
ESOL students working in greenhouse with corn seedlings

ESOL & LG Rock Creek

Smelling the soil  and enjoying gardening

ESOL & Rock Creek PCC LG

ESOL Group work party



Environmental Center Coordinator – Peter Ritson

Here is the link to sign up for the SY news letter,  Environmental Center’s Newsletter to learn more about what is happening on SY campus and our community  We aren’t using social media currently.

Here is SY Learning Garden newsletter article

New Terraced Garden

We have made tremendous progress to our new terraced garden on the west slope of the SY Learning Garden. The project goals are around food security, habitat enhancement and CO2 reductions. The construction phase is nearly complete and planting with food and habitat friendly plants will begin fall term.

Wall material used waste concrete from the old floor of the South Classroom Building. That meant over a half a metric ton of CO2 was saved from entering the atmosphere by reusing 6,300 lbs of concrete. That is the equivalent of riding a bike 1,261 miles instead of driving in an average passenger vehicle. It has the same impact as sequestering carbon through planting 133,313 tree seedlings and letting them grow for ten years!

If want to read the report submitted to West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District who funded our work, follow the link. The end of the report has details on native plant lists and construction.

If you are interested in helping with this innovative project or the many other projects we have in the Sylvania Learning Garden, contact Peter or text (929) 464-4443

Veggies from SY LG



The Newberg Center Learning Garden has been hard at work finishing the cob natural building structure that will serve as a tool shed and volunteer space once it’s finished. This summer alone over 20 workshops have been held and the walls have risen from around five feet to eight feet tall. It is almost ready for the roof!

Cob shed being built at Newberg Learning Garden

The milkweed that was planted for monarchs is flourishing and the garden is hoping to contribute to the monarch migration habitats along the west coast with the two patches of flowering milkweed.

The garden’s new Mason Bee Hotel is being utilized and the lovely little native bees were observed in Spring busy in the garden with all of the early flowering plants installed especially for them and other early emerging pollinators as part of the Pollinator Habitat installations at PCC campuses.

Community Education classes taught by Learning Garden Coordinator, Moonrose Doherty, have utilized the garden to demonstrate native plant landscaping and organic vegetable gardening techniques and examples.

Corrie Larson, the new Learning Garden Assistant, has been busy continuing the sheet mulching work, which is a natural pesticide-free method of weed suppression where cardboard is laid over the weeds or grass and then wood chips or another mulch is heaped on top of it.

During the new student Welcome Day at Newberg Center on August 1, interested students and parents were given a tour of the garden by NC Director, Lynn M Quinn.  Interest in gardening, sustainability, and pollinators were the themes of the day.


Rolling up the sod and getting ready for a big ol' garden!

We our pleased as pumpkin pie to share that just as the final days of summer were winding down we were able to do a mega sod removal to prep the new space for the Urban Learning Garden at PCC Cascade! A great bunch of volunteers made relatively short work of transforming this landscape and in one day got that sod out of dodge! The volunteers came from the ASPCC student leadership, faculty at Cascade and other campuses, the district sustainability team, the entire team at the Cascade QRC, and several of the Learning Garden Coordinators and staff and faculty from the other gardens as well.

Cascade Urban Learning Garden breaks ground!

The garden design is complete and there will be some gravel paths put down soon and ideally we’ll have a couple of garden beds ready to plant before the autumn equinox turns to the winter solstice! We are so grateful for all the people who came out to help with the sod removal and we really want to thank all the students, staff, faculty and every and anyone who has been a champion of getting a learning garden on this campus for the past ten years now.

A blank canvas. A learning garden awaits!

Stay tuned for more updates soon!

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Sorry, but the comments have been closed. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x (Comment #731) by Miriam Latzer 4 years ago (Comment #731)

Although the attribution is missing Please Note: the article about the Rock Creek Learning Garden in the Fall 2018 Newsletter was written by the following student team: Kira Taylor, Shayla Rao, Angel Gonzalez, and Scott Sauerwein. Thanks!!!

x (Comment #732) by joe.culhane 4 years ago (Comment #732)

Thanks Miriam! It’s been updated to give them the proper shouts out!