The Next 40 Years Capital Campaign has great momentum and we are getting closer to our goal of $2.5 million to build the new Gilkey International Middle School. Wouldn't you like to see shovels in the ground by next fall to build the first state-of-the-art academic building on our campus, to begin replacing our modulars? It's easy to make a larger gift over three years, with a pledge, but all gifts make a difference. Look in your mailbox this coming week for exciting news about this project, and make your pledge online or with the enclosed pledge form. Help us make this beautiful new building—and the future of our built-out campus—a reality!
Despite threatening storm clouds (and at least one downpour), all of our students in grades preschool to 8 ran laps on the morning of May 11 to help ensure supplemental art programs for next year. The Run for the Arts program, organized by the non-profit Young Audiences, encourages students to collect sponsors from family and friends, and applies the proceeds to arts, music and theatre workshops, performances, classes, and events on the FAIS campus. Many thanks to our volunteer co-chairs Diana Fundak and Anna-Gaelle Marshall, and the scores of volunteers who showed up (in raingear) the day of the Run for making it go so smoothly.
The FAIS forest and all who use it benefited from a huge community outpouring on Earth Day 2017 during April. Our first SOLVE IT for Earth Day event attracted 43 'eco warriors' from ages two months to 75 years who removed invasives and transplanted salvaged native plants. Volunteers, who signed up in advance with SOLVE, were coordinated by Beth Clifton and Tessa Yondorf and represented the Portland community-at-large and members of The Recycled Rain Project and Currie and Brown as well as FAIS community members. About 120 native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants were removed from the future middle school building development site by either transplanting them in the riparian area of the forest or potting them for future use after the middle school is built. A half acre was cleared of invasive blackberry, teasel, herb robert, and reed canary grass. In addition, about 500 gallons of mulch were spread! Thank you to the 6th grade environmental science students helped with pre-event preparation, QFC for donating refreshments, and Seagraves Landscape LCC for help with potting and storing the salvaged plants.
Four 6th grade students recently had an unusual opportunity that only one percent their age group get to have: serving as honorary pages in the Oregon House of Representatives during a live voting session at the State Capitol. As guests of representative Mitch Greenlick, the students were sworn in by the sergeant at arms, taking the oath of office before being granted the exclusive privilege of entrance inside the House. Once inside, the students were positioned near each doorway, ready to begin their job of delivering messages from lobbyists huddled outside to the members within. The session hour began with a call to order from Speaker Tina Kotek, and a firm warning from the gavel to convene. A visiting college choir launched the procedures with a ceremonial performance that awed the crowd, but the calm quickly dissipated as the room filled with chatter and activity of the nearly 60 representatives present. Introductions of each House bill was made with the speed of an auctioneer before the timer was set for thirty seconds of voting. Doors of the chamber opened only briefly at the start of the clock for attendants to bellow, "Vote!" calling members to hurry to a station to cast their decisions. With each new bill announced, the Gilkey pages quietly and quickly moved about the room to find the intended recipient of their message. When the hour was over, "we left the chamber heavy with the weight of the power impressed upon us," student Sarah Z. reflected. At the end of their service, the pages enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Capitol, learning of its rich history (like that it has burned down twice!), gaining access to private chambers of the Governor and sitting in a chair reserved only for her, being under the bright lights of the tiny soundproof newsroom, and meeting State Treasurer Tobias Read to glimpse inside the Treasurer's vault. To finish their day, the students made the climb up a narrow spiral staircase to witness the beauty of the 22-foot, gold-leaf-plated pioneer who stands for all Oregonians high atop our State Capitol.
Further reflections from the students:
"It was truly spectacular--I loved seeing what went on behind the scenes and the processes that we don't normally get to see." -Rhianna
"I'm grateful to Ms. McCandless for giving me the opportunity to witness democracy up close in the State of Oregon" -Parker
This time of year, many different bird species are migrating to the Pacific Northwest via the Pacific Flyway. Two specific migratory bird species that we could see in our forest this spring and summer are the Swainson's Thrush and the Vaux's Swift. These birds face multiple challenges along their route such as habitat loss, pesticide toxicity, bird strikes, and bright lights that disorient them.
Here are a few ways to support migratory birds throughout their journey and once they arrive:
- Lights Out Portland: Most birds migrate at night and are negatively affected by bright lights. Learn how you can reduce your outdoor lighting and support birds on their flight path.
- Bird Strikes are a big problem for both migratory and resident birds. Learn what you can do around your home or workspace to prevent bird strikes.
- Go Pesticide Free!
- Install a nest box early next spring.
- Attend a work party in the FAIS forest and receive volunteer hours! Our current projects include removal of non-native plants, planting of natives, and maintaining previously planted areas. Since increasing the biodiversity in our forest we have seen a much larger variety of birds utilizing this habitat. Help us continue this important work and you will most likely be rewarded with some cool bird sightings while you're here! The next forest work party is Saturday, June 10th from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
With the forest at our doorstep we are reminded everyday that the FAIS campus is shared with many different bird species. As we increase the biodiversity in our forest, the list of resident birds (birds that live here year-round) continues to grow.
Here is a list of recently seen resident birds on the FAIS campus:
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