Playing and Learning in Nature: Our Future Depends On It

by Laura Newman, School Ground Greening Coalition “I love putting my feet in the soil…it makes me feel closer to the Earth.” -Dyer Elementary student. For the School Ground Greening Coalition, Nature Play is not just a buzzword. Outdoors, in natural settings, children learn important lessons about risk, resilience, and self-sufficiency, and develop a sense…

A volunteer sets up a monitoring box in a large patch of Phragmites to help measure the spread of this invasive reed.

Pretty flower or a gnarly pest?

Identifying invasive plants on the trails. by Emily Wiederkehr Rothschild and Phyllis Chinlund   THERE’S BEEN A LOT of recent buzz around invasive plants. In December, the State of Maine approved regulations to ban the commercial sale of 33 species of common invasive plants. These regulations beg the questions: What is an invasive species, and why…

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People Powered Commuting in Portland

People powered commuting gets locals from here to there with lots of benefits along the way. by Tom Tero According to city-data.com, over 30,000 people commute into Portland every weekday, a number that has grown significantly in the last two decades. As the pie chart from the same site shows, the vast majority of commuters are…

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Let It Snow

Skip the slopes, hit the trails! by Tom Tero, Newsletter editor. THE SNOW WAS DEEP, powdery and perfect as I skied onto the Presumpscot River Preserve two winters ago. Starting at Oat Nuts Park at Summit Street, I cruised down to the river on trails packed down by snowshoers and hikers. Because the snow was…


A sense of adventure and a sense of place

Portland Trails scavenger hunt inspires people to explore the “city at your feet” by Emily Wiederkehr Rothschild You’ve been hearing a lot about East Bayside from us, thanks to last year’s $75,000 Jane’s Trust grant which funded placemaking work in the neighborhood. July’s City at Your Feet Scavenger Hunt is an example of one of…

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See Portland from the top of a mountain bike.

by Tom Tero If it seems like there are more mountain bikers than ever on the trails, you’re not imagining things. Mountain biking has hit a peak of popularity that shows no signs of slowing down. I spoke with Chris Carleton, owner of Allspeed Cyclery & Snow and enthusiastic supporter of Portland Trails, and he exclaimed,…

From the Ground_Willow Sculpture

From the Grounds Up: Placemaking in Schools

by Laura Newman, School Ground Greening Coordinator & Founder The School Ground Greening Coalition hears this question a lot: What is placemaking? To answer it, let us first ask you: What connects you to your favorite places around Portland? Do you love hunting for veggies at the farmer’s market in Deering Oaks? Picnicking on the…