Nob Hill Nature Park and Scappoose Bay Watershed Council: A Natural Partnership

The Friends of Nob Hill Nature Park (NHNP) and Scappoose Bay Watershed
Council (SBWC) have worked together for more than a decade on natural area
conservation. SBWC provides native plants for work parties and plantings at
the 6.6-acre park in St. Helens, in addition to its other projects in
Columbia County and northern Multnomah County. Plants provided by SBWC’s
native plant nursery help fill in areas where volunteers have removed
non-native plants and weeds. Now the Friends of NHNP are returning the favor
by helping to re-supply SBWC’s native plant nursery with cuttings from the

According to its web site, The SBWC’s mission is to promote and support a
healthy watershed through projects that protect and restore native fish,
wildlife, and plants, and to work with the community to educate  and
encourage participation in enhancing and enjoying their natural
surroundings. The SBWC is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-regulatory
organization with a diverse group of volunteers. The Council serves as a
source of information about the watershed for residents, visitors, local
groups and partners. Friends of NHNP is a small, all-volunteer group
dedicated to stewardship at the park in St Helens.

The NHNP ethic is, “Take only your memories and leave only your footsteps.”
(That applies to everything except trash, which we remove, of course.)  This
winter, with our blessing, SBWC will come to the park to take plant cuttings
for use to start new plants; some of them may even return to the park later.
The cuttings are dipped in rooting hormone then planted and nurtured by SBWC
volunteers. This illustrates one way that nature parks can serve as a
repository or source for seeds and plant material that ultimately will be
used in other restoration areas.

The SBWC native plant nursery obtains seedlings and plant starts from a
variety of sources. Project Manager Amber Kester said they have taken plant
cutting from some of SBWC’s restoration sites for about the last three
years, and she’d like to see some new sources. While the one goal is to keep
a degree of genetic diversity, another goal is to keep the plant sourcing
local. Obtaining plant material from NHNP meets both those goals by
collecting from a new source, yet one that is in the same county and zip

Friends of NHNP are grateful to the Watershed Council for the plants It has
provided over the years. In spring of 2018, Friends of NHNP plan to continue
removing invasive lunaria and blackberry from along the lower edge of the
oak woodland. It will also provide a good opportunity to fill in the
newly-cleared area with native plants including mahonia, snowberry, sword
fern, fringecup, ocean spray and choke cherry, all of which are already
commonly found there. The goal is to stabilize the slope and to fill the
area before blackberry and lunaria return in large numbers. Spring is also a
good time to observe an abundance of native wildflowers, including fawn
lilies, checker lilies, prairie star, western buttercup and camas.

Volunteers make the difference for both groups. SBWC always welcomes new
volunteers on Thursday mornings of most weeks. It is recommended to sign up
for the volunteer email list with Amber Kester before attending. Friends of
NHNP hold volunteer work parties twice yearly, on the first Saturday in
April and again in November. Volunteering is a good way to see the park,
meet new friends, and have fun. SBWC is always looking for individual
volunteers or groups to get involved, including helping with planting and
clean-up days, working in the native plant nursery and helping with special
projects. For more information about volunteering for SBWC or NHNP, contact
Pat or Amber at 503-397-7904.

One of the biggest joys of nurturing native plants is the ability to come
back, years later, to see the plants growing well, and to know that
volunteers have made a difference in the natural environment by supporting
its ecological integrity. For more information, go to the SBWC website at or follow the Friends of NHNP on Facebook


By Caroline Skinner, Friends of Nob Hill Nature Park


Nob Hill

New staircase in park taken at the latest work party on Nov 4, 2017