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Mill Park and the Park at Boardman Wetlands to host water-themed kids activities

How much water do we use to brush our teeth? How much water do manufacturers use to make blue jeans? The answer is too much, and children and their families will learn what we can all do to use less water during North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District's Science in the Park events on June 11-12. JOHNSON CREEK WATERSHED COUNCIL STAFF - Children and their parents inspect underwater bug action at a water-themed event in 2021.

"We are partnering with Mad Science Portland to bring the wonders of water science to your family. True entertainers, the scientists at Mad Science Portland are guaranteed to make this an educational day in the park for the whole family," said Tonia Williamson, NCPRD natural resources coordinator.

The Mad Science group is "well trained and completely designed for children's entertainment," said Courtney Beckel, volunteer program manager for the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, another partner for the events.

She noted that the scientists wear white lab coats and have silly nametags and they bring water in all its elements, solid, liquid and gas (dry ice), as they encourage children to participate in educational activities about water usage.

BenefitsCOURTESY PHOTO: JOHNSON CREEK WATERSHED COUNCIL STAFF - A child uses a bug magnifier to look at insects at an event at the Park at Boardman Wetlands in 2021.

"Introducing children to environmental activities has a multitude of benefits, including providing lasting connections with nature and opportunities to explore the world around them," Williamson said.

"Environment education can spark discovery, creativity and problem-solving skills," she said, adding that "it also teaches children about conservation and sustainability, helping to grow the next generation of environmental stewards."

For parents, these activities "get kids off their screens and get them outdoors to local parks. Science in the Park is a great learning opportunity for both kids and their parents," Beckel said.

"It's never too early to be introduced to the wonders of science and nature," Williamson said, adding that Science in the Park is open to all ages and no registration is required.


NCPRD chose Mill Park and the Park at Boardman Wetlands based on their proximity to water and a variety of habitats, providing ample opportunities for environmental education, Williamson said.

Mill Park is right on Johnson Creek and has creekside access, a little secret stairway, picnic benches and a swale, Beckel said.

It is also home to a number of threatened and native fish and wildlife, Williamson noted.

She described the Park at Boardman Wetlands as an urban oasis that provides habitat for a diverse range of plants and wildlife.

"One of the most defining characteristics about the park is the Boardman Creek and floodplain wetlands, which are part of the larger Boardman-Rinearson Watershed Complex," Williamson said.

"An outdoor classroom plaza and hands-on education area with pond access provide opportunities to learn about the ecology of a wetland up close," she added.


"Partnerships are important to the work we do at NCPRD, and we're fortunate to work alongside so many amazing organizations that provide vital services, programs and amenities to the community," Williamson said.

In addition to Mad Science of Portland and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, NCPRD is also partnering with Water Environment Services, North Clackamas Watersheds Council and Oak Lodge Water Services for the Science in the Park events.

Williamson added, "Collaborating with a wide array of community partners, we're able to combine our resources and create new opportunities for conservation, community engagement and environmental education."

Water, water everywhere!

What: Children and their families are invited to attend NCPRD's Science in the Park

When/Where: 1-3 p.m. June 11 at Mill Park, 6201 S.E. Overland St., Milwaukie; and 1-3 p.m. June 12 at the Park at Boardman Wetlands, 17908 S.E. Addie St., Jennings Lodge

Details: Both events are free; parents do not need to register in advance

More: For more information, visit

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