Aurora Parks Committee chair corrals her sister and a friend to contribute some hands-on, native-plant park beautification

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF AURORA - Aurora Parks Committee Chair Aissa Bennett, left, and her sister Maya Bennett take a break from planting long enough to get a snap shot while infusing Main Street City Park with 580 native plantings.Sometimes, the best way to improve your immediate and community environment is to get your hands — or at least your gloves — a little dirty.

That is especially true this time of the year, and the rainy spring this area has been enjoying accommodated just that for Aurora Parks Committee Chair Aissa Bennett.COURTESY PHOTO: AISSA BENNETT - Thimble Berry

Aissa teamed up with her sister, Maya Bennett, while collaborating with Pudding River Watershed Council Executive Director Anna Rankin to attain free plants to enrich Aurora's Main Street City Park.

City of Aurora social media sources noted that the trio "(secured) no-cost plants that help create an understory of native species from the Willamette Valley in the forest at the Main Street City Park."

The city's Facebook page itemized 580 plantings: 40 Vine Maple; 15 Serviceberry; 150 Snowberry; 150 Thimbleberry; 200 Salmonberry; 25 Elderberry.

The project fits Aissa Bennett's environs, character and knowledge base.COURTESY PHOTO: AISSA BENNETT - Red elder berry

"I grew up in Aurora and am currently working for a local habitat restoration company," Aissa said. "I requested the specific list of species when I heard from Anna the nursery wanted to donate them locally. We worked together with my sister and a friend of Anna's to plant them in the park."

Aissa said Ash Creek Forest Management of Tigard helped the cause by loaning forestry planting gear, a must given the wet season we've experienced around the region.

"I included some plants specifically because they are edible natives, and I think it'd be a great opportunity for people to connect with the land they're living with," she said.COURTESY PHOTO: AISSA BENNETT - Salmonberry

Their labors drew a warm response on the city's Facebook page, peppered with thoughts like "Great contribution!" "Great work ladies," and "fantastic."

Area resident Becca Rosas Evangelista enthused: "That is so exciting! I can't wait to show my girls next time we're at the park. Thank you for helping create beautiful ecosystems in our community!"

Aurora city page added: "Thanks to all who join us to beautify our parks and other common spaces throughout Aurora!"

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