Earth Day at OHS: You Can Help

What does Earth Day, a day about protecting the environment, have to do with sheltering homeless pets? We’re so glad you asked!

Cleanin Up
Volunteers helping remove invasive plants from the OHS dog-walking path area.

The OHS facilities, located in an industrial area of NE Portland, include a large natural area through which winds our dog-walking path. This patch of nature in the midst of industry is maintained by a crew of volunteers: the OHS Dog Path Crew. The mission of the Dog Path Crew is to eliminate invasive species, restore and care for native plants, and foster a safe, natural environment where our volunteers can walk the dogs in our care.

SOLVE Oregon Earth Day Event

You can help the Dog Path Crew this Earth Day at OHS: we are partnering with SOLVE to observe Earth Day on Saturday, April 23, with an event on the OHS dog-walking path.

Every able-bodied dog at OHS gets to spend time outside at least twice a day for a change of scenery, potty breaks and exercise. Most dogs are walked by staff and volunteers on our dog path, where they can stretch their legs, check the latest “pee-mail” to see who has been out walking before them, and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature for a brief respite from their kennel.

Blackberries, one of the invasive plant species volunteers help us keep in check.

Native vs Invasive Species

The dog path area is also home to a wide range of wild animals, including squirrels, rabbits, rodents, a beaver, nutria, herons, ducks, coyotes, snakes, eagles, crows, and various other critters. Also thriving on the path are various native plants, including Kinnikinnik, ninebark, Pacific wax myrtle, Oregon grape, evergreen huckleberry, Oregon mist…the list goes on. With all these flourishing native species on our property, we do our best to ensure they are cared for and that they are not disturbed too much by the adoptable dogs and their walkers.

Because invasive plants can alter habitats and squeeze out native plants, it’s important that they are removed and controlled as much as possible. We work hard to eliminate these invaders each time we work on the path, and this Earth Day will be no exception.

Part of the property along the dog path has become home to a multitude of invasive butterfly bushes, Himalayan blackberries, and Traveler’s Joy clematis vines taking over. As they grow on the property next door to OHS, these vines spread onto the dog path and begin choking out native trees, bushes, and ground cover. Several community groups have worked hard to clear the fence line on the OHS side, and now it’s time to tackle the tangled mess next door.

Sign Up and Help Out!

Community volunteers can sign up on the SOLVE website to join in this effort. The Dog Path Crew will host a team of up to 30 volunteers as they cut, chop and dig up invasive plants to maintain the dog path as a healthy native area. Earth Day event: Saturday, 4/23, 10 am-1 pm – sign up here »

If you’re unable to attend the Earth Day event but your business, group, or family and friends would like to contribute to the care of the dog path, you can find more information about OHS group volunteering here »

Contributed by Candace Gibson-Bailey, OHS Volunteer

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