Memorial Day closure

Most City of Portland offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

Nature Patches

The Alberta Park Nature Patch
Portland Parks & Recreation's Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Initiative adds nature patches to park landscapes that provide natural experiences for people and habitat for wildlife. Nature patches are natural gardens that support native pollinators and offer opportunities for exploration.
On this page

Nature Patches around Portland

The Hazeltine Park Nature Patch
Native wildflowers surrounding the lawn at the Hazeltine Nature Patch provide food for pollinating insects all summer long.
A view of the nature patch recently planted at the Eagle Point Scenic Overlook.
A view of the nature patch recently planted at the Eagle Point Scenic Overlook off of Terwilliger Boulevard.

Volunteer at a Nature Patch

Meet one of your city's expert horticulture staff for a fun-filled gardening event at a nature patch near you.

Sign up for an upcoming stewardship event

A photo of Wilshire Park Nature Patch planting day volunteers.

About Nature Patches

What's in a nature patch?

Nature patches bring nature to neighborhood parks. Nature patches are spaces within existing parks that are enhanced with beautiful natural elements for people and wildlife. A variety of natural materials like native Pacific Northwest plants, logs, boulders, paths, and learning elements are added to underused areas to encourage people to play and explore. Nesting boxes, flowering plants, and other additions improve the habitat for birds, pollinating insects, and wildlife. Community members are welcome to help with planting and stewardship activities.

Beach Daisy at Gabriel Park
Drought-tolerant Beach Daisy blooming at the Gabriel Nature Patch.

What is the Ecological Sustainable Landscapes Initiative?

Nature patches are part of the larger Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Initiative. The nature patch program focuses on improving the natural and ecological functions of park spaces while expanding local access to nature for all Portlanders. The goals of the program include: 

  • Provide spaces for people to explore and interact with nature
  • Create ecologically robust landscapes that support native pollinators within developed parks
  • Provide environmental education and stewardship opportunities
  • Increase soil and plant health, and expand the diversity of landscapes within parks
  • Foster community partnerships and PP&R collaboration
  • Decrease maintenance inputs over time
An example of a colorful Nature Patch Xeriscape
The high desert xeric test garden at the Overlook Nature Patch.

The City of Portland and Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) have developed a national reputation for sustainable planning, design, and operations. As examples, PP&R was the first certified “Salmon Safe” park system in North America. PP&R strives to practice the most effective ways to incorporate ecological processes into park plans, designs, and maintenance procedures to maximize the ecological function of the landscapes it has the responsibility to manage. Click below to read the Initiative document.

How are nature patch locations selected?

The locations chosen to become nature patches are underused areas of developed parks that are not programmed, are challenging to maintain, or are better suited to natural uses. Portland Parks & Recreation will be improving additional parks with nature patches across the city, with a focus on neighborhoods with less access to greenspaces. The size of nature patches varies with each park, depending on the current uses and open space available. In general, the larger the area, the better it can function to support wildlife. In practice, nature patches range from about an acre to smaller pockets of nature tucked into the existing park landscapes.


Eric Rosewall

Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Program Coordinator

Past Events