The Sisters from Indian Ford Meadow Preserve. Photo: Jay Mather.

Cultivating Your Sense of Place

Sep 27, 2017 by Jana Hemphill
This month the Land Trust is hosting a Nature Night presentation on sense of place. How can you cultivate your sense of place in Central Oregon?

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As Land Trust Outreach Director Sarah Mowry mentioned in a recent blog post, “It is the intimate and personal connections that drive sense of place.” Do you feel that you have a sense of place in Central Oregon? Whether the answer is yes or no, how can we develop or expand our sense of place?

Understand Natural and Cultural History
The first way to cultivate your sense of place in Central Oregon is to understand the natural and cultural history of a place. Luckily for us, there’s a wealth of resources for Central Oregon’s natural and cultural history. These resources include visiting the Deschutes Historical Museum, reading Martin Winch’s Biography of a Place, and learning more about the Santiam Wagon Road and Camp Polk Meadow Preserve’s history. The Land Trust also offers history walks, with a couple of good ones coming up in October!

Connect to Neighbors
You’ll also want to connect to neighbors, the earth, and the local community. Do you know your neighbors? If not, go introduce yourself! I know it can be daunting for those of us who are shy, but it can be quick. If you already know some of your neighbors, think about planning a block party to get together and celebrate your neighborhood.

Connect to the Earth
Connecting to the earth is something that Central Oregonians are pretty good at doing! Join the Land Trust on one of our Hikes + Walks this season—our fall colors hikes are a great way to tap into the rhythms of nature in Central Oregon. There are a myriad of ways to connect to the earth here—explore our National Forests, National Monuments, Land Trust Preserves, State Parks, mountain biking trails, and the Deschutes River. Observe the changing of the seasons and what this means in our area—what are the first plants to show their fall colors? What flowers hold on the longest? What does the forest smell like in the cool fall versus the warm summer?

Connect to the Local Community
The Central Oregon community is an incredible group of people. Connect with them by attending local events and supporting local businesses. Ask others what they consider “quintessential Bend” activities. Ideas include going to a performance at the Tower Theatre, tubing the Deschutes River (maybe put this on your list for next summer!), attending the Sisters Folk Festival, buying your veggies at the Bend Farmer’s Market, getting a milkshake at Prineville's Tastee Treet, snowshoeing to the Virginia Meissner Shelter, and visiting Bend’s many breweries. A great way to learn about local businesses is the Instagram account @localizebend.

Make Central Oregon a Better Place
Having a true sense of place means being committed to making that place better. Share in the responsibility of creating a better Central Oregon. You can volunteer with the Land Trust, or other organizations in the area. You can also get involved politically—voting, contacting your representatives, or running for office. Or start even smaller, and bring joy and kindness to Central Oregon through the Bend Joy Project.

Learn more about Sense of Place
Join the Land Trust for our September Nature Night with author John Elder: Coming Home to Central Oregon. John is sure to give you more ideas on how you can cultivate your own sense of place in Central Oregon.


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