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Fall is great time to visit Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

New refuge columnist discusses photo society presentation and what to look for on walks


Ah... September. The summer heat is dwindling, the days are shorter, and evenings are cooler. It's a good month to get acquainted with the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood.

Photo Society special presentation

The Tualatin River Photo Society will welcome the fall season with a special presentation on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Denise Ippolito, a full-time professional photographer, workshop leader and artist living in New Jersey, will present a program entitled "Bloomin' Ideas."

She will present an overview, including slides, of the in-the-field and post-processing techniques that she uses to blend art and nature to create unique works of flowers. Her images have been published in magazines and books, sold as greeting cards and calendars, and were most recently featured in a Sierra Club documentary.

The program will be held in the Wildlife Center's Riparian Room at the refuge, 19255 S.W. Pacific Highway, Sherwood. It is free and open to the public, so please join us for an interesting and informative evening.

Volunteer opportunity

The refuge will incorporate its Second Saturday Work Party into a National Public Lands Day event and can use your help. The National Public Lands Day is an opportunity for volunteers across the country to get together and perform restoration work on public lands. The refuge's work party will be held Saturday, Sept. 13, at 8:45 a.m. to noon at the refuge.

Volunteers will remove invasive species, including cocklebur, blackberry, Scotch broom and reed canary grass. The event will include a one-hour presentation related to invasive species and the refuge.

Sights for walkers in September

Visitors who walk the trails will have an opportunity to observe shorebirds that are migrating south: greater yellowlegs, and least and Western sandpipers. White-fronted geese may stop in overnight at the refuge for a rest on their way to Summer Lake or the Klamath Basin. Cackling geese will start to show up late in the month, and the first American wigeons may arrive, although most of the migrant songbirds have left for the winter.

Those visitors who arrive in the early morning may see other wildlife that call the refuge home. Visitors have seen black-tailed deer, beaver, mink, coyote, fox squirrel, raccoon, river otter and short-tailed weasel at the refuge in addition to birds. You also might catch a glimpse of an alligator lizard, Western terrestrial garter snake, painted turtle, chorus frog, or rough-skinned newt.

If you want to know more about the creatures and plants you see on the refuge, stop in at the Friends' Nature Store. Volunteers who staff the store will be happy to answer your questions about the refuge and the wildlife you see.

The store sells a wide selection of field guides, nature books and gift items related to the refuge and the surrounding area. It also has an area with comfortable chairs, large windows and a spotting scope for people who prefer to observe nature from inside the building.