May On the Refuge column
"There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature." -- Aristotle
May will soon arrive and it's a great time to visit the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The seasonal trail has reopened. It is prime time for songbirds; many have begun nesting while others are setting up their territories. Take a walk on the trail and look for the brightly-colored lazuli buntings, black-headed grosbeaks and western tanagers in the forest and common yellowthroats in the margins of the wetlands. Shorebirds continue to migrate though and killdeer usually begin nesting on the refuge this month.
Tualatin River Photo Society: 7 p.m. May 2
Speaker to be announced. The group meets to share information, learn from each other and guest speakers, and create opportunities to expand their photography. Everyone is welcome, whether you take pictures with a cell phone or have the latest equipment.
The Nature Ambassadors, presented by the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, is a drop-in youth program for children and families visiting local libraries. Volunteer naturalists present nature-themed programs such as pelts/skulls, bird nests and eggs, and endangered species where children can see specimens up close, participate in hands-on activities and make a craft to take home. Come learn about the wildlife and habitats that you will find on the Refuge. (These outreach events do not take place at the refuge. Please confirm the location before attending).
Newberg Public Library: 4 to 5 p.m. May 2
Join refuge naturalists at the library to learn about bird eggs and nests. Opportunities include hands-on activities, specimens and crafts at this drop-in activity.
Sherwood Public Library: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. May 8
Join refuge naturalists to learn about the upcoming Tualatin River Bird Festival. Opportunities include hands-on, bird-themed activities, specimens and crafts at this drop-in activity.
Drop-in Exploration Day: Animal Tracks – noon to 2 p.m. May 5
Join us for free animal tracking activities and crafts in our environmental education classroom. Come explore animal tracks and make your own to take home. All ages welcome and the activity will be held in the visitor center. No registration required for this drop-in program. Stay as long as you like within the two-hour time frame.
Puddle Stompers: 1 to 3 p.m. May 8 at refuge headquarters
Second Saturday Restoration Work Party: 8:45 a.m. to noon May 11
Tualatin River Bird Festival: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18
The festival is our biggest event of the year. It is sponsored by the Friends of the Refuge, in partnership with the refuge, to celebrate the natural world that surrounds us.
Plan to spend the day and sample some of the many family-friendly activities. For early risers, start the day with walks to listen and look for birds greeting the dawn. The walks will be led by long-time birding experts starting at 5:30 a.m. Festival activities begin at 10 a.m. and will offer kids and adults plenty to do. The kids can build a bird house to take home or paint a duck decoy. They can visit a pond study and see the tiny world that lives in the water or try their hand at the backyard fishing station. The always popular Conestoga style wagon rides will be back to give you a tour of the perimeter of the refuge. If you prefer, you can walk the refuge and visit the interpretive stations along the trail to learn more about the plants, animals and birds that call the Refuge home.
The Nature Store will be open and offers a wide selection of books and field guides about nature as well as gift items for everyone on your list. Conservation exhibitors will be present to answer questions about their organizations and explain ways you can help protect the environment.
Free festival parking will be available at an office building at 12205 S.W. Tualatin Road near the corner of Southwest 124th Street and Highway 99W. Free ADA shuttle buses will provide continuous transportation to the refuge. There will be no onsite parking at the refuge. For complete up-to-date information about the festival, go to www.friendsoftualatinrefuge.org or call 503-625-5944, ext. 227.
Pam Farris is a member of Friends of the Refuge