August 'On the Refuge' column
August is already here. It seems that we just celebrated the Fourth of July and now we're looking ahead to fall. School starts soon, but this is the month when the kids are seriously bored with the video games, the television, texting and are looking for something new to do. It's a perfect time for a walk on the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge or checking out one of the programs offered this month.
The 2019 Federal Duck Stamps are now for sale in Nature's Overlook. Duck stamps are required for hunting waterfowl and are a collector's item for many people. Stamps sell for $25 and approximately 98 cents of every duck stamp dollar goes directly into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to purchase wetlands and wildlife habitat within the National Wildlife Refuge System. This year's stamp features a painting of a wood duck and decoy by artist Scott Storm, winner of the 2018 Federal Duck Stamp art contest.
The refuge has started a two-year project to restore Chicken Creek to its historic winding path, which will create additional habitat for a greater variety of fish and wildlife. The construction portion of the project began in July and is estimated to conclude in summer 2020. Expect to see heavy equipment visible in the wetlands digging the Chicken Creek channel when you come to refuge. New native vegetation will be planted throughout the project area and a section of the current wetland seasonal trail will be-rerouted and will increase the overall trail length by one-half mile, giving visitors three-and-a-half miles of walking trails.
Things to do on the refuge in August:
Drop In Exploration Days
12:30 - 2 p.m. Aug. 11. – Bald eagles
12:30 - 2 p.m. Aug. 18 – Worm composting
12:30 - 2 p.m. Aug. 25. – Creatures of the dark
Join us for free activities and crafts in our environmental education classroom. Come explore animal tracks and make your own to take home. All ages are welcome and activities are held in the visitor center. No registration is required for this drop-in program and stay as long as you like within the two-hour time frame.
1-2:30 p.m. Aug. 14 – Dragonflies
10-11 a.m. Aug. 20 – Dragonflies
8:30-10 a.m. Aug. 17
8:30-10 a.m. Aug. 31
Join a naturalist on a morning wildlife walk and discover the creatures that call the refuge home. Bring a pair of binoculars, bird book or field guide on this family-friendly walk and explore the habitats of the refuge. Registration is required for this free event. Meet at the flag pole at 8:20 a.m..
Noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 17 -- Salmon of the Tualatin Basin
Noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 24 -- Backyard birds
Noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 31 -- Frogs, snakes, salamanders, oh my!
Drop in at our trailhead table to see what you can discover on the refuge during your hike. Each trailhead table talk has a different theme, so stop by and see what you can explore!
8:30 p.m. Aug. 7
Join a bat biologist and search for bats on the refuge. Discover the importance of these flying mammals and how people can support the habitats where they live.
Tualatin River Photo Society
7 p.m. Sept. 5 visitor center
Professional photographer Adam Bacher will present his work on ravens. More information will be included in the September column.
Pam Farris is a member of Friends of the Refuge
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