November On the Refuge column
"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." - Rachel Carson
Have you ever had those days when you need to get outside and away from everything, but your local park isn't the right place? Take a walk on the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, breathe deeply and soak up the sounds of nature.
The seasonal trail is closed until next May, but the trail through the oak savanna to the river and into the forest is always open and waiting for you.
The geese are back and the waterfowl migration is happening. Look for mallards, northern pintails, American wigeons and green-winged tea. You may see a few hundred to a several thousand cackling Canada geese and watch for the diving ducks -- buffleheads, ruddy ducks and ring-necked ducks will join the crew.
If you're interested in learning how to sort out and identify these waterfowl, watch for information about the waterfowl identification class on Dec. 7.
Plant Your Roots – Plant Wapato on the Refuge's Permanent Wetlands: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2 and Nov. 9
Join us for a planting event in the permanent wetlands in front of the refuge visitor center. Funded by the Friends of the Refuge, 2,400 Wapato plants will be planted along the edges of the wetland ponds. This culturally significant plant helps to filter water and provides food for some waterfowl. Only 60 spots are available. Help us to improve the wetland and ecosystem around the refuge ponds and "Plant Your Roots" at the refuge.
Drop-in Exploration Day – Pollinators: 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 3
Join us for free activities and crafts in our environmental education classroom in the visitor center. Explore the animals and plants that call our refuge home. All ages welcome and themes will rotate on a monthly basis. No registration is required for this drop in program and stay as long as you like within the two-hour time frame.
Nature Ambassadors - Creatures of the Night Nature Table: 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 7
Swoop in to learn all about the creatures that take over once the sun goes down. Interact with nighttime specimens such as pelts, skulls and skeletons. Participate in trivia about the nocturnal species found on our refuge, dissect an owl pellet and identify the bones you find, or make an owl mask to take home with you. The program will be held at the Newberg Public Library, 503 E. Hancock St.
The guest speaker will be Patricia Davidson, a professional nature and landscape photographer based in Oregon. She spent more than 20 years on the southern Oregon coast developing her landscape photography skills on the beaches and in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. In 2015, she set off in an RV on an epic four-year journey to photograph the American west. She will entertain us with photos from her four years as a nomadic photographer visiting national and state parks.
Puddle Stompers – Migration: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 13; 10 to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 19
This pre-school environmental education program invites children and their families to spend the morning learning about the natural wonders of the refuge. Volunteer naturalists lead nature crafts, share stories and guide hikes on refuge trails.
The refuge supplies "froggy" raingear for the kids, but adults should bring their own.
Each month has a new theme. Registration is required via the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife website at https://fotr.wildapricot.org/event-32458985.
Nature Ambassadors – Wild Waterfowl: 1 to 2 p.m. Nov. 13
Flock on over to our Wild Waterfowl program. Interact with waterfowl specimens such as real feathers found on the refuge, as well as replica skulls and eggs. Try on a pair of life-size geese wings and take flight while playing our Simon (the goose) Says game that mimics the body language of geese.
This program includes waterfowl spinner trivia and a migration game which highlights the ecosystem services provided by waterfowl as well as the challenges they face during their migration.
The program will be held at Sherwood Public Library, 22560 S.W. Pine St.
Pam Farris is a member of Friends of the Refuge
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