February On the Refuge column
"Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground." - Henry David Thoreau
As you browse through the events and activities listed below you'll see reference to the Wapato Lake National Refuge. This new facility in Gaston is part of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge complex and will be managed under one umbrella for management efficiencies and resource sharing.
The refuges are connected by a common natural resource – the Tualatin River. Rich peat soils found in the lakebed support diverse wildlife communities. Refuge staff are working with partners to learn about the natural cycles of the lakebed and plan habitat restoration to mimic those cycles.
These efforts will ultimately contribute to the health of the of the Tualatin River watershed and those who live within it.
The Wapato refuge is not yet open to the public. However, if would like to see what is happening with the restoration there, join us for two plantings on Feb. 8 and 15. Look below for more information and how to register.
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 are welcome and themes will rotate monthly. No registration is required for this drop-in program.
Tualatin River Photo Society: 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 6
Guest speaker will be Rebecca Benoit. an award-winning certified expert in Lightroom software. She has been teaching photography since 2002 for private groups like Newspace Center for Photography, the Sherwood Foundation for the Arts and several other groups. Her work has been shown in galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Planting Events - Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 8 & 15
Join us for the first planting event at Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Break ground at our new refuge and plant several different riparian species at the edge of the lakebed. Plan to meet and park at 11287 S.W. Spring Hill Road in Gaston. More details about parking to follow in an email. Bring appropriate layers and shoes that can get dirty. Gloves, tools, snacks and water will be provided. Register on the monthly event calendar at www.friendsoftualatinrefuge.org
Nature Ambassadors - Frogs, Snakes, Salamanders, Oh My! -- 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 11
This program will be held at Sherwood Public Library, 22560 S.W. Pine St. Learn to distinguish reptile from amphibian, decipher fact from frog tale, and make your own origami hopping frog to take home. Discover why amphibians are such important environmental indicators as well as many of the interesting adaptations they have for aquatic life.
Puddle Stompers – Ducks: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 12 and 10 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 18
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 on the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife website at
Waterfowl Watch 101: 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 15
Chicken Creek restoration: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 22
Join us for a planting on the Tualatin Refuge. Be a part of the Chicken Creek restoration project and help plant riparian species. Meet at the flagpole and all tools will be provided. Hope to see you there. Registration is now required.
Nature Ambassadors - Wild Waterfowl: 2 to 3 p.m. Feb. 27
This program will be held at Newberg Public Library, 503 E. Hancock St. Flock on over to learn about waterfowl. Look at waterfowl specimens such as feathers, eggs and replica skulls. Try on a pair of wings and take flight playing our waterfowl migration game. See what these animals provide for the ecosystem and the challenges they face during migration.
Planting: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 29
Join us for a special planting in partnership with Friends of Trees at the Tualatin Refuge. Be a part of the Chicken Creek restoration project and help plant riparian species. Friends of Trees will be leading this event, please head to the Friends of Trees website to register. Click on the Feb. 29 planting event at Tualatin River NWR and fill out the required form. Note: minors need to fill out a youth waiver. Plan to meet and park at 16030 S.W. Tualatin-Sherwood Road. Shuttles will be
provided to transport people to the refuge. All tools and snacks will be provided.
Mark your calendars for the Friends of the Refuge Native Plant Sale April 17-18 and the Tualatin River Bird Festival on May 16.
Pam Farris is a member of Friends of the Refuge
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