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Wildlife and flora alike will adapt to cooler temperatures and shorter days as autumn approaches

COURTESY PHOTO: PAM FARRIS - The visitor center at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge features all manner of gifts and other items for the curious wildlife watcher.

September is nearly here and, hopefully, the hot summer days are behind us. Now is the time to walk the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge because the seasonal trail closes Oct. 1 and remains closed until May 1. The year-round trail, however, is always open.

As fall comes, the colors of the trees will change to gold and the refuge will fill with the sounds of geese and swans. As the seasonal rains begin, arriving waterfowl will seek shelter and food in the wetlands that are beginning to flood. Many more shorebirds are migrating south. Look for greater yellowlegs and least and western sandpipers. White-fronted geese may stop overnight for a rest on their way to Summer Lake or the Klamath Basin. Late in the month cackling Canada geese start to arrive and the first American wigeons may arrive.

If your trip to the refuge includes a stop at the visitor center, check this website to see whether it is open: www.fws.gov/refuge/tualatin-river. The website will have the most up-to-date information about the visitor center, which closes when the Covid numbers get too high.

The visitor center and Friends' Nature Store is looking for volunteers. This is an opportunity to greet the public, answer questions about the refuge and sell merchandise in the store. If you enjoy coming to the refuge, and like greeting and meeting people, this may be the perfect volunteer opportunity for you. No specific experience is necessary; training will be provided. You must be a member of the Friends of the Refuge and we ask that you commit to working two three-hour shifts per month. All volunteers receive relevant training and benefits such as 10% off purchases, behind-the-scenes tours and workshops. If you are interested, email HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., stop by the visitor center or email Natalie Balkam, FWS park ranger, at HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call her at 503-625-5944.

The Friends of the Refuge will hold a Second Saturday work party on Sept. 10. If you're looking for ways to contribute to the refuge and you like to work outside, here's your chance. Join us for some bioswale restoration. Families are welcome. Parking is available in front of the visitor center. Volunteer service agreements are required and are available at the refuge office. If you have filled out a VSA in the year 2022, you will not need to complete another one.

Although the Second Saturday work parties will continue, the last planting of the season was held on July 9. The Oregon Chinese Coalition, Sherwood Rotary and students from Portland Community College, among others, participated in installing more than 3,000 plants and trees. Species included Western crabapple, black hawthorn, twinberry honeysuckle, slough sedge, tapertip rush, small-fruited bulrush and American bur reed. It was a beautiful day out on the refuge and some of our younger volunteers got to see a red-winged blackbird nest, juvenile chorus frogs, and a large garter snake sunning itself in the wetland.

Pam Farris is a member of Friends of the Refuge


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