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By Don Nelson, President of the Board

With the fall storms finally arriving, water has returned to the fields on the refuge. I’ve been enjoying the return of the pintails and geese from the viewing platform next to the Visitor Center. The eagles are actively stirring them up, providing great views and photo opportunities. How about you – have you been out to the refuge lately?

What if there is another government shutdown? We hope this doesn't happen again! There are rumors that December 8th may be the start of another U.S. Government shutdown. If this does come to pass as it did back in October of 2013, it means that access to our beloved Tualatin River refuge will be closed. Our Friends volunteers cannot access the visitor center to open it, and the refuge gates will be shut. Although a local paper reported back in 2013 that you could “just park along 99W and enter the refuge.” That isn’t true. Certain critical government jobs continue to be operating, and that includes the enforcement officers on the refuge.

It is hard to believe that the opening of the visitor center was 10 years ago this coming January. In honor of the occasion, we are holding a celebration for all store volunteers, past and present. The celebration will be on February 3, 2018. Invitations will be sent to all known store volunteers. We may not have current information for you so please call Sharon Miller, store manager, if you don't receive yours by the end of January. Contact Sharon: 971-279-4012.

Last month, I reviewed briefly the Board leadership changes for President and Secretary position. I’ll take a bit of this month’s column to showcase the secretary position, and in future columns I hope to cover our Friends employees so you get to know them a bit more.

The position of Board Secretary is an important one – they essentially keep a record of the Board’s meetings, issues and decisions for later review. It requires a talented person that can listen carefully and make essential notes that capture the key points. Last month, Sharon Miller stepped down after doing a fantastic job for many years (thank you!). Linda Kilgore already wears many hats and stepped up to add Board Secretary to that list. She is a Board member that has been doing Friends information technology work on our computers, website, and publishing this newsletter. She recently completed the Friends naturalist training and works with the membership and education committees. Linda understands the scope and application of technology to the Friends work. She claims the title of "self-professed geek.”

Linda has an M.S. in Education which included a focus on computer science in education when she completed her degree in the early nineties. In her first career, she taught at the secondary and college level and moved on to various positions outside of education that advanced her technology skills. After moving to Tualatin in 2009 she was looking for a new place to volunteer. Fortunately, she became acquainted with former Board President, Cheryl Hart, and found her place at the refuge. Linda has worked to move the organization forward by introducing new tools and technology to improve processes and access to information. We are happy she found the Friends, and has been instrumental in bringing these things to the our organization over the past several years.

And now for something different. Our Friends utility trailer used for transporting tools to restoration sites is getting a make-over. Many of you probably saw the all-white trailer outside the visitor center during the Bird Festival. It is now getting a wrap with the Friends logo – stay tuned for an unveiling soon.


Thank for giving

A sincere thank you to everyone who donated in November and on Giving Tuesday. The Giving Tuesday final numbers are not in yet, but we estimate we collected about 35-40% of our $10,000 year-end fundraising goal. The campaign continues through December 31st. Keep us in mind for your year-end giving!

And an especially BIG THANK YOU to those early birds who woke up by 5:00 AM on Giving Tuesday to help us earn some matching dollars.


Dick Winn

Our Beloved Dick Winn….we will miss you.

When a community endeavors to do something special, like develop and nurture a national wildlife refuge, the common denominator is always individuals with passion and commitment. One such key figure in Tualatin River NWR’s story is Dick Winn, who sadly passed away on October 25th, 2017. Many of you know Dick, as he was instrumental on the Friends board and as a volunteer from 2005-2013. Some of his notable contributions included: advocating for protecting refuge land with local jurisdictions; volunteering and planning for major events like Tualatin River Bird Festival; heading up our road clean-up projects; conducting outreach in the community; gently transporting plants from the nursery and back for our native plant sale; and being the first to raise his hand when something needed to be done. But Dick was so much more than a helping hand. He provided a vibrant spirit…always ready with a positive word and encouragement—and at least a handful of funny jokes every time he crossed your path. His smile and jovial nature was contagious, underpinned with a wisdom that truly taught others how to be better stewards of our community and the refuge. While Dick moved away to live with his family in Duvall, WA in 2015, he didn’t really leave. Through emails, phone calls, and surprise visits, Dick kept in touch and continued to share his joy for the refuge and for its people. We cherish our memories of him, the times spent together, and mostly the feelings of love and gratitude that he instilled in us. And of course, who could forget the laughter? We will miss you Dick, but know you are looking out for us.

Peace Friend.

photo with Dick WinnDIck Winn, second from left, pictured next to then Governor Ted Kulongoski

For those who would like to share a word with Dick’s family, you can do so through his daughter Terry’s email address Cheryl Hart will stay in touch with the family and we anticipate a local celebration of his life sometime in the spring. We'll share that through the Friends newsletter as we learn more.


Holiday Open House is Tomorrow!

Store Open House

Come shop at our Annual Holiday Open House at Nature's Overlook Store December 2nd. Members save 20% on all purchases. While you are shopping, grab a tag off the Sherwood 4 Kids Sake gift tree to help make a child's wish come true.


We have some wonderful books and creative choices for your holiday shopping (many stocking stuffers, too)! Remember that members get a discount on every purchase and your purchase directly supports our Refuge! Thank you for buying from Nature’s Overlook Store.

Coloring for adults and children is so popular these days – here are some lovely offerings:

These are fun books for the kids in your life:

And, for you poetry lovers:



Surprises on the Refuge

This month not once, but twice, we captured never before seen animals on the Refuge. Two weekends ago on a Sunday afternoon, Larry H. found a strange invertebrate in the ponds. In more than 10 years of exploring and sharing the seasonal ponds, he had never seen this animal. With a little research, it was discovered to be a Rat-tailed maggot. Not a very appealing name, but they metamorphosis into a drone fly, one of our native pollinators.

This week checking trail cameras I opened up the files back at my computer, low and behold there was a skunk. Skunks are not uncommon in this area, but we have yet to capture one on a trail camera, until this month.

rat-tailed maggotRat-tailed Maggot, photo by Larry H.

skunkSkunk photo by Seth Winkelhake


In November, Habitat Restoration Specialist Sarah Williams, had the opportunity to coordinate with Friends of Trees to host a tree and shrub planting with refuge volunteers and members of the community. The weather was great and about 60 people, including many families, planted species such as Oregon Ash, Spirea, and Alder. We planted approximately 600 plants in all which will aid in providing additional habitat and screening from the road for waterfowl. We will augment the planting in January with some Willow cuttings at volunteer work parties. Next work party is Saturday, January 13. Come out and see the new design installed on our work trailer, it's awesome!


The Photo Society will meet on the first Thursday of December (12/7) at 7:00 pm. Our speaker will be Tim Blount. Tim will cover where and how to photograph birds in Oregon, as well as show some of his images. Tim spent quite a bit of time on Malheur with the Friends of Malheur prior to the refuge takeover, and recently published a book on the birds of the Pacific Northwest which is available in the Nature's Overlook Store at Tualatin River NWR.

Please bring up to 5 images in jpg format to share after the presentation (on a thumb drive, or alternatively as prints).

We will also discuss some upcoming photo meetups. A local one will give the opportunity to photograph the skyline of Portland from several locations. There are several others to be discussed as well.

See you there!

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President's Perch 

Holiday Giving

In Memory Of

Nature's Overlook Store


Photo Society


Waterfowl Watch
Dec. 2, 10:00 am

Store Open House
Dec. 2, 10:00 - 4:00

Owl Prowl
Dec 5,  6:30 - 8 pm

Photo Society Meeting
Dec. 7, 7:00 pm







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