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By Don Nelson, President of the Board

A new year brings new opportunities for you to volunteer at the refuge. If you aren’t currently volunteering or would like to explore additional volunteer opportunities, there are plenty of places that the Friends can use your talents – from the Friends Store to volunteer naturalist (look for another volunteer naturalist training class this spring), the Friends can use your talents.

And whether you volunteer or not, please consider making a generous donation to the Friends of TRNWR in 2018. Click the Donate button in the right-hand column of this newsletter or visit our website where the donate button is visible at the top of every page.

Your donation helps support the many programs we offer to our surrounding communities throughout the year, such as, the annual Bird Festival, interpretive nature activities for school groups, restoration work parties, alternative outdoor school, a photography group, kids summer camp, and much more.

While I had planned to start covering some of our Friends employees, I will wait until February. You didn’t know the Friends had employees? We’ll be filling you in about what Bonnie, Seth, Rachael, and Sarah accomplish for the Friends in conjunction with the Service employees. Next month we’ll start.

On the first Thursday of January, at 7:00 PM in the Riparian room, we will have a guest speaker that will talk about the “Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missouri Floods.” He will show slides of Oregon geology and discuss how the floods formed the Columbia Gorge and the Willamette Valley. This group is open to anyone with a camera and an interest in nature photography. This is an excellent chance for you to understand why the Willamette Valley is so flat, why a 135 ton granite boulder (glacial erratic) near Sheridan came all the way from Montana, and why the Columbia River Gorge looks like it does today.

I know I have spent a lot of time in the Gorge, as well in the Palouse and scablands of Eastern Washington, photographing what’s left of the floods. Skyscraper height ripples, waterfall (dry) larger than the Niagara Falls, and Coulees in Washington as well as the flood effects in the Gorge as high as 800 feet above the River. Join us to hear what Dr. Scott thinks about the Bretz floods and see what he’s photographed. By the way – the flood through the Willamette had a great effect on what our refuge looks like today.


New Welcome Sign
Check out the new Welcome sign at the Refuge! The languages were chosen based on the census data in Washington County. The goal of the sign is to make the Refuge more inclusive and inviting. Check it out next time you come to the Refuge.

Waterfowl Watch 
January 6th and February 3rd
10 AM - Noon

Join us for the "how to's" of waterfowl watching. Build your skills with bird watching tools and tips, practice identifying waterfowl and then venture out on the Refuge to see them in the wild! Please bring binoculars and a bird guide if you have them. Loaners will be available. This event is open to all skill levels.



Thanks to all of you who purchased books from Nature’s Overlook this holiday season! Your purchases help foster a love of nature AND support our Refuge! Here are three more books for your consideration…

“The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” is a true story -- during a prolonged illness a woman finds an unexpected companion and learns about the beautiful and mysterious lives of snails. I enjoyed this very much from both the natural history standpoint and the human aspect – and about depth of observation and what it can reveal. This book won the “National Outdoor Book Award.”

book cover, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

For the eager young naturalist in your life: “One Small Square: Woods.” Great for teaching observation skills, watching for seasonal changes, relationships between plants/animals/environment, “detective work”, etc. This is a fantastic series of books – we also have the version about caves, and hope to get a few more in this line. Gorgeous illustrations, and a very scientific approach. I bought this for one of the children in our family.

book cover, One Small Square Woods

And, why not get artsy and improve your birding skills at the same time, with…

book cover, Sibley Birds coloring field journal


Interpretation and Environmental Education

Volunteer Naturalist Training
Volunteer Naturalists help connect hundreds of visitors with the Refuge each year through school field trips and education programs. During training, volunteers will learn about Refuge history, local wildlife, environmental education methods, group management, and more! 

Dates: Thursdays - February 22, March 1, 8, and 15
(plus one shadow training day during Spring Break, March 26th-30th)

Time: 9:00am – 3:00pm daily

For more information and an application, contact:
or call 503-625-5944

Download the flyer: 2018 VolunteerNaturalistFlyer

Volunteer with the environmental education program and make a difference in your community for generations to come.

Wildlife Corridors
The Refuge conserves habitat for migrating birds but also wildlife corridors along the Tualatin River for animals moving through our urban environment. Wildlife corridors are especially important as urban growth continues with 2,000+ new housing units under construction near the Refuge.

Below is a link to a time-lapse of animals from one part of the Refuge over a two week period. The pictures were taken on a unit of the Refuge that is not open for visitation, only habitat restoration activities. All of the animals pictured have also been seen on the main unit of the Refuge from public trails.

There are little things you can do to help urban wildlife, like planting native plants and flowers in your yard for pollinators, helping restoration work on the Refuge during a Second Saturday work party, or volunteering in the education program.

Seth Winkelhake

Timelapse video: 


We will follow-up previous work planting willow cuttings at our next work party on January 13. Also, come out to see the unveiling of the new design installed on our work trailer. Here is a sneak preview!


Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missouri Floods -- January 4th

Join us at 7:00 PM in the Riparian Room (enter the Visitor Center through the side door which is next to the viewing platform).

Scott Burns, Professor Emeritus of Geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at Portland State University, will be guest speaker. Join us for his lively presentation “Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missouri Floods.” He will show slides of Oregon geology and discuss how the floods formed the Columbia Gorge and the Willamette Valley. This group is open to anyone with a camera and an interest in nature photography

We will also be discussing upcoming meet-ups, as well as our plans for the spring. A heads up – stay tuned for more information on an upcoming photo contest.

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President's Perch 

Refuge Update

Nature's Overlook Store

Program Updates

Photo Society


Photo Society Meeting
Jan. 4, 7:00 pm

Waterfowl Watch
Jan. 6, 10am-noon

Owl  Prowl
Jan .9,  6:00-7:30 pm

Jan .10,  1:00-2:30 pm

2nd Saturday Work Party
Jan. 13, 8:45am - noon

Jan. 16,  10-11:30 am

Owl  Prowl
Jan .23,  6:00-7:30 pm

Friends Board Meeting
Jan. 23, 6:30 pm






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