Wednesday photo of the week: she’s lichen it, revisited

Lichen it at Hyland Forest Park

See “she’s lichen it” from October 2013.

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Getting to know Pacific Northwest nature: a tour with Portland’s Volcano Lands

I’ve been a reader of biologist Ivan Phillipsen’s blog Wild Pacific Northwest ever since I first came across it. He exudes a love and passion for the nature that surrounds us, and the site contains a wealth of information on specific nature topics (most notably profiles of representative species) as well as stellar nature photography.

Earlier this year I learned that Ivan and a biologist friend had started their own ecotourism company: Volcano Lands (Facebook/Twitter).

Volcano Lands

Volcano Lands owners and tour guides, Laura McMullen and Ivan Phillipsen

In their twelve-passenger van, they take tourists and Portlanders alike to many of the natural destinations that make this region of the world so special: the Columbia River Gorge, Tillamook Bay, the Northern Oregon Coast (Cannon Beach/Ecola State Park), Mount St. Helens, Silver Falls State Park, on a birding adventure in Portland, a wildflower excursion in the Columbia Gorge, Saddle Mountain, and Sauvie Island.


Patrick began to hunt for treasure as soon as we got near the ocean’s edge, Cannon Beach

Recently, the four us were fortunate to go along on a tour of Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park. We were joined by a local photographer, and a family from out-of-town (a mom and two daughters that needed something to do for the day while dad was having a job interview).


Catherine and Afton at Cannon Beach


Patrick with Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach

We have been to Cannon Beach many times before, but this time was different. We had our very own naturalist to share his knowledge of the natural history that could be seen there.


Ivan teaches about the birds that live on Haystack Rock

Looking at some of the birds that inhabit Haystack Rock through a scope was very cool, as well as learning about the geological forces behind the rocky and weathered landscape.


Death on the beach: a common murre and a double-crested cormorant

My son and the two girls had fun exploring the nooks and crannies of Sitka spruces on our hike down a trail to Indian Beach, and there too spent a good time getting dirty and playing in the water of a creek leading into the ocean, Afton included!


Ivan looks on at Patrick and this cool caterpillar he found on the trail to Indian Beach, Ecola State Park


Afton joining me along the trail to Indian Beach, Ecola State Park


Catherine and Afton watch the waves come in and out at Indian Beach, Ecola State Park


Pelicans above the waves at Indian Beach, Ecola State Park


A dead crab that Patrick found at Indian Beach, Ecola State Park


Afton gets dirty at Indian Beach, Ecola State Park

We enjoyed the sun, some cool ocean breezes, the views, and the lunch that Ivan provided. Even better, no driving allowed for a more relaxed time and ability to look at the windows during the drive rather than focusing on the road.


View of Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park



The four of us on the trail heading down to Indian Beach, Ecola State Park

For those visiting the Portland area or even those who already live here, I highly recommend booking a nature tour with Volcano Lands! Visit their website for trip details (such as what to expect for hikes and certain age requirements) and to view their calendar of upcoming trips.

Posted in "cannon beach", coast, ecola state park, oceans, travel, Uncategorized, volcano lands | 2 Comments

Upcoming nature events in Portland

Hike series with Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hike series with Oregon Wild (also, three OW/Outdoor Project hikes)

Fall nature classes at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve

September 1-30 | Swift Watch | Audubon Society of Portland

September 19 | Kids Nature Night Out: Coyote Connections | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

September 2o | Audubon Story Time: Swifty’s Big Flight | Audubon Society of Portland

September 20 | Sturgeon Festival | City of Vancouver

September 20 | Nature Crafts & Games Circle at Reed College’s Community Day | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

September 21 | Sunday Trailways: Westside Regional Trail | THPRD

September 21 | Elowah & Upper McCord Falls Kids Hike | Friends of the Columbia Gorge

September 24-30 | Take a Child Outside Week | National

September 26 | Kids Nature Night Out: Night Tracks | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

September 27 | Animal tracking for beginners (Oxbow Regional Park) | Metro

September 27 | Classroom Discovery Days: Birds of a Feather | Tryon Creek State Park

September 27 | 4th Annual Nadaka Community Festival | Friends of Nadaka

September 27 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

September 28 | Sunday Parkways: Southwest Portland | PP&R/Metro

October 3 | Dirksen Nature Park Spooky Stream Side Community Celebration | Tualatin Riverkeepers

October 4 | Fall Colors Paddle | Tualatin Riverkeepers

October 4-5 | BirdFest 2014 | Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

October 5 | Nature Days in the Park: Willow Creek Greenway | THPRD

October 11 | Third Annual Birds & Brew Festival | Fernhill Wetlands

October 17 | Kids Nature Night Out: Grossology | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

October 18 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

October 19 | Wahclella Falls Kids Hike | Friends of the Columbia Gorge

October 24 | Kids Nature Night Out: Witch’s Potion | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

October 25 | Nature Days in the Park: Stoller Creek Greenway | THPRD

October 25 | Grand opening of Nature Play Area at Westmoreland Park & Salmon Celebration | Portland Parks & Recreation

October 25 | Native Forest Hike With Marcy Houle | Forest Park Conservancy

October 25 | Fall Family Field Trip Day | Columbia Springs

October 25 | Halloween Night Flight | Audubon Society of Portland

October 24 | Owl Prowl | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

November 8 | Newt Day | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

November 14 | Park After Dark: Owl Prowl | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

November 16 | Nature Days in the Park: Foothills Park | THPRD

November 21 | Kids Nature Night Out: Geology Rocks | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

November 21 | Park After Dark: Owl Prowl | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

December 12 | Kids Nature Night Out: Frozen | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

December 13 | Park After Dark: Owl Prowl | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

Regular nature outings (check websites for seasonal scheduling): Nature Days in the Park and Nature Mobile from Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s Natural Resources, Honeybee Hikes at Leach Botanical Garden, Story and Strolls and Guided Nature Walks at Tryon Creek State Park, Ladybug Nature Walks with Portland Parks & Recreation, Puddle Stompers at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Bird Walks for adults and kids through Backyard Bird Shop, free field trips with Audubon Society of Portland volunteers, Library events with The Bug Chicks, Tadpole Tales with Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Farm Fridays at Zenger Farm, and Second Saturdays at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, WA.

– $2 admission at OMSI the first Sunday of every month
– $3 admission at the World Forestry Center the first Wednesday of every month
– $4 admission at the Oregon Zoo the second Tuesday of every month
– FREE admission at the Portland Art Museum the fourth Friday of every month, 5-8pm
– FREE admission at the Portland Children’s Museum the first Friday of every month, 4-8pm
– FREE admission at the Oregon Historical Society & Museum every day for Multnomah County residents

*My friend Laura posts a monthly listing of kid and family-friendly events of natural, scientific, and cultural interest. September’s list is here.

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Monday thought of the week: a deep and irresistible urge

A thought:

When we see a child playing with a flower, or in the dirt, or skipping or playing tag, we should remind ourselves that what we are looking at is the child-like result of a deep and irresistible urge to interact with and have knowledge of the world and everything in it.

- Bob Hughes, Evolutionary Playwork (New York: Routledge, 2013)

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Wednesday photo of the week: tree time

Tree time

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BOOK: Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World


Ben Hewitt, Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World (Boston: Roost Books, 2014), 176 pp.

Publisher’s description: In this most personal of his books to date, Ben Hewitt shows us how small, mindful decisions about day-to-day life can lead to greater awareness of the world in our backyards and beyond. In telling the story of his sons’ unconventional education in the fields and forests surrounding his family’s northern Vermont farm, he demonstrates that the sparks of learning are all around us, just waiting to be discovered. No matter where we live, Home Grown reminds us that learning at any age is a lifelong process, and that the best education is never confined to a classroom. Hewitt’s story will inspire you to reclaim passion, curiosity, and creativity, not only for your children, but for yourself.

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Monday thought of the week: especially you

A thought:

… I want you to see that it doesn’t take any special skills or training to be an outdoor parent. You don’t have to been physically fit, like cold weather or know the names of every bug your kid discovers. All you need is a willingness to get outdoors, go exploring and to take your kids with you. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Even you. Especially you.

- Debi of the children & nature blog Go Explore Nature, in her September 4 post “True Confessions of a Nature Mom” (Facebook, Twitter)

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BOOK: Flashlight


Lizi Boyd, Flashlight (San Fransisco: Chronicle Books, 2014), 40 pp.

Publisher’s description: Inside a tent it’s cozy. But what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight! Told solely through images and using a spare yet dramatic palette, artist Lizi Boyd has crafted a masterful exploration of night, nature, and art. Both lyrical and humorous, this visual poem—like the flashlight beam itself—reveals that there is magic in the darkness. We just have to look for it.

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BOOK: National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds: A Beginner’s Guide

250Kim Kurki, National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds: A Beginner’s Guide (New York: Black Dog & Levanthal Publishers, 2014), 80 pp. Illustrations by Kim Kurki.

Publisher’s description: National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds introduces kids ages 7 through 12 to more than 120 different species of birds in their native environments, with detailed illustrations and exciting, memorable information from Kim Kurki and the experts at the National Wildlife Federation. From the National Wildlife Federation, publishers of Ranger Rick, the popular nature magazine for kids, comes this exciting, dynamic, and wonderfully illustrated guide for young naturalists. National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds is arranged by habitat and identifies more than 100 birds. Kim Kurki¹s engaging and highly accurate illustrations give kids a true and close-up appreciation of each bird species, such as its size, shape, color, and markings, as well as its habitat, call, and behavior. Kids will learn to recognize the birds by their individual characteristics, such as the male cardinal¹s distinctive crest, the kestrel¹s helicopter hover, and the goldfinch¹s enchanting song. You¹ll also discover what makes each bird amazing, including which is the fastest flier, which lays the biggest egg, and which spends years of its life in the water, never touching land. The excellent illustrations, nontechnical language, and fascinating facts throughout make this an ideal guide for beginner bird-watchers—of any age!

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Northwest Children’s Nature Play Week, Sept 11 – 15

Are you interested in children, play, and nature? If so, you might consider attending some of the events organized as the Northwest Children’s Nature Play Week, coming up real soon: Sept. 11-15. This is all organized by The Intertwine, Metro, and April Gutierrez of PNW Tax Service (as a concerned mom seeing the trend for less play and less time in nature for her kids, she brought the British film Project Wild Thing to Portland for a screening last year). The schedule is below, with links to more information and/or registration information.

Northwest Children’s Nature Play Week (flyer)

Sept. 11, 9am-1pm Tour of Nature Play Parks in Portland

Sept. 12, 12-5pm Portland Children’s Play Swarm

Sept. 13, evening Movies in the Park screening of Project Wild Thing (including a presentation from the filmmaker)

Sept. 15, all day Regional Nature, Play and Education Symposium (at the Oregon Zoo, $15)

I’ll be attending both the tour of nature play areas and the full-day symposium.

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