Upcoming nature events in Portland

Summer camps are happening, perhaps still some openings:
Nature-based summer break camps in the Portland area

Family canoe paddle outings with the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership

Summer calendar from the Tillamook Forest Center

Ten Toe Express Walks from Portland Parks and Recreation

Hike series with the Forest Park Conservancy

Hike series with Portland branch of Hike It Baby

Hike series with Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hike series with Oregon Wild

Summer nature programming from THPRD

Summer nature programming from the Friends of Tryon Creek

Free Skills Series from Rewild Portland (every month)

Nov. 12-Aug. 29, 2015 | Exhibit: In the Footsteps of David Douglas | Washington County Museum

Feb. 1-July 11 | Exhibit: Portland’s Rivers: Contemporary Art Views | Pittock Mansion

May-August | Amazing Arthropods (programs with The Bug Chicks) | Multnomah County Library (various)

May 29-August 30 | Metro family activities at the Oregon Zoo’s Backyard Makeover exhibit (F/S/Su, 10am-2pm)) and Blue Lake Natural Discovery Garden (F/S/Su, 1pm-5pm)

July-August | Tall ship visits to ports in the Columbia River Gorge | Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain

July 5 | Naturalist in the Park (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

July 7 | StoryWalk at Midland Park | Midland Library

July 10 | Freshwater Mussel Monitoring in Crystal Springs Creek | Xerces Society

July 10 | Moonlight Paddle | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

July 11 | Firsthand Oregon: Pika Discovery and Viewing | Oregon Wildlife

July 11 | Graham Oaks park day | Metro

July 11 | Open House: Urban Grange | Zenger Farm

July 12 | Naturalist in the Park (Smith & Bybee Wetlands) | Metro

July 12 | Second Sunday event at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse: “The Confluence Project, Exploring History, culture, and ecology along the Columbia River” | Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

July 17 | Sunset Walk (Smith & Bybee Wetlands)| Metro

July 18 | StoryWalk at Spring Garden Park | Capitol Hill Library

July 18 | Tree Hug PDX | Hoyt Arboretum

July 18 | Discover the Park Through Science | Friends of Tryon Creek

July 18 | Sunset Paddle | Tualatin Riverkeepers

July 19 | Fanno Creek Greenway Trail Walk | Metro

July 19 | Naturalist in the Park (Mount Talbert Nature Park) | Metro

July 25 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

July 25 | Guided Nature Walk | Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

July 25 | Stories in the Stones on Mount Talbert | Metro

July 26 | Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways | Sunday Parkways

July 26 | The Big Float | Human Access Project

July 26 | Naturalist in the Park (Graham Oaks Nature Park) | Metro

July 31 | Sunset Walk (Smith & Bybee Wetlands)| Metro

August 1 | Introduction to the Language of Birds | Metro

August 2 | Rock Creek Regional Trail Walk | Metro

August 2 | Columbia Slough Regatta | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

August 2 | Naturalist in the Park (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

August 7 | Sunset Walk (Graham Oaks Nature Park)| Metro

August 8 | StoryWalk at Spring Garden Park | Capitol Hill Library

August 9 | Naturalist in the Park (Mount Talbert Nature Park)| Metro

August 11 | Lecture: Kristin Ohlson on The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet | Friends of Family Farmers

August 12 | Bats of the Night | Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

August 13 | Lecture: Darlingtonia’s Home: The Unique Eco-systems of the Southern Oregon Siskiyous | Leach Botanical Garden

August 14 | Families in the Field (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

August 14-16 | Return from the Burn – A Step Back in Time Event | Tillamook State Forest

August 16 | Family-Friendly Paddle | Tualatin Riverkeepers

August 16 | Naturalist in the Park (Smith & Bybee Wetlands) | Metro

August 16 | Seaport Celebration | Port of Portland

August 17-21 | Paddle Oregon | Willamette Riverkeeper

August 18 | StoryWalk at Midland Park | Midland Library

August 18-22 | Paddle Oregon | Willamette Riverkeeper

August 21 | Families in the Field (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

August 22 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

August 23 | Southeast Portland Sunday Parkways | Sunday Parkways

August 23 | Naturalist in the Park (Graham Oaks Nature Park) | Metro

August 30 | Naturalist in the Park (Smith & Bybee Wetlands) | Metro

September 5 | Blue Lake park day | Blue Lake Regional Park

September 6 | Naturalist in the Park (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

September 12 | 10 Years of Trackers | Trackers Earth

September 12 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

September 20 | Sunday Trailways: Waterhouse Linear Park | THPRD

September 20 | Naturalist in the Park (Cooper Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

September 27 | Tilikum Crossing/Sellwood Portland Sunday Parkways | Sunday Parkways

October 3 | Autumn River Paddle Trip | Tualatin Riverkeepers

October 17 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

October 24 | Discovery Hike: Fall Park Tour | Forest Park Conservancy

Oct. 10-Jan. 10, 2016 | Exhibit – Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection | Portland Art Museum

Regular nature outings (check websites for seasonal scheduling):
Nature Days in the Park and Nature Mobile from THPRD’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
Audubon Story Time (1st/3rd Saturdays starting May 2nd
Free field trips with Audubon Society of Portland volunteers
Tadpole Tales with Columbia Slough Watershed Council
Farm Fridays at Zenger Farm
Second Saturdays at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, WA
Tillamook Tales at the Tillamook Forest Center

Did you know?
– $2 admission at OMSI the first Sunday of every month
– $3 admission at the World Forestry Center the first Thursday 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. July’s list is here.

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Wednesday photo of the week: creek play

Creek play

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A family weekend on the Oregon coast in Astoria

My family and I spent last weekend in Astoria, OR. My wife and I had passed through this coastal Oregon city over a decade ago on a trip down the coast, before any kid was in the picture. Then, it was a quick visit – a hotel stay for the night and a meal at a Pig ‘N Pancake. So we looked forward to staying in the area longer and checking out some of its unique spots. Here we are in the car right before leaving Portland for the 2-hour drive on Highway 30, for the most part along the Columbia River. Just after entering Astoria, there are scores of shops and restaurants along the river. We parked in the parking lot of the Oregon Maritime Museum (it was closed) and went for a walk along the Astoria Riverwalk trail. We enjoyed the views of the river and watched barges move slowly up and down, took a look at some boats and displays outside the museum, and learned a little about the city’s history from some interpretive signs. Here’s the Toyota Highlander Hybrid we had for the weekend parked in front of the riverfront trail on this chilly but nice Friday evening. Dinner was enjoyed at the Rogue Ales Public House on Pier 39, after we arrived too late at the cash-only and closed-at-6pm Bowpicker Fish & Chips, served from a gillnet boat (next time, family), and another place that was recommended was also closed for the day. Looking out the window from our table at Rogue, my son watched Double-crested Cormorants diving into the river looking for meals of their own.

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We ended our evening at the Astoria KOA (Kampgrounds of America), where we stayed in a small deluxe cabin. I had never been to a KOA before (my wife neither). While we had fun, it was certainly a different experience. We’re not seasoned campers – I can count on one hand the numbers of times I have camped in my life; it’s just not something my family did growing up. A geology field trip to Death Valley State Park in CA; a long hike and camping next to a lake in the Beartooth Mountains with a roommate in Bozeman, MT; my wife, son, and, I for several nights at Yosemite National Park in 2010; with a bunch of fellow freethinking-families at Jessie M. Honeyman State Park on the southern Oregon coast in 2011; and just recently the four of us for a weekend at Silver Falls State Park south of Portland with a Hike It Baby group.

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The KOA is full of cabins, RV sites, and tent camping sites, but also includes all sort of activities for families, such as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a playground, volleyball court, mini-golf, and a huge bounce pillow. KOA staff also do various programs and provide guests with a schedule. A kitchen is on site, too, and folks can get pizza delivered to their campsite. A cool thing, I’m sure, but for me it’s difficult to consider this camping. Perhaps that’s why KOA’s slogan is “Remember. It’s not camping. It’s kamping.” If you go in with expectations for what it is, you’ll enjoy yourself, as we surely did (especially the free pancake breakfast each morning). But I think I prefer real camping over this kind of stay!

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Our son loved the giant bounce pillow, while our daughter was a ham on the playground.

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Our second day in Astoria brought us to Fort Stevens State Park, the largest state park on the Oregon coast, next to the town of Warrenton and just across the street from the KOA. The site is of historical and military interest, but we simply wanted to enjoy some nature and views of the coast. We went for a hike out along the jetty on the north side of the park, with views of the where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. A bit windy and chilly for some of us. Afterward, mom took a nap in the Highlander while the kids and I played on the beach near the shipwreck Peter Iredale. When we got back to the cabin, we made some sandwiches for dinner, and my wife and I took turns watching the kids so we each relax a little in the indoor hot tub. That’s a rare thing to happen!

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The next day we packed up and explored Astoria some more. We drove across the four-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge to Washington and back. Our daughter enjoyed watching the upper tresses of the bridge through the Highlander’s sunroof, while our son pondered how the bridge would fair if a tsunami were to come up the river (oh, the mind of a nine-year-old).

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We checked out the famous house from the movie The Goonies, and visited the Astoria Column. While we were bummed that the column itself was closed for restoration, the views from the spot were amazing, such as the one below (left) showing the Columbia River, the bridge, and a little bit of Washington across the way and the Pacific Ocean farther out.

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We decided to head down to Seaside for lunch (McMeniman’s Sand Trap Pub it was) and then Indian Beach at Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach for some more play time on the beach (photo above, right).

We enjoyed the weekend: for Father’s Day, a few-days belated birthday celebration for me, and simply needing to take a break from the every day. It was fun driving a vehicle not our own. We currently own a Subaru Forester (a Subaru before that, too, and I previously drove two Toyota trucks). The Toyota Highlander Hybrid had a lot of perks our current car is without (sun roof, video monitor for reversing, lane change notifications, etc.), but the thing it had the most that we realized is space. Extra leg room and the cargo space in the back. Traveling with kids means lots of stuff to bring along. Our own car is always packed to the top; there was plenty of room to spare in the Highlander. This is the kind of vehicle we’ll consider when the times comes to replace our current one!

Note: My family and I received a courtesy weekend in Astoria through from Toyota USA in exchange for my honest thoughts on Exploring Portland’s Natural Areas. We drove a loaned vehicle from a Portland-based car fleet company and were given vouchers for our stay at the Astoria/Warrenton/Seaside KOA.

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Monday thought of the week: advice to parents

A thought:

Here’s my advice to parents:

1) Kick them out of the house! Our parents did this. They said, “Go outside and play, come back for supper.” Send them outdoors, if only in the back yard.

2) Take an active role in learning your nonhuman neighbors along with your kids: a bird a month, a flower a week, a cloud formation a year. Look at the actual object together. Don’t let the useful Google supplant the actual object.

3) Let the kids explore without supervision of parents. This is good for their imagination. Make sure it’s safe, then stay at the periphery and let the kids prowl on their own. You’re not going to recover what we’re losing without this. This is where a great deal of imagination can be brought to bear. Urban areas like Detroit and Cleveland are beginning to take advantage of their vast new open spaces, from cleared, blighted neighborhoods, to create kid-friendly wild-parks in vacant lots. I like to say that nothing is less vacant than a vacant lot to curious kids.

– Naturalist and author Robert Michael Pyle, in an interview for Terrain.org (May 31, 2015), when asked “What advice do you have for parents raising kids today? How do you suggest encouraging them to engage with the natural world?”

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Wednesday photo of the week: lookout

Lookout

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Monday thought of the week: on the lookout

A thought:

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.

– E.B. White

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Upcoming nature events in Portland

It’s time to register for summer camps!
Nature-based summer break camps in the Portland area

Family canoe paddle outings with the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership

Summer calendar from the Tillamook Forest Center

Hike series with the Forest Park Conservancy

Hike series with Portland branch of Hike It Baby

Hike series with Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hike series with Oregon Wild

Summer nature programming from THPRD

Free Skills Series from Rewild Portland (every month)

November-June | Lunch with the Birds! | Hillsboro Parks & Recreation

Nov. 12-Aug. 29, 2015 | Exhibit: In the Footsteps of David Douglas | Washington County Museum

Feb. 1-July 11 | Exhibit: Portland’s Rivers: Contemporary Art Views | Pittock Mansion

May-August | Amazing Arthropods (programs with The Bug Chicks) | Multnomah County Library (various)

May 29-August 30 | Metro family activities at the Oregon Zoo’s Backyard Makeover exhibit (F/S/Su, 10am-2pm)) and Blue Lake Natural Discovery Garden (F/S/Su, 1pm-5pm)

June | Great Outdoors Month | American Recreation Coalition

June 15-21 | National Pollinator Week | Pollinator Partnership

June 20 | StoryWalk at Spring Garden Park | Capitol Hill Library

June 20 | Audubon Story Time – nests & eggs | Audubon Society of Portland

June 20 | Dedication of Roger Tilbury Memorial Park (nature play area) | THPRD

June 21 | North Portland Sunday Parkways | Sunday Parkways

June 21-28 | International Build a Fairy House and Den Week | Marghanita Hughes

June 23 | Bring Your Own Boat Paddle | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

June 23 | Vancouver Lake Community Paddle | Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership

June 27 | Great American Backyard Campout | NWF

June 27 | 26th Annual Tualatin River Discovery Day | Tualatin Riverkeepers

June 28 | Naturalist in the Park (Graham Oaks Nature Park) | Metro

June 29 | International Mud Day | World Forum Nature Action Collaborative for Children

July-August | Tall ship visits to ports in the Columbia River Gorge | Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain

July 5 | Naturalist in the Park (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

July 7 | StoryWalk at Midland Park | Midland Library

July 10 | Moonlight Paddle | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

July 11 | Firsthand Oregon: Pika Discovery and Viewing | Oregon Wildlife

July 11 | Graham Oaks park day | Metro

July 12 | Naturalist in the Park (Smith & Bybee Wetlands) | Metro

July 17 | Sunset Walk (Smith & Bybee Wetlands)| Metro

July 18 | StoryWalk at Spring Garden Park | Capitol Hill Library

July 18 | Tree Hug PDX | Hoyt Arboretum

July 18 | Sunset Paddle | Tualatin Riverkeepers

July 19 | Fanno Creek Greenway Trail Walk | Metro

July 19 | Naturalist in the Park (Mount Talbert Nature Park) | Metro

July 25 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

July 25 | Guided Nature Walk | Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

July 25 | Stories in the Stones on Mount Talbert | Metro

July 26 | Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways | Sunday Parkways

July 26 | The Big Float | Human Access Project

July 26 | Naturalist in the Park (Graham Oaks Nature Park) | Metro

July 31 | Sunset Walk (Smith & Bybee Wetlands)| Metro

August 1 | Introduction to the Language of Birds | Metro

August 2 | Rock Creek Regional Trail Walk | Metro

August 2 | Columbia Slough Regatta | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

August 2 | Naturalist in the Park (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

August 7 | Sunset Walk (Graham Oaks Nature Park)| Metro

August 8 | StoryWalk at Spring Garden Park | Capitol Hill Library

August 9 | Naturalist in the Park (Mount Talbert Nature Park)| Metro

August 11 | Lecture: Kristin Ohlson on The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet | Friends of Family Farmers

August 12 | Bats of the Night | Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

August 14 | Families in the Field (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

August 14-16 | Return from the Burn – A Step Back in Time Event | Tillamook State Forest

August 16 | Family-Friendly Paddle | Tualatin Riverkeepers

August 16 | Naturalist in the Park (Smith & Bybee Wetlands) | Metro

August 16 | Seaport Celebration | Port of Portland

August 17-21 | Paddle Oregon | Willamette Riverkeeper

August 18 | StoryWalk at Midland Park | Midland Library

August 18-22 | Paddle Oregon | Willamette Riverkeeper

August 21 | Families in the Field (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

August 22 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

August 23 | Southeast Portland Sunday Parkways | Sunday Parkways

August 23 | Naturalist in the Park (Graham Oaks Nature Park) | Metro

August 30 | Naturalist in the Park (Smith & Bybee Wetlands) | Metro

September 5 | Blue Lake park day | Blue Lake Regional Park

September 6 | Naturalist in the Park (Scouters Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

September 12 | 10 Years of Trackers | Trackers Earth

September 12 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

September 20 | Sunday Trailways: Waterhouse Linear Park | THPRD

September 20 | Naturalist in the Park (Cooper Mountain Nature Park) | Metro

September 27 | Tilikum Crossing/Sellwood Portland Sunday Parkways | Sunday Parkways

October 3 | Autumn River Paddle Trip | Tualatin Riverkeepers

October 17 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

October 24 | Discovery Hike: Fall Park Tour | Forest Park Conservancy

Oct. 10-Jan. 10, 2016 | Exhibit – Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection | Portland Art Museum

Regular nature outings (check websites for seasonal scheduling):
Nature Days in the Park and Nature Mobile from THPRD’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
Audubon Story Time (1st/3rd Saturdays starting May 2nd
Free field trips with Audubon Society of Portland volunteers
Tadpole Tales with Columbia Slough Watershed Council
Farm Fridays at Zenger Farm
Second Saturdays at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, WA
Tillamook Tales at the Tillamook Forest Center

Did you know?
– $2 admission at OMSI the first Sunday of every month
– $3 admission at the World Forestry Center the first Thursday 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. June’s list is here.

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Wednesday photo of the week: creek child

Audubon Society of Portland

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Wednesday photo of the week: forest bike ride

Tualatin Hills Nature Park

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Monday thought of the week: off limits

A thought:

[B]y treating nature like an outdoor museum where everything is off limits, that human child in nature may well become extinct.

– Linda McGurk, “When Nature Is Off-Limits – Thoughts on My Run-in with the Law at a Nature Preserve,” Rain or Shine Mamma (June 5, 2015)

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