Wednesday photo of the week: happy kid, happy earth


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Monday thought of the week: heading outside

A thought:

How do you get children to connect with the richness of the natural world? Perhaps, it is as simple as heading outside with a homemade butterfly net and a racing heart.

– William Leach, in an NPR interview for his book about the history of butterfly collecting, Butterfly People: An American Encounter with the Beauty of the World

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Wednesday photo of the week: river watchers


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Monday thought of the week: a natural and active nature study

A thought:

But after all, childhood, – active, fresh, spontaneous child-
hood, – and its need of the normal environment for growth
and vigor, supplies the imperative demand for a natural and
active nature study.

Clifton Hodge, Nature Study and Life (Boston; London: Ginn & Company; The Athenaeum Press, 1902), p. 27

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Upcoming nature events in Portland

— Please check for any schedule changes or registration requirements —

Nature-based camps for Summer 2016 – now registering!

Community canoe paddle schedule with Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership

Early morning bird walks at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge: August 6,Sept. 3Sept. 3, and Oct. 1

Now playing at OMSI’s Empirical Theater in 3D: National Parks Adventure

Upcoming paddle events with Tualatin Riverkeepers

Summer Fun Days at Blue Lake with Metro (every T/W/Th from June 28-Aug. 11 from 11am to 2pm

Nature classes at Hoyt Arboretum, Summerlake City Park (Tigard), and Mary S. Young Park (West Linn) from Tinkergarten

Discovery Hikes with the Forest Park Conservancy

Hike series with Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hike series with Oregon Wild

Summer nature programming (pp. 165-170) from THPRD

Summer nature programming from the Friends of Tryon Creek

Summer nature programming at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro)

Summer nature programming at the Tillamook Forest Center

Free Skills Series from Rewild Portland (every month)

Bird watching outings with Audubon Society of Portland

Bird walks with Backyard Bird Shop

July 10 | Contemporary Masks inspired by the Native Cultures of the Columbia River | Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

July 12 | Book talk: Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America | Powell’s City of Books

July 16 | Tree Hug PDX | Hoyt Arboretum

July 16 | Tracking with Seth (10am-12pm, register by emailing | Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

July 21 | Book talk: Coyote America | Powell’s City of Books

July 23 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

July 24 | Sunday Parkways: Northeast Portland | Portland Bureau of Transportation

July 30 | Sneak Peek of Killin Wetlands | Metro

August 3 | Families in the Field: Scouters Mountain Forest Adventure | Metro

August 6 | Naturalist in the Park at Smith and Bybee | Metro

August 7 | 22nd Annual Columbia Slough Regatta | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

August 11 | Turtles of the Tualatin | Tualatin Riverkeepers

August 13 | Guided Nature Walk, 9:30am | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

August 13 | Naturalist in the Park at Mount Talbert | Metro

August 15 | Best Adventures Near Portland Release Party | Adam Sawyer

August 20 | Naturalist in the Park at Scouters Mountain | Metro

August 20 | Moonlight Paddle | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

August 21 | Sunday Parkways: Southeast Portland | Portland Bureau of Transportation

August 26 | Bat Night | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

August 27 | Sneak Peek of Newell Creek Canyon | Metro

September 1 | Twilight Thursday at Cooper Mountain | Metro

September 3 | Vulture Awareness Day | Audubon Society of Portland

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

September 17 | Nature and Culture Festival at Blue Lake | Metro

September 17 | Aquifer Adventure | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

September 24 | National Public Lands Day | NEEF

October 2 | Sunday Parkways: Sellwood-Milwaukie | Portland Bureau of Transportation

October 2 | 3rd Annual Salmon Celebration | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

October 15 | Fall Bird Walk | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

November 19-20 | Wild Arts Festival | Audubon Society of Portland

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 Environmental Education
Puddle Stompers at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
Tadpole Tales with Columbia Slough Watershed Council (beginning May 2)
Farm Fridays at Zenger Farm
Second Saturdays at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, WA
Guided hikes at Columbia Springs in Vancouver, WA (third Wed. of most months)
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 first Thursday 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: children at nature play



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Wednesday photo of the week: a new vantage point

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BOOK: Ricky’s Atlas: Mapping a Land on Fire

In 2013, Oregon State University Press published Ellie’s Log, in which two friends explore a forest. Just like that first book, a new one by the same author and illustrator combine storytelling with field notebook jottings and illustrations to teach about fire ecology:


Judith L. Li, Ricky’s Atlas: Mapping a Land on Fire (Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press, 2016), 128 pp. Illustrated by M.L. Herring.

Publisher’s description In this sequel to Ellie’s Log: Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell, Ricky Zamora brings his love of map-making and his boundless curiosity to the arid landscapes east of the Cascade Mountains. He arrives during a wild thunderstorm, and watches his family and their neighbors scramble to deal with a wildfire sparked by lightning. Joined by his friend Ellie, he sees how plants, animals, and people adjust to life with wildfires.While hiking across a natural prairie, climbing up a fire tower, and studying historical photos and maps, Ricky and Ellie learn about the role of fire in shaping the landscape of the eastern semi-arid plateau. They experience the scary days of wildfire in progress, explore a gritty site after a wildfire, and discover how some plants and animals depend on fire to survive. Color pen-and-ink drawings accompany the text and vividly illustrate plants, animals, and events encountered in this exciting summer adventure. With his friend Ellie, Ricky creates a brightly colored diary of the fire, with maps, timelines, and sketches of what they see in this fire-prone land. Ricky’s notebook about his summer visit to his uncle’s ranch becomes an atlas of fire ecology, weather patterns, and life in the rain shadow. Upper elementary kids will enjoy the mixture of amazing adventures with actual historical, physical, and ecological data about the region. Woven into the story are the small pleasures of ranch life, intriguing histories of Native Americans and early settlers, and almost unbelievable views of ancient fossils. Ricky and Ellie’s explorations, accompanied by their hand-written notes, introduce readers to a very special landscape and history east of the mountains.

Oregon State University Press also made a video trailer for the book:

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BOOK REVIEW: Let Your Kids Go Wild Outside

Full of abundant information on habitats, flora and fauna, and nature exploration, this guide to outdoor activities refreshes with it’s plethora of photographs and enthusiasm about all manner of topics related to nature (I especially appreciate the section on famous naturalists from history). The book, written by Fiona Bird,  is organized by the habitat one would be exploring in, and the activities throughout foster an appreciation for the living world and spur curiosity for young explorers to learn more.


Fiona Bird, Let Your Kids Go Wild Outside (New York: Cico Books, 2016), 160 pp. 

Publisher’s description In an era when the iPad is often more appealing than the park, it can be difficult to encourage kids to get off the couch and go outside. In this inspirational book, with ideas for children of all ages, foraging expert Fiona Bird shows the value of playing outside and discovering nature for children and families alike. First Fiona teaches children about their environment, including conservation guidelines and tips on how to forecast the weather. Armed with this knowledge, the outside adventure goes Into the Woods, in Chapter 1, with outdoor crafts including making leaf art bunting, a dream catcher, and a woodland broom. In Chapter 2, Meadows, Hedgerows, and Hills, ideas include wild face paints, natural dyeing, and making potpourri. Onward to Chapter 3, Seashore, where children learn how to go beachcombing, identify different seaweeds, play beach hopscotch, and make a mollusk wind chime. In Chapter 4, Water and Wetlands, children learn to make their own charcoal and go on an animal track and poop hunt! For those who don’t want to move far from home, there’s plenty to do in My Wild Garden and Kitchen, Chapter 5, such as making a snail holiday village and attracting bugs, as well as developing hunting and gathering skills, with seasonal recipes made from natural ingredients. So let your kids go wild outside, and enjoy watching them learn and blossom.

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Monday thought of the week: a new vantage point

A thought:

Children experience a unique perspective and freedom when they can climb up and look out on the world from a new vantage point.

– Gever Tulley, author of Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do), from “Some Thoughts on #28 – Climb a Tree,” (june 22, 2010)

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