BOOK REVIEW: Arrow to Alaska: A Pacific Northwest Adventure & Portland events in April

Last year we shared about a new book for children from Seattle-based artist Hannah Viano, S is for Salmon: A Pacific Northwest Alphabet. Viano’s beautiful paper-cut art combined with learning about Pacific Northwest natural history made for a handsome little book about the ABCs. Her new book likewise combines colorful and both sharp and flowing images with aspects of Pacific Northwest life.

Hannah Viano, Arrow to Alaska: A Pacific Northwest Adventure (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2015), 32 pp.

The story in Arrow to Alaska follows Arrow, an outside-going young boy who wants so much to travel from his home in Seattle. A visit from his grandfather in Alaska provided that opportunity, but it was not to be. Then, an aunt offers to take Arrow along on her salmon fishing boat Angie through the inside passage to Alaska. And they were off! Arrow is treated to wildlife sightings, seeing how fishermen work, and when they reach his grandfather, how he lives on a houseboat. After days of fishing and messing about on boats, it is time for Arrow to go back home to Seattle. But, his adventure was about to continue…

Viano is in Portland this spring as an artist-in-residence with the Portland Children’s Museum, doing nature art workshops with kids and producing art pieces for the museum inspired by their nature-based play area Outdoor Adventure. Here are the remaining dates, including a storytime at Powell’s downtown:

April 18 | Kids’ Storytime with Hannah Viano: Arrow to Alaska | Powell’s on Burnside
April 19 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum
April 20 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum
April 21 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum
April 21 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum
April 30 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum
April 30 | Hannah Viano Art Gallery Opening (nature art) | Portland Children’s Museum

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Wednesday photo of the week: springtime splash

Springtime splash

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BOOK: Step Into Nature & reading at Annie Bloom’s Books on April 16

A new book will interest readers of this blog, and the author will do a reading at Annie Bloom’s Books in Multnomah Village on April 16 at 7pm.

Patrice Vecchione, Step into Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit in Everyday Life (New York/Hillsboro, OR: Atria Books/Beyond Words, 2015), 272 pp.

Publisher’s description Step outside your door and reconnect with nature. From the author of Writing and the Spiritual Life comes a guide that will replenish your connection to the earth and inspire you to develop and strengthen your imagination.

The natural world has inspired artists, seekers, and thinkers for millennia, but in recent times, as the pace of life has sped up, its demands have moved us indoors. Yet nature’s capacity to lead us to important truths, to invigorate and restore our imagination and equilibrium, is infinite.

Step into Nature makes nature personal again by stimulating awareness and increasing our understanding of the environment. But being in nature doesn’t mean flying off to remote, faraway places. Nature is as close as opening your front door—and opening your heart to the sky above, the miniature gardens that push their way up between the sidewalk cracks in our cities, and the small stream just down the road.

Patrice Vecchione demonstrates how nature can support and enhance your creative output, invigorate your curiosity, and restore your sense of connection to and love of the earth. Included throughout the book is “The Cabinet of Curiosities,” exercises and suggestions for practical and unexpected ways to stimulate your imagination, deepen your relationship with nature, and experience the harmony between creativity and the natural world.

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Wednesday photo of the week: nature play stickers

Get your “Slow: Children at Nature Play” stickers here!

Children at Nature Play stickers

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Two recent articles about nature play

Just want to share with you, dear reader, two recent articles about nature play, one written by me and the other about me and my Children at Nature Play sign efforts.

– Amy Wang wrote a piece about me and my nature play signs for The Oregonian on April 2nd. Click here to read “Q&A: Creator of ‘Children at Nature Play’ signs hopes to get more kids outdoors.”

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Photo: Amy Wang/The Oregonian

– I wrote an article for the April issue of Metro Parent magazine all about nature play areas in the Portland region. Pick up an issue around town (community centers of libraries are your best bet), view it online in the whole issue, or read the PDF on my blog.

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Monday thought of the week: from the outside in

A thought:

Children milk the environment to build themselves from the outside in, filling themselves with their own sensations of the world and the sense of their actions in it.

– Sara Stein, Noah’s Children: Restoring the Ecology of Childhood (New York: North Point Press, 2001), p. 45

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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

The Tillamook Forest Center is back open for the spring – check out their upcoming events

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

The Bug Chicks programs at Multnomah County Library locations

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

April 3 | Kids Nature Night Out: Pirates’ Treasure | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 3 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Grand Opening Celebration | Nadaka Nature Park

April 4 | Nature Studies: Spring Plant Walk | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Women in Science Day (Girl Scout program) | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 8 | Native Plants of the Hoyt Arboretum | Hoyt Arboretum

April 9 | Brunch with the Birds | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

April 9 | Community Nature Walk: Boise-Eliot Neighborhood | Friends of Trees

April 10 | Portland Arbor Day Festival – Bucket Truck Rides | Portland Parks & Recreation

April 11 | Portland Arbor Day Festival | Portland Parks & Recreation

April 11 | Critter Count | Columbia Spring

April 11-12 | Trillium Festival | Friends of Tryon Creek

April 12 | Cathlapotle Plankhouse – Spring Opening Celebration and Guided Hikes | Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

April 12 | Nature Days in the Park: Greenway Park | THPRD

April 12 | Finding David Douglas, A film by Lois Leonard | Hoyt Arboretum

April 12 | Guided Refuge Walk – Birds, Nest, and Babies, Oh My! | Friends of the Refuge

April 14 | Nature Night: California Condors in the Pacific Northwest | Audubon Society of Portland

April 15 | Community Nature Walk: Lents Neighborhood | Friends of Trees

April 16 | Patrice Vecchione presents Step Into Nature | Annie Bloom’s Books

April 17 | Kids Nature Night Out: Cat Prowl | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 18 | SOLVE IT Earth Day Event | Various

April 18 | Family Eco-Fair Celebration | The Stream Team (Vancouver)

April 18 | Story Time: Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms | Audubon Society of Portland

April 18 | Storytime: Hannah Viano reads Arrow to Alaska: A Pacific Northwest Journey | Powell’s City of Books

April 18 | World Record Bulb Planting (Camas) | White Oak Savanna Park (West Linn)

April 18 | Nature Studies: Animal Tracking | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 18-25 | National Park Week | National Park Foundation

April 19 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum

April 19 | Kids’ Nature Walk: Water Bugs at Whitaker Ponds | Backyard Bird Shop

April 19 | Advanced Nature Observation Skills | Nature Connection (Meetup group)

April 19-25 | National Environmental Education Week | NEEF

April 20 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum

April 21 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum

April 21 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum

April 22 | Earth Day | Earth Day Network

April 22 | PSU Earth Day 2015 Celebration | PSU Blocks

April 22 | Earth Day Celebration | Portland Children’s Museum

April 22 | Author event: Thor Hanson on The Triumph of Seeds | Audubon Society of Portland

April 23 | Advanced Nature Observation Skills | Nature Connection (Meetup group)

April 23 | Nature Walkabout for Kids | Nature Connection (Meetup group)

April 23 | Book talk: Thor Hanson on The Triumph of Seeds | Powell’s on Hawthorne

April 24 | Arbor Day | Arbor Day Foundation

April 24 | Nature Walkabout for Kids | Nature Connection (Meetup group)

April 24 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 25 | Spring bird walk with Sarah Swanson & Max Smith (8am-10am)| Friends of April Hill Park

April 25 | Bird Watching Discovery Hike | Forest Park Conservancy

April 25 | Community Nature Walk: Portsmouth Neighborhood | Friends of Trees

April 25 | Earth Day Portland | Normandale Park

April 25 | Save the Frogs Day | Save the Frogs

April 25 | Advanced Nature Observation Skills | Nature Connection (Meetup group)

April 25 | Salmonids + Macroinvertebrates at Jenne Butte Park | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

April 25 | Classroom Discovery Day: Pollinating the Park | Tryon Creek State Park

April 25 | Spring Blossoms | Hoyt Arboretum

April 26| Animal Camouflage at Mary S. Young Park | Backyard Bird Shop

April 26 | Advanced Nature Observation Skills | Nature Connection (Meetup group)

April 30 | Bring Your Own Canoe Paddle | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

April 30 | Hannah Viano in the Studio (nature art program) | Portland Children’s Museum

April 30 | Hannah Viano Art Gallery Opening (nature art) | Portland Children’s Museum

May | American Wetlands Month | EPA

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

May 1 | Kids Nature Night Out: Disappearing Act | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

May 2 | Kids Fishing Festival | Columbia Springs

May 2 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 4-10 | National Wildflower Week | Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

May 9 | International Migratory Bird Day | Environment for the Americas

May 9 | Brownie Day: The Wonders of Water at Greenway Park | THPRD

May 10 | Nature Days in the Park: Roger Tilbury Memorial Park | THPRD

May 10 | Family Nature Walk at Elowah & Upper McCord Falls | Friends of the Columbia Gorge

May 10 | Guided Nature Walk | Friends of the Refuge

May 15 | Kids Nature Night Out: Treasure Hunt | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 16 | Kids to Parks Day | National Park Trust

May 16 | Grand Opening Celebration | Kʰunamokwst Park

May 16 | Children’s Nature Fair | Leach Botanical Garden

May 16 | Tualatin River Bird Festival | Friends of the Refuge

May 16 | Firsthand Oregon: Native Turtle Habitat Tour | Oregon Wildlife

May 16 | Winter Steelhead Release | Tillamook Forest Center

May 17 | Metro Annual Trails Fair | Metro/American Trails

May 17 | Nature Studies: Birds of Cooper Mountain | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 21 | Evening Canoe the Slough | Columbia Slough Watershed Council

May 23 | Damselflies + Dragonflies at Fairview Creek Headwaters | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

May 27-June 4 | 29th Annual Great Blue Heron Week | Audubon Society of Portland

May 31 | Talk: Christine Colasurdo on 35 Years later: Mt. St. Helens eruption | Garden Home Community Library

June | Great Outdoors Month | American Recreation Coalition

June 6 | National Trails Day | American Hiking Society

June 6 | Family Nature Fest | Columbia Springs

June 13 | National Get Outdoors Day | GetOutdoorsUSA!

June 13 | 2015 National Get Outdoors Day | Fort Vancouver

June 15-21 | National Pollinator Week | Pollinator Partnership

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

June 27 | Great American Backyard Campout | NWF

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

July 7 | StoryWalk at Midland Park | Midland Library

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

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

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

August 18 | StoryWalk at Midland Park | Midland Library

August 18-22 | Paddle Oregon | Willamette Riverkeeper

September 20 | Sunday Trailways: Waterhouse Linear Park | THPRD

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
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. April’s list is here.

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Grand opening of Nadaka Nature Park in Gresham, April 4th

More information here.

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Wednesday photo of the week: forest cutie

Forest cutie

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Celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 16th! (and prize package giveaway)

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Kids should get to play in parks everyday, but on May 16th there’s extra incentive to get them outside – the National Park Trust’s 5th annual Kids to Parks Day.

Kids to Parks Day is described as “a nation-wide day of outdoor play organized by National Park Trust (NPT) in cooperation with a host of local and national collaborators” by “encouraging children across the country to explore their neighborhood parks and discover science, history, nature and adventure right around the corner or just across town.” So this is not just about visiting national parks, which would be great if that option is available for you. Any park will do!

If the prospect of getting outside on a special day isn’t enough encouragement, those that pledge to participate on the NPT website (here) will be entered to win a Nikon COOLPIX L830 camera.

Also, I will host a giveaway here on this blog for some awesome nature and outdoor prizes provided by the NPT. Find out how to enter at the end of this post.

Before that, I want to share about some moments during two different trips to Yellowstone National Park (we were living in Bozeman, MT at the time). In the summer of 2008 – my son was two-and-a-half – we went on a drive through Yellowstone, seeing the Old Faithful Geyser, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and many of the other major site-seeing points of interest.

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All of those spots were incredibly busy, of course. What I remember most, however, is the time spent along the Gibbon River where we stopped to have our packed lunch (very close to this spot the Gibbon River merges with the Firehole River and becomes the Madison River).

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There were some picnic tables available, so we claimed one and explored along the river. The amazing part about this spot was that we were just one of less than a handful of families hanging out there.

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Our son loved walking along the side of the river, collecting sticks and rocks (some ended up tossed into the river).

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He gathered them and put them on the picnic table bench – his collection (don’t worry, we didn’t take any of it home with us). For a short period of time, that spot along the Gibbon River was our Yellowstone.

Then a year later, when our son was three, we drove the amazing Beartooth Highway and north section of Yellowstone National Park. We stopped in the Lamar Valley to take a look at scores of bison that were grazing on grass and sipping from a pond.

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There were young bison frolicking around. We enjoyed a break from the driving to watch the bison.

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Our son had along with him on the drive his own bison plush that we had purchased in the park the previous year (kind of looks like Buddy Bison, the NPT’s mascot).

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The following year, when he was four, we moved to Portland. We hope to visit Yellowstone again, especially now that we have a young daughter.

So, plan to get outside as a family on May 16th for Kids to Parks Day (and pledge to participate)! If you’re in the Portland area, you can find a park to visit using the map tool from The Intertwine. If you like to share images on social media, use the hashtag #kidstoparks (or #buddybison if he’s in your photo). NPRT is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And now for the giveaway!

The giveaway:

To enter for a chance to win a prize package from the National Park Trust, please comment on this post telling me about a memorable national park experience, either from your childhood or now with your own child/ren. The prize package consists of a “Buddy Bison” mascot stuffed animal, 2 National Geographic Books (National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks and National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A.), a CamelBak BPA- and BPS-free reusable bottle, a T-shirt, and a NPT Park Activity Guide (a $75 value). From the entries I will randomly pick a winner. The contest will be open until Saturday, May 16, midnight PST. If you would like to enter without commenting on the blog, you can send me an email at darwinsbulldog AT gmail DOT com. Good luck!

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