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Great Blue Heron Week

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When: May 27, 2015 10:00 AM to Jun 07, 2015 01:00 PM

Join the Audubon Society and other partners in The Intertwine Alliance in celebrating more than a quarter century since the Great Blue Heron was adopted as Portland's official city bird.

Great Blue Heron - Scott Carpenter
Great Blue Heron - Scott Carpenter

29th Annual Great Blue Heron Week

Join the Audubon Society of Portland, Urban Greenspaces Institute, and other partners in The Intertwine Alliance in celebrating Portland’s official city bird. The Great Blue Heron is an iconic species that represents the rich diversity of bird and other animal life native to the Portland-metro region.

Each year since the Portland City Council adopted the Great Blue Heron in 1986, the region has celebrated efforts to ensure the heron remains an icon for integrating built and natural environments. Great Blue Heron week is also an opportunity to celebrate our collective efforts to expand and protect natural areas that are home to herons and the plants and animals that make our region a special place to live.

Get out in a kayak, on a bicycle or on foot to enjoy our greenspace heritage and to consider what remains to be done. Explore the full schedule of Great Blue Heron Week events:

Wednesday, May 27

Great Blue Heron Week Proclamation, Portland City Council

Wednesday, May 27 | 10 a.m.

Tadpole Tales

Wednesday, May 27 | 10-11 a.m.
Leader: Monica McAllister, Columbia Slough Watershed Council

Children aged 3-5 with their parents are invited to a short story and guided nature walk with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and Friends of Nadaka Nature Park. Watch birds fly overhead, search for hidden animal homes, and learn about local trees and flowers. Event runs rain or shine. $3 admission/donation per child, no charge for adults. RSVPs appreciated. Meet at Nadaka Park: Parking at St Aidan's Episcopal Church, 17405 NE Glisan St Portland, OR 97230 (Nadaka Park is adjacent to the church). Dress for the weather; families are welcome to bring a snack. For more information and to RSVP, visit the Columbia Slough website or call 503-281-1132.

Thursday, May 28

Birding The Intertwine: Birds of Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

Thursday, May 28 | 8-11 a.m.

Great Blue Heron in Oaks Bottom - Mike Houck
Great Blue Heron in Oaks Bottom - Mike Houck

Mike Houck, Director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, will lead this two-mile loop stroll around the Bottoms. The event is appropriate for families and will provide a great opportunity to learn new bird calls and songs, and to see Osprey, Bald Eagles and songbirds in the Bottoms and along the Springwater on the Willamette trail. Meet Mike Houck at the parking lot at the north end of Sellwood Park, SE Sellwood Boulevard and SE 7th Avenue at 8 a.m. sharp. Bring binoculars and, if you have one, a spotting scope.

Friday, May 29

Exploring The Intertwine: Birding The Willamette Greenway at South Waterfront

Friday, May 29 | 8-9:30 a.m.

Meet Mike Houck for an early morning bird song walk along the temporary greenway trail at South Waterfront for residents and the public. Mike will point out the Great Blue Heron nesting colony on nearby Ross Island and identify birds by sight and song along the greenway. Meet on the greenway trail on the Willamette River side of the Meriwether anytime between 8 and 9:30 a.m. Bring your binoculars and spotting scopes and dress for the weather. Directions: Take the Portland streetcar, bike or drive to SW Moody and SW Curry Street and walk to the eastern end of SW Curry and onto the temporary greenway in front of the Meriwether condominiums.

Vanport Flood Commemorative Tour

Friday, May 29 | 4-6 p.m.
Leader: Susan Barthel City of Portland/Columbia Slough Watershed Council

On May 30, 1948 at 4:17 p.m., a levee burst and the Columbia River flooded Vanport City, once the second-largest city in Oregon. This tour features speakers, three sites with public art and informational signs and sharing by Vanport families and historians. A World War II housing project, Vanport was home to nearly 100,000 people during its existence, hosted Vanport College (now PSU) and many innovative educational and social programs. This outdoor tour begins at the Delta Park/Vanport Park & Ride and continues by carpool. Suitable for adults and children aged 10+; registration required. Meet at Delta Park / Vanport Park & Ride, 1940 N Victory Blvd. Dress for the weather; this is an outdoor tour. For information and to RSVP, visit the Columbia Slough website or call 503-281-1132.

Saturday, May 30

Exploring The Intertwine: Birds and Indigenous Plants of Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, May 30 | 9 a.m. to noon
Leaders: Mike Houck and Judy BlueHorse Skelton, Herbalist and PSU Indigenous Nations Studies faculty

This two-mile loop stroll around the Bottoms is appropriate for families and will provide a great opportunity to learn new bird calls and songs, and to learn about native plants and their importance to Native American culture. Meet Mike and Judy at the parking lot at the north end of Sellwood Park at SE Sellwood Boulevard and SE 7th Avenue at 9 a.m. sharp. Bring binoculars and, if you have one, a hand lens will be handy for plant identification.

Cycle the Well Field, Great Blue Heron Week - BES
Cycle the Well Field - BES
Cycle the Well Field

Saturday, May 30 | 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Leaders: Portland Water Bureau/Columbia Slough Watershed Council

Bring your bike and your friends for a tour of Portland’s Columbia South Shore Well Field! Experts from the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council will lead this 16-mile trip on easy terrain. Learn about the safety, functionality and history of Portland’s underground drinking water system, which supplements the main supply from Bull Run. Helmets required; light refreshments provided; recommended for ages 12+. FREE. Pre-registration required. Ride start and finish at: Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station, 9920 NE Cascades Pkwy Portland. Bring a packed lunch and dress for the weather. For more information and to RSVP, visit the Columbia Slough website or call 503-281-1132.

Great Blue Heron Rookery Outing, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve

Saturday, May 30 | 9 a.m. to noon

Celebrate Great Blue Heron Week and join bird expert Rick Balazs to view the Owl Woods heron colony. Thirty to fifty pairs of herons nest in this stand of Douglas fir trees. Rick has spent hundreds of hours monitoring the birds over the years and knows the behaviors and antics of nesting herons very well. A variety of other birds – including Bald Eagles, Osprey and songbirds – may be seen. Free (donations to the Education Center are welcomed). Adults and children over 10 years. Group size limited to 15. Call 503-681-6283 to reserve a spot. Meet at the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve Education Center, 2600 SW Hillsboro Highway, Hillsboro, OR 97123. Be prepared for a two mile (round-trip) leisurely walk over mostly flat terrain. Dress for the weather, the trails may be muddy. Bring binoculars. For more information, visit the City of Hillsboro website or contact Steve Engel at 503-681-6283 or steve.engel@hillsboro-oregon.gov.

Sunday, May 31

Springwater Trail Restoration Tour

Sunday, May 31 | 9-11 a.m.
Leader: Amy Lodholz

Birding the Springwater Trail - Mike Houck
Birding the Springwater Trail - Mike Houck

The Johnson Creek Watershed Council has seen Great Blue Herons at several recently constructed park locations in the Johnson Creek Watershed. Bikers of all ages and skills levels are invited to join a short tour of these locations. The ride will begin at Westmoreland Park and continue onto the Springwater Trail to see Tideman Johnson Park, Errol Heights, Luther Road Habitat Project and Foster Floodplain all within a 12-mile roundtrip. Pre-registration is required: please email Amy at amy@jcwc.org to sign up. The Council has two adult bicycles available for use as well. Meet at the corner of SE 22nd and Bybee in Westmoreland Park.  Bring water. For more information, call 503-652-7477, text 541-968-3530, or visit the Johnson Creek Watershed Council website and type ‘bike’ in the search box.

Sauvie Island Johnson Unit Rookery Heron Watch

Sunday, May 31 | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Leaders: Willow Elliott and Jackie Petersen

Visit one of Portland’s heron hotspots on Sauvie Island to view a large rookery actively nesting and flying to and from the Columbia River. No pre-registration necessary, just show up! Meet at the pullout on Reeder Road just across from the Marshall Beach Mobile Home park (look for a large rookery in the cottonwood trees to the west on the other side of an agricultural field). Bring binoculars and a scope if you have one, as well as rain and wind gear based on the conditions of the day. For more information, text Willow Elliott at 503-358-5848 or email salixsky@hotmail.com.

Directions: To reach the pullout, travel a total of eight miles from the Sauvie Island Bridge. You'll continue on Sauvie Island Road coming off the bridge, and then turn right on Reeder Road. Park on the west side of the road at the ODFW gate entrance to the Johnson Unit, two miles north of the Gillihan Road intersection. Note: No parking is allowed inside the mobile home park, and no access to the river is allowed through private property. Search Google Maps with "27000 NW Reeder Road, Portland OR 97231" address.

Great Blue Heron Rookery Outing, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve

Sunday, May 31 | 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Celebrate Great Blue Heron Week and join bird expert Rick Balazs to view the Owl Woods heron colony. Thirty to fifty pairs of herons nest in this stand of Douglas fir trees. Rick has spent hundreds of hours monitoring the birds over the years and knows the behaviors and antics of nesting herons very well. . A variety of other birds – including Bald Eagles, Osprey and songbirds – may be seen. Free (donations to the Education Center are welcomed). Adults and children over 10 years. Group size limited to 15. Call 503-681-6283 to reserve a spot. Meet at the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve Education Center, 2600 SW Hillsboro Highway, Hillsboro, OR 97123. Be prepared for a two mile (round-trip) leisurely walk over mostly flat terrain. Dress for the weather, the trails may be muddy. Bring binoculars. For more information, visit the City of Hillsboro website or contact Steve Engel at 503-681-6283 or steve.engel@hillsboro-oregon.gov.

Tuesday, June 2

Birding The Intertwine: Birds of Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday, June 2 | 5-8 p.m.

Mike Houck, Director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, will lead this two-mile loop stroll around the Bottoms. The event is appropriate for families and will provide a great opportunity to learn new bird calls and songs, and to see Osprey, Bald Eagles and songbirds in the Bottoms and along the Springwater on the Willamette trail.  Meet Mike Houck at the parking lot at the north end of Sellwood Park, SE Sellwood Boulevard and SE 7th Avenue at 5 p.m. sharp. Bring binoculars and, if you have one, a spotting scope.

Great Blue Herons: Their Life History and Conservation in the Portland Metro Area

Tuesday, June 2 | 7 p.m.
Leaders: Friends of Maddox Woods and Joe Liebezeit, Avian Conservation Program Manager at the Audubon Society of Portland

Followed by walk to Goat Island heron rookery. Joe will present a lecture on the life history of Great Blue Herons, conservation challenges for this species and things you can do to help protect herons. He will also report on findings from a six-year citizen science effort that monitored these majestic birds at more than 30 rookeries in the Portland-metro region. Free event, no registration required. Lecture will be held in the Community Room at West Linn Library at 1595 Burns Street, West Linn, OR 97068. For those interested, after the lecture at 8 p.m. Joe will visit the Maddox Woods Goat Island heron rookery for a sunset view of the herons; the rookery is a 10 minute walk from the library. Wear sturdy footwear and dress for weather conditions. Bring binoculars. For more information, contact Joe at jliebezeit@audubonportland.org.

Wednesday, June 3

Exploring The Intertwine: Birding The Willamette Greenway at South Waterfront

Wednesday, June 3 | 4-5:30 p.m.

Meet Mike Houck for a bird song walk along the temporary greenway trail at South Waterfront for residents and the public. Mike will point out the Great Blue Heron nesting colony on nearby Ross Island and identify birds by sight and song along the greenway. Meet on the greenway trail on the Willamette River side of the Meriwether anytime between 4 and 5:30 p.m. Bring your binoculars and spotting scopes and dress for the weather. Directions: Take the Portland streetcar, bike or drive to SW Moody and SW Curry Street and walk to the eastern end of SW Curry and onto the temporary greenway in front of the Meriwether condominiums.

Saturday, June 6

Birding The Intertwine: Birds of Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, June 6 | 8-11 a.m.

Mike Houck, Director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, will lead this two-mile loop stroll around the Bottoms. The event is appropriate for families and will provide a great opportunity to learn new bird calls and songs, and to see Osprey, Bald Eagles and songbirds in the Bottoms and along the Springwater on the Willamette trail. Meet Mike Houck at the parking lot at the north end of Sellwood Park, SE Sellwood Boulevard and SE 7th Avenue. Bring binoculars and, if you have one, a spotting scope.

Ridgefield Fourth Annual Big Paddle

Saturday, June 6 | Starts 9 a.m., runs all day

The day begins in the Big Event Tent with a Chinook Drumming and Blessing ceremony. Activities for the whole family continue with a two-hour canoe, kayak or paddleboard adventure on the Lake River; vendors and festivities at Paddler’s Village during and after the paddle; a Totally Awesome Scavenger Challenge around the Port and historic downtown Ridgefield. There will be hot food choices, Chicamarimba Band, beer garden and an anniversary celebration. Location: Port of Ridgefield at the Public Boat Launch, 5 West Mill Street in downtown Ridgefield. Bring your own canoe or kayak or rent one from Ridgefield Kayak, 360-727-4520. For more information contact Lee Knottnerus, City of Ridgefield, at 360-857-5001 or lee.knottnerus@ci.ridgefield.wa.us.

Sunday, June 7

Ross Island Regatta

Sunday, June 7 | 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Leaders: Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society of Portland, and Audubon’s new Executive Director, Nick Hardigg

Paddling the Ross Island lagoon - Mike Houck
Paddling the Ross Island lagoon - Mike Houck

Held in honor of the 29th annual Great Blue Heron Week, the Ross Island Regatta is an opportunity to enjoy a morning on the Willamette River, paddling through the slow-no wake zone on the Holgate Channel and Ross Island lagoon, around Ross Island and back to Willamette Park.  We will be looking at the Bald Eagle nest and heron nesting colony on Ross Island and listening for birds and looking for river otter along the route. The paddle is a leisurely 2.5-3 hours and is suitable for beginning paddlers and families. Life jackets required. Meet trip leaders no later than 9:30 a.m. at Willamette Park Boat Ramp to unload your canoe or kayak and get into the water by launch time.

Directions: If you are renting a canoe or kayak from Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe or the nearby Portland Kayak Company, make sure you leave plenty of time to get your craft and be at Willamette Park at 9:30 a.m. sharp to get in the river. Alder Creek Kayak: 503-285-1819 or www.aldercreek.com. Portland Kayak Company: 503-459-4050 or www.portlandkayak.com. After unloading your craft at the boat ramp, be sure to park in a CAR parking space. You will be ticketed if you park in a trailer space. Be sure to pay for parking. There are two machines near the restroom at the south end of the main parking lot. For more information, contact Mike Houck at mikehouck@urbangreenspaces.org.

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