Opportunities to Get Involved in Harney County

Eastern Oregon is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes and important bird habitats in Oregon. Portland Audubon has been working in Eastern Oregon for more than a century to protect places such as Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Steens Mountain and to recover imperiled species such as the greater sage-grouse.

Our programs are geared towards providing participants with opportunities to see and learn about the region’s natural history from outstanding naturalists  learn about important conservation issues, build understanding across the urban-rural divide and have fun. In 2020, we have a full calendar of awesome trips, events, stewardship parties, and other ways to get involved.

Questions? Contact Teresa Wicks, Eastern Oregon Field Coordinator, at twicks@audubonportland.org

Stewardship Parties

Our stewardship parties are multi-day events for folks who want to get their hands dirty. Join Audubon and local partners in restoring wildlife habitat in Harney County (and of course doing some great bird watching!)

  • July 31–Aug 3: Sod House Ranch Stewardship Party
    Help prepare Malheur National Wildlife Refuge’s Sod House Ranch visitor area for season opening. Maintain trails, clear vegetation, and work on other restoration projects. Learn more.
  • September 24–27: Semaphore Grass Planting Party
    Work with the Burns Paiute Tribe’s Natural Resources Department to plant Oregon’s rarest grass, and one of the rarest grasses in the U.S. at the Tribe’s Logan Valley property. Learn more.

To signup, contact Vicky Medley at vmedley@audubonportland.org. For more information contact Teresa Wick at twicks@audubonportland.org.

Forays

These multi-day natural history trips begin in Portland and are led by outstanding Portland Audubon naturalists. 

  • September 17–20: Dark Skies Foray: Geared toward more active adventurous participants: Camp out under the stars,track radio-collared sage-grouse, explore dark skies,  see amazing birds and learn about conservation issues in the Harney Basin. More info coming soon.
  • September 30–October 4: Steens Mountains & Alvord Desert: Visit Steens Mountain and Malheur at the peak of fall foliage. 

Community Science

We offer a variety of opportunities to work with Audubon Staff collecting data on bird populations at Malheur and in the Harney Basin

  • Project IBiS: May 9, June 6, July 3, August 15, September 5, October 3
    Join an Audubon biologist monitoring bird use of flood-irrigated wet meadows on the Silvies Floodplain just north of Malheur–some of the best birding in the basin! 
  • Malheur Shorebird Survey: June 19–21, August 28–31
    Join an Audubon Biologist monitoring shorebird use of playas and springs in important study areas at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

For more info contact Teresa Wicks at twicks@audubonportland.org.

Events

Portland Audubon leads and partners with others on a variety of natural history related events throughout the year. Plan your trip to Harney County to take advantage of these opportunities!

  • June 27: Let’s Pull Together
    Work with the local community to remove invasive weeds and improve the Burns-Hines Nature Trail. Lunch provided after the event.
  • July 17–19: Harney County After Dark
    Celebrate dark skies and all things nocturnal in the Harney Basin with a series of field trips and  events focused on the night.

For more info contact Teresa Wicks at twicks@audubonportland.org.

Bird Walks

Throughout spring and summer Audubon offers a variety of free bird walks at a variety of locations on and around Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Meet at the Safeway parking lot in Burns at 8 a.m., and we will carpool to the bird walk locations. If not interested in carpooling, meet at the designated area at 9 a.m. No sign-up necessary

  • May 2: Crystal Crane Hot Springs | Terrain: rough, no trail. Distance: 1–2 miles 
  • May 16: Radar Hill OHV trail | Terrain: rough with many steep hills. Distance: 3 miles 
  • May 23: Malheur NWR boat launch | Terrain: flat, graveled road. Distance: 3 miles
  • June 13: Diamond Craters | Terrain: rough, no trail. Distance: 1–2 miles
  • July 11: Malheur NWR Headquarters | Terrain: mixed gravel and concrete with some hills. Distance: 1 mile loop
  • July 18: Harney County Wildlife Parkway (Burns/Hines) | Terrain: flat, graveled road. Distance: 4 miles round trip
  • July 25: Crystal Crane Hot Springs | Terrain: rough, no trail. Distance: 1–2 miles

For more info contact Teresa Wicks at twicks@audubonportland.org.