Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

BirdFest & Bluegrass

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is home to—or a migratory stop for—hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife. It’s also the home of BirdFest & Bluegrass from Friday, Oct. 6, through Sunday, Oct. 8, the annual celebration of the fall sandhill crane migration through our local wetlands. Thousands of birds and people flock to Ridgefield every year to celebrate, listen to music, enjoy craft beer, and experience wildlife first-hand against the backdrop of open habitat as far as the eye can see.

Visit the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, see the sandhill cranes dance, and paddle a kayak through some of the Refuge’s waterways. There will be expert-led bird walks, bird language workshops, an Audubon Wild Bird Show, raptor displays, and a variety of guided hikes including photography, geology, ethnobotany, and an evening hike. Kayaking and canoe river trips can be reserved in advance by visiting https://ridgefieldfriends.org/news/birdfest-bluegrass-2017-schedule-events/. There will be children’s activities and craft stations in downtown Ridgefield. The weekend will also include a watercolor workshop, a digital photography workshop, and a traditional salmon bake on Sunday. An expanded Birders’ Marketplace will offer garden items, pottery, art, photography, birdhouses, clothes, books, and more. Food vendors will be open throughout the weekend as well as during the Saturday Farmers Market.

Sandhill Crane Tours give guests an exclusive opportunity to visit an area of the refuge not often open to the public. BirdFest is the only time the general public is able to visit this area for a unique wildlife viewing experience that has become one of the festival’s signature events. Reservations can be made at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/friends-of-the-ridgefield-national-wildlife-refuge-14684957139.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, you can see Hitchcock’s “The Birds” at the Old Liberty Theater, followed at 9 p.m. by the Bluegrass Band Whiskey Achievers playing at the Sportsman’s Steakhouse & Saloon. On Saturday, Oct. 7, there will be bluegrass jammers playing between the Old Liberty and the Sportsman’s Steakhouse from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., the Brian Oberlin Bluegrass Trio will be at the the Old Liberty, followed by Jeff Scroggins and Colorado. At 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, the documentary The Promised Lands will be shown free of charge at the Old Liberty.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, go to https://ridgefieldfriends.org/events/birdfest-bluegrass/.

BirdFest & Bluegrass

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is home to—or a migratory stop for—hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife. It’s also the home of BirdFest & Bluegrass from Friday, Oct. 6, through Sunday, Oct. 8, the annual celebration of the fall sandhill crane migration through our local wetlands. Thousands of birds and people flock to Ridgefield every year to celebrate, listen to music, enjoy craft beer, and experience wildlife first-hand against the backdrop of open habitat as far as the eye can see.

Visit the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, see the sandhill cranes dance, and paddle a kayak through some of the Refuge’s waterways. There will be expert-led bird walks, bird language workshops, an Audubon Wild Bird Show, raptor displays, and a variety of guided hikes including photography, geology, ethnobotany, and an evening hike. Kayaking and canoe river trips can be reserved in advance by visiting https://ridgefieldfriends.org/news/birdfest-bluegrass-2017-schedule-events/. There will be children’s activities and craft stations in downtown Ridgefield. The weekend will also include a watercolor workshop, a digital photography workshop, and a traditional salmon bake on Sunday. An expanded Birders’ Marketplace will offer garden items, pottery, art, photography, birdhouses, clothes, books, and more. Food vendors will be open throughout the weekend as well as during the Saturday Farmers Market.

Sandhill Crane Tours give guests an exclusive opportunity to visit an area of the refuge not often open to the public. BirdFest is the only time the general public is able to visit this area for a unique wildlife viewing experience that has become one of the festival’s signature events. Reservations can be made at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/friends-of-the-ridgefield-national-wildlife-refuge-14684957139.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, you can see Hitchcock’s “The Birds” at the Old Liberty Theater, followed at 9 p.m. by the Bluegrass Band Whiskey Achievers playing at the Sportsman’s Steakhouse & Saloon. On Saturday, Oct. 7, there will be bluegrass jammers playing between the Old Liberty and the Sportsman’s Steakhouse from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., the Brian Oberlin Bluegrass Trio will be at the the Old Liberty, followed by Jeff Scroggins and Colorado. At 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, the documentary The Promised Lands will be shown free of charge at the Old Liberty.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, go to https://ridgefieldfriends.org/events/birdfest-bluegrass/.

Above image: sandhill cranes in flight

Kiwa Trail Night Hike

What happens at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge after dark? Nope, there aren’t any vampires (at least that we know of), but there are probably a few bats, which you might have the pleasure of seeing during a Night Hike on the Kiwa Trail, happening from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6.

The Refuge’s Kiwa Trail may be a familiar trail by day, but it’s a whole new experience at night with the beautifully haunting sounds of bats, owls, and coyotes, not to mention mysterious rustlings in the brush from nocturnal animals like raccoons and opossums. There will be a full moon, perfect for the “Planet Walk,” (the evening’s theme), and you’ll encounter wildlife not normally encountered during the daytime on the Auto Tour Route. There will be a good deal of walking.

Hikers should bring an extra layer of clothes and wear comfortable walking shoes—the group will be walking for a full hour. Also a good idea: a flashlight, bug repellent, and binoculars. The hikes are free and family-friendly—all ages are welcome!—but space is limited to 20 people and reservations are required. For more information, contact Sean_Davis@fws.gov.

Kiwa Trail Night Hike

What happens at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge after dark? Nope, there aren’t any vampires (at least that we know of), but there are probably a few bats, which you might have the pleasure of seeing during a Night Hike on the Kiwa Trail, happening from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6.

The Refuge’s Kiwa Trail may be a familiar trail by day, but it’s a whole new experience at night with the beautifully haunting sounds of bats, owls, and coyotes, not to mention mysterious rustlings in the brush from nocturnal animals like raccoons and opossums. There will be a full moon, perfect for the “Planet Walk,” (the evening’s theme), and you’ll encounter wildlife not normally encountered during the daytime on the Auto Tour Route. There will be a good deal of walking.

Hikers should bring an extra layer of clothes and wear comfortable walking shoes—the group will be walking for a full hour. Also a good idea: a flashlight, bug repellent, and binoculars. The hikes are free and family-friendly—all ages are welcome!—but space is limited to 20 people and reservations are required. For more information, contact Sean_Davis@fws.gov.

Evening Presentation & Night Hike at the Refuge

Get on your boots and grab your flashlights…or just enjoy the velvety soft evening during a special evening presentation and night hike, beginning at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, located in the Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The activity goes from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 26.

A special evening presentation—“Beauty, Bounty, and Biodiversity”—will begin at 7 p.m. Renowned ethnobotanist and author Kat Anderson will share connections between California and Pacific Northwest Tribes by examining traditionally managed edible wildflower gardens of California. She will also explore the implications that these gardens have for fostering pollinator habitat, increasing biodiversity, and the ways in which these plants have evolved to meet the needs of people. Anderson has a Ph.D. in Wildland Resource Science from UC Berkeley and has conducted field work with tribes in California and Washington for over 25 years, documenting their detailed traditional ecological knowledge and wildlands stewardship practices. She is author of Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources. 

Then, at 8:30 p.m., the Refuge will host a “Refuge at Dusk” night hike. Explore the Oaks to Wetlands trail at dusk on this naturalist-guided hike. Space is limited, so please RSVP to Sarah_Hill@fws.gov to secure your spot for the hike. The hike will last about an hour, and participants should dress for the weather (and maybe bring mosquito repellant).

The refuge entrance fee ($3) applies for both the hike and the ethnobotany presentation. Participants may attend one or both activities. This event is hosted by Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex and its partner organization, the Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Naturalist-led Birding Walk

Spring birding hikes led by naturalist Ron Escano will be offered at Ridgefield and Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuges. Whether you are new to birding or have been watching them your whole life, Escano will share easy and interesting ways to learn about the amazing world of our feathered friends. A retired USFWS biologist and life long birder, Escano has been leading these walks for over a decade at the Refuge and for the Audubon Society. Join him on local trails to find out who might be flying in!

All hikes meet at the respective trailheads at 8 a.m. and last between two and three hours. You can find more information about the dates, times, and locations of each birding hike at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge website or by clicking here: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Ridgefield/visit/naturalist_led_hikes.html. In the meantime, here’s a short list to help you plan your springtime birdwatching:

Sign up by calling 360-887-4106 or emailing Josie_Finley@fws.gov. There is no charge for these walks, but the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge does have an entrance fee of $3 per vehicle (although the fee is waived if you have a Federal Lands Pass or Refuge Annual Pass). The Kiwa trail is halfway around the Auto Tour Route, so allow an extra 15 minutes to pay your entrance fee and make your way to the trailhead.

Naturalist-led Spring Birding Walk

Spring birding hikes led by naturalist Ron Escano will be offered at Ridgefield and Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuges. Whether you are new to birding or have been watching them your whole life, Escano will share easy and interesting ways to learn about the amazing world of our feathered friends. A retired USFWS biologist and life long birder, Escano has been leading these walks for over a decade at the Refuge and for the Audubon Society. Join him on local trails to find out who might be flying in!

All hikes meet at the respective trailheads at 8 a.m. and last between two and three hours. You can find more information about the dates, times, and locations of each birding hike at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge website or by clicking here: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Ridgefield/visit/naturalist_led_hikes.html. In the meantime, here’s a short list to help you plan your springtime birdwatching:

Sign up by calling 360-887-4106 or emailing Josie_Finley@fws.gov. There is no charge for these walks, but the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge does have an entrance fee of $3 per vehicle (although the fee is waived if you have a Federal Lands Pass or Refuge Annual Pass). The Kiwa trail is halfway around the Auto Tour Route, so allow an extra 15 minutes to pay your entrance fee and make your way to the trailhead.

Naturalist-led Birding Walks

Spring birding hikes led by naturalist Ron Escano will be offered at Ridgefield and Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuges. Whether you are new to birding or have been watching them your whole life, Escano will share easy and interesting ways to learn about the amazing world of our feathered friends. A retired USFWS biologist and life long birder, Escano has been leading these walks for over a decade at the Refuge and for the Audubon Society. Join him on local trails to find out who might be flying in!

All hikes meet at the respective trailheads at 8 a.m. and last between two and three hours. You can find more information about the dates, times, and locations of each birding hike at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge website or by clicking here: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Ridgefield/visit/naturalist_led_hikes.html. In the meantime, here’s a short list to help you plan your springtime birdwatching:

Sign up by calling 360-887-4106 or emailing Josie_Finley@fws.gov. There is no charge for these walks, but the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge does have an entrance fee of $3 per vehicle (although the fee is waived if you have a Federal Lands Pass or Refuge Annual Pass). The Kiwa trail is halfway around the Auto Tour Route, so allow an extra 15 minutes to pay your entrance fee and make your way to the trailhead.

Above image: a snowy egret on the prowl for little fish

Mother’s Day at Ridgefield NWR

Take Mom for a walk, a talk, and wildlife watching at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge this Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14. Meet at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, where from noon to 4 p.m. there will be plankhouse tours, kids’ activities, and wild tea samples. At 1 p.m., enjoy a “Tending the Wild” walk and talk about the different ways Chinookan women cared for their plant relatives—foraging and cultivating plants to use as herbs, medicines, and food. At 2 p.m. there will be a guided Family Nature Walk, and at 3 p.m. there will be a Soothing Herbal Salve-Making demonstration.

There will be plenty of way for families to connect with Chinookan culture and appreciate local flora and fauna, plus ample wildlife watching opportunities on Refuge hiking trails. For more information, check the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge website at ridgefieldfriends.org for maps of refuge trails, contact Plankhouse Coordinator Sarah Hill at sarah_hill@fws.gov, or call 360-887-4106.

For more details about monthly family activities, nature walks, and birding hikes at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse and in the Ridgfield National Wildlife Refuge, visit ridgefieldfriends.org.

Cathlapotle Plankhouse Spring Opening Celebration

What’s a Cathlapotle? It refers to the Cathlapotle people who lived in a village along the banks of the Columbia River in what is now Ridgefield. More than a decade ago, volunteers erected a traditional Chinookan Plankhouse so that visitors to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge could understand what life was like for the native peoples who inhabited this land.

Sunday, April 16, is the Cathlapotle Plankhouse‘s Spring Opening Celebration with free tours, hikes, and children’s activities. This year marks the Cathlapotle Plankhouse’s 12th anniversary, and the plankhouse will now be open weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Every second Sunday of the month, there’ll be a special event with speakers, guided hikes, and kids’ activities. For more information on upcoming events, visit https://ridgefieldfriends.org/events/. Refuge admission is $3 per vehicle. Here’s what’s planned for Sunday:

  • Plankhouse tours and children’s activities, noon to 4 p.m.: tour the Plankhouse on your own or guided by our experienced volunteers. Children’s activities will be available as well.
  • Springtime “first foods” display, noon to 4 p.m.: learn about springtime foods of Chinookan Peoples at hands-on stations throughout the Plankhouse, and sample some stinging nettle tea
  • Naturalist-led family hike, “A Walk Through the Oaks,” 1 to 2 p.m.: join a naturalist on the trail to learn about (and hopefully see!) the Refuge’s wildlife. Meet in front of the Plankhouse.
  • Spring birding hike, 3 p.m.: This two-hour birding walk will focus on bird language as well as visual and auditory identification of common spring birds. All birding levels are welcome. Participants should be prepared for a two- mile hike on moderately uneven terrain. Meet at the Plankhouse.

To learn more about the Plankhouse, visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org or contact Sarah Hill at Sarah_Hill@fws.gov or 360-887-4106. For wheelchair access to this event, contact Hill. The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is located at 28908 N.W. Main Ave. in Ridgefield.

Volunteer Training for Local Wildlife Refuges

Volunteers play a critical role in welcoming first-time visitors who are just discovering the beauty and splendor of the Ridgefield and Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuges—as well as those who are renewing their connection with nature through regular visits. You can share the wonder of our magnificent public lands by training to be a volunteer. Volunteers teach students, engage visitors, help with on and offsite events, and much more. Volunteer training sessions for both refuges are being held throughout this month. All sessions are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Here’s the schedule:

  • April 1: Connecting People to Nature
  • April 8: Culture & Tech of the Lower Columbia
  • April 15: Wetlands & Wildlife
  • April 22: Wildife of Oak Woodlands

For more information, details on location for each training session, and to register, e-mail RidgefieldVolunteer@fws.gov. Training is sponsored by the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex and its partners, the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and the Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards.

Explore for Free in Honor of Veterans Day

A fee-free day (or weekend) is when forests, parks, refuges, and rangelands offer free entry or waive the standard amenity fee for visitors, so whether you have an annual refuge pass or just pay the $3 fee when you visit Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, you get this weekend off. That means its free to enter the refuge on Friday, Nov. 11, Saturday, Nov. 12, and Sunday, Nov. 13. The refuge is open from dawn until dusk, every day.

“We honor our veterans each Nov. 11 and every other day of the year,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We hope that this day will serve as a way for our veterans and other visitors to find our national forests and grasslands as a year-round respite, a place where they can take time out for themselves.”

The National Park Service at Fort Vancouver is also offering a fee-free day just for Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day—as are all national parks. Other federal land management agencies that will offer fee-free days in 2016 are the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service. You can click on the links for each agency for details about free days.

Photo credit: Eve Turek, courtesy of the USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System

Fee-free days at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, Fort Vancouver

A fee-free day (or weekend) is when forests, parks, refuges, and rangelands offer free entry or waive the standard amenity fee for visitors, so whether you have an annual refuge pass or just pay the $3 fee when you visit Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, you get this weekend off. That means its free to enter the refuge on Friday, Nov. 11, Saturday, Nov. 12, and Sunday, Nov. 13. The refuge is open from dawn until dusk, every day.

“We honor our veterans each Nov. 11 and every other day of the year,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We hope that this day will serve as a way for our veterans and other visitors to find our national forests and grasslands as a year-round respite, a place where they can take time out for themselves.”

The National Park Service at Fort Vancouver is also offering a fee-free day just for Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day—as are all national parks. Other federal land management agencies that will offer fee-free days in 2016 are the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service. You can click on the links for each agency for details about free days.

Volunteer Work Party: Invasive Species Removal in Ridgefield

Help keep the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge‘s beautiful wetlands healthy and welcoming to wildlife by searching for and removing invasive plant species like English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, and reed canarygrass. Work alongside conservationists while learning about native wildlife management. There’s a volunteer work party from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the refuge’s River S Unit, located at 1071 S. Hillhurst Rd. in Ridgefield.

Volunteers should wear waterproof boots (although some are also available on-site) and dress for the weather, which is forecast to be a balmy 83º. Gloves, snacks, and drinks will be provided to keep you fueled up—but extra water is a good idea.

Volunteers will meet at the visitor kiosk. First-time volunteers should arrive a little before 9 a.m. to fill out paperwork. Youth under the age of 18 are welcome to participate as long as they have must aperwork signed by a parent or guardian in order to volunteer. Registration is encouraged. To register or for more information, email ridgefieldbulrush@gmail.com or click here.

Keep Ridgefield’s Wetlands Healthy

Help keep the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge‘s beautiful wetlands healthy and welcoming to wildlife by searching for and removing invasive plant species like English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, and reed canarygrass. Work alongside conservationists while learning about native wildlife management. There’s a volunteer work party from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the refuge’s River S Unit, located at 1071 S. Hillhurst Rd. in Ridgefield.

Volunteers should wear waterproof boots (although some are also available on-site) and dress for the weather, which is forecast to be a balmy 83º. Gloves, snacks, and drinks will be provided to keep you fueled up—but extra water is a good idea.

Volunteers will meet at the visitor kiosk. First-time volunteers should arrive a little before 9 a.m. to fill out paperwork. Youth under the age of 18 are welcome to participate as long as they have must aperwork signed by a parent or guardian in order to volunteer. Registration is encouraged. To register or for more information, email ridgefieldbulrush@gmail.com or click here.

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge Photo Contest

Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge has just announced its Tenth Annual Photo Contest, sponsored by Pro Photo Supply. Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit their favorite nature images taken within the boundaries of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge—over 5,000 acres of marshes, grasslands, and woodlands along the Columbia River floodplain.

Up to six digital images may be entered into either our adult or youth contests. Prizes will be awarded for the top three images in each category, and will be in the form of gift cards from Pro Photo Supply: $300 for the first place adult prize and $100 for the first place youth prize, with additional prizes offered for second, third, and honorable mention. The submission deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 6. Upload digital JPG images (five megabytes or less) to www.prophotosupply.com. More information can be found at http://ridgefieldfriends.org/?page_id=21.

All winning entries will be announced and prizes awarded during the Birdfest & Bluegrass event in Ridgefield, set for the first weekend in October. Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting, protecting, and enhancing the refuge and its wildlife habitat and to broadening public awareness and participation in its environmental, cultural, and educational opportunities.

Mother’s Day at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Take Mom for a walk, a talk, and wildlife watching at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge this Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8. There will family-friendly activities from noon to 4 p.m. with a focus on Native American culture and the beautiful flora and fauna of the Refuge.

From noon to 4 p.m., families can enjoy free Plankhouse Tours and children’s activities led by Refuge volunteers. At 1 p.m. inside the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, doctoral student Tiffany Fulkerson will explore the relationship between women’s labor and their social power through evidence in the archaeological record. At 2 p.m., the whole family can join an Ethnobotany Hike led by a Refuge naturalist; the group will walk the Oaks to Wetlands Trail discussing spring plants and their relationship with Chinookan culture. Participants should meet at the Plankhouse be prepared for a two-mile hike on moderately uneven terrain.

The Plankhouse—a detailed, true-to-life reproduction of ancient Chinookan plankhouses—is located in the River S Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge at 28908 N.W. Main Ave. in Ridgefield. Refuge admission is $3 per vehicle. Check the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge website at ridgefieldfriends.org for maps of refuge trails and driving tours. For more information about this and other events, contact Plankhouse Coordinator Sarah Hill at sarah_hill@fws.gov or call 360-887-4106.

 

Mother’s Day at the Refuge

Take Mom for a walk, a talk, and wildlife watching at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge this Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8. There will family-friendly activities from noon to 4 p.m. with a focus on Native American culture and the beautiful flora and fauna of the Refuge.

From noon to 4 p.m., families can enjoy free Plankhouse tours and children’s activities led by Refuge volunteers. At 1 p.m. inside the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, doctoral student Tiffany Fulkerson will explore the relationship between women’s labor and their social power through evidence in the archaeological record. At 2 p.m., the whole family can join an Ethnobotany Hike led by a Refuge naturalist; the group will walk the Oaks to Wetlands Trail discussing spring plants and their relationship with Chinookan culture. Participants should meet at the Plankhouse be prepared for a two-mile hike on moderately uneven terrain.

The Plankhouse—a detailed, true-to-life reproduction of ancient Chinookan plankhouses—is located in the River S Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge at 28908 N.W. Main Ave. in Ridgefield. Refuge admission is $3 per vehicle. Check the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge website at ridgefieldfriends.org for maps of refuge trails and driving tours. For more information about this and other events, contact Plankhouse Coordinator Sarah Hill at sarah_hill@fws.gov or call 360-887-4106.

Volunteer at the Refuge

Volunteers play a critical role in welcoming first-time visitors who are just discovering the beauty and splendor of the Ridgefield and Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuges—as well as those who are renewing their connection with nature through regular visits. You can share the wonder of our magnificent public lands by training to be a volunteer.  Volunteer training sessions for both refuges are being held throughout this month. Here’s the schedule:

  • Cathlapotle Plankhouse Volunteer Training: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. The Plankhouse at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge provides a place to celebrate, learn about, and interact with local Native American culture. Volunteers lead learning and discovery on the weekends with the public, or during the week with school groups. No prior experience is needed to join this team; just bring your interest in culture and nature, and refuge staff will provide all the training. RSVP to Sarah Hill at (360) 887-4106 or Sarah_Hill@fws.gov.
  •  Volunteer Naturalist Training: Fridays, April 8, 15, 22, and 29. Thousands of adults and school children visit our local refuges annually and volunteers are the ones on-site to answer questions and swap stories. Share your passion for nature by leading guided public walks, working with schoolchildren, or simply greeting people on trails and in the contact station. This training will give you the necessary skills and knowledge to serve at both Ridgefield and Steigerwald Lake Refuges. RSVP to Josie Finley at (360) 887-4106 or Josie_Finley@fws.gov.

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge Store Now Open

Do you wish you had more ways to show your love of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge? (I mean, besides going there and seeing all the beautiful birds and wildlife.) Don’t you wish you had…like a t-shirt or something? Well, your wish can now come true, because the Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge have just announced that its online store is now open for business. You can now purchase, with the click of a button, a Chinookan Steller’s Jay t-shirt (pictured above), as well as the Pelican Brewing Company‘s 50th Anniversary t-shirt and pint glass (in honor of the Pelican Brewing Company’s support of the Refuge’s 50th anniversary).

The 100% cotton Pelican Brewing t-shirt is $20, plus shipping and handling, and the pint glass is $5, plus shipping and handling. The Chinookan Jay t-shirt—designed by Native American artist Greg A. Robinson—is $15 plus shipping and handling and is also made from pure cotton. All items are available only as long as supplies last. Proceeds from all online sales will help support the Friends of the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge’s education and restoration programs at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. Visit the online store at www.freewebstore.org/friends-of-ridgefield-national-wildlife-refuge.

The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge was established on May 18, 1965, by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to provide winter habitat for Dusky Canada Geese and other wildlife. Today, the Refuge preserves over 5,000 acres of diverse habitats and archaeological sites alongside the Columbia River. The Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge is continuing a legacy of stewardship that began with the Chinookan Peoples of the lower Columbia River, who have tended to the lands in this area for years without count. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge currently manage the Refuge as both a sanctuary for wildlife and an area for people seeking to connect with nature.