Bird Fest at Tualatin River NWR

There were so many amazing things about the Bird Fest at the Tualatin River National Wildlife refuge. There was a live bird show, wagon rides, bird house building, archery, and arts and crafts.  It was a long day and I was so thankful that I was not confined to working one station.  I was at the volunteer check in, shuttle buses, wagon rides, and arts and crafts. My favorite parts of the festival were easily the last few hours.

Julio, the sassiest owl I have ever met.

Julio, the sassiest owl I have ever met.

I was in the arts and crafts room for a couple of hours. The room was so alive and full of color. The paints were out and yellow cloths with fish rubbings, known as gyotaku, hung in the back of the classroom.  Another table was covered in winged yellow and red rocks that would soon be called a pet by a child.  At the table next to the pet rocks station were two Native American women teaching anyone who wanted to learn how to make dolls and cordage out of cattails. When the crowd dulled down I definitely took an opportunity to make a gyotaku and a doll. I think they will be the best souvenirs I will acquire from Bird Fest.

Brenda excited to give her bilingual talk on the wagon ride.

Brenda excited to give her bilingual talk on the wagon ride.

For my last hour of working the volunteer fest, I spoke to the people leaving the refuge and asked them if they would kindly fill out a survey. An excited group of boys happily agreed to fill a survey out. I asked them the usual questions, how many people in your party, how did you find out about the event, will you return next year, and are there any suggestions you would like to give  so that we can improve. Though huge smiles and giggles the boys said they would definitely like to return next year and that “noting was wrong with the festival, everything was perfect.” Seeing how joyful these kids were really warmed my heart.

The different gyotaku creations of the children celebrating Bird Fest

The different gyotaku creations of the children celebrating Bird Fest

As I briskly made my way from station to station I passed many faces. A few faces in particular stuck out to me. They were the faces of two Latino families Brenda and I had met. We partook at an Earth Day Festival about a month ago in the city of Silverton, it was a 40 minute drive but we thought we’d give promoting bird fest a shot. There we spoke to a family who was very excited about nature but birds in particular and told us they would be there and they were .The other family we met exactly a week before our Bird Fest on the coast at Yaquina Head’s IMBD event. It was just so amazing to see the people we reached out to in different cities show up!

Liliana Calderon
lcalde4@illinois.edu
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