I can’t believe that it has already been a month and a half since I have arrived to the Central coast of Oregon. It has been amazing learning about the Siuslaw National Forest and all that inhabits it. It has been fun getting to learn and visit various areas of the Siuslaw, participate in an annual tradition for elementary school kids of eradicating a nasty invasive species and meeting many of the awesome dedicated people that have been working here.
This past Friday was Arbor day and I got to take long hike into an old-growth forest. My friend Steve, one of the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center volunteers, told me about some mysterious goop on a tree so I jumped at the chance to go investigate. The Cook’s Ridge trail is about two and a half miles away from the Visitor center and if you really felt like walking you could continue onto Gwynn Creek trail which takes you about four more miles to return to the Visitor Center. Cook’s Ridge was the perfect distance because I still had to help prepare for our event the next day. It was too beautiful out to resist not going out. During our walk I heard a few birds that I could ID like varied thrush, golden-crowned kinglets and I relearned winter wren because we were lucky enough to spot one. I enjoyed watching the change in the plant species but I was happy when we finally reached the area where the tree was. The mysterious substance was pretty weird. It was shiny and waxy on one side but matte on the other. The only thing I could think to do was to touch it, to see if it was actually wet. But after I took some pictures I went back and to my surprise Smokey the Bear had arrived. He flew into town to help us out with the Family Fun day event we were participating in. We showed him what we were up to at the Cape, he gave me some inspiring words for the season and then he left to explore and get ready for the next day.
Family Fun day was down in Coos Bay, which is the southern most area of the Siuslaw National Forest. We had a whole little area for animal skull, pelts, plastic molds of their paws. The next table had a touch box feel around a few boxes and try and guess what is in there. People really loved it. We also had replicas of what salmon redd (nest) or marbled murrelet egg and nest look like. I even got a chance to test out my summer program. This event was held to help create a relationship between kids and nature as a place of healing. So I was happy when they left our booth with a smile on their face. My favorite interaction was with two little boys about four or five years old because they were really inquisitive and asked me a lot of questions. I have never worked with kids before but it was fun talking to them and getting them interested in a small mysterious bird. It was a a beautiful day and we had a great turn out.