Learning as we Grow

Welcome back to another excellent adventure at Yaquina Head with your special host: Christian Cortez! (Applause) This week, we had guests that are far more special than I, our beloved Eddyville Charter School! (Awwww) It is not Eddyville’s first time at Yaquina Head, however. I’ve had the pleasure of conducting a “Tide Pool School” education program for this class, where we as a group learn about the rules of the pools and go explore the different critters of Yaquina’s own tide pools. It was an amazing experience, as some of these bright children have never been to tide pools before! Afterwards, Paige and I received some wonderful thank you notes from the students of Eddyville; it was truly heartwarming and endearing to know that they’ve had a great time with us! Eddyville has returned again to YHONA for a special program of their own. The charter school has had a tradition of going to the white-fenced garden of Yaquina Head to plant an array of different plants and see them grow into the summertime. Stacy, another fellow ranger, was the lead for this program and has organized several rows of soil with the help of others. These rows would be prepared for Eddyville to dig out and place juvenile plants, and water them for good care. In addition to the garden activity, the class was split into two groups: one group going to the lighthouse for a special tour led by ranger Jayk, and another group would follow me to go bird-watching around the natural area! It’s never too early to appreciate the birds, I say.

 

Eddyville Garden Patch

 

I made sure to bring several binoculars with me so the group could share with one another. Once handing them out, I talked to them about the importance of safely handling binoculars by always wearing the strap around our necks. Next was helping each person adjust their binoculars to their needs, such as adjusting the binoculars to the appropriate interpupillary distance for their eyes and bring in/out the eyecups depending if they wore glasses or not. I had the group practice using binoculars by focusing at the top of the lighthouse ad adjusting their focus. Once we were all comfortable, I led them to different birding hot spots of the YHONA, one of them being the wooden porch on top of Cobble beach. This view gives a an amazing view to some of the “islands” we had just off the shore, including Stegosaurus rock, Seal rock, and Lion’s Head. Afterwards, we moved to the back of the lighthouse to check on the birds on top of Colony rock, as well as the birds nesting on the nearby lower rocks. Finally, we ended our tour looking over at a spot I like to call Smuggler’s Cove, since it was a very compact and hidden area that most people might miss when coming to Yaquina Head. Smuggler’s Cove is just to the left side of the parking lot by the lighthouse, looking out towards the north side. What’s special about Smuggler’s Cove is the multitude of Pelagic and Brandt’s cormorants that are nesting on the rock-faces. We hope to see some chicks sometime soon! Besides the cormorants, Eddyville had a wonderful time looking at Western gulls, Pigeon guillemots, Black oystercatchers, Turkey vultures, Song sparrows, White-crowned sparrows, Spotted towhees, and more! Us rangers had an amazing time as well, and we’re excited to see them again in the summer time to see how their garden sprout and grow!

Christian Cortez
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