This week at the Hebo Ranger District has been my favorite so far because I got to do an interpretive walk with a ranger event completely in Spanish! We met up with a group of students and parents from Garfield at the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area to go up the Nature Conservancy Trail. During this hike, I was able to teach the students and parents about plastic and the negative effects it has on the marbled murrelet and birds in general.
Since this hike had old-growth trees in it, I was able to tell them about the life cycle of the marbled murrelet and how interesting their nesting strategy is. Rather than nesting on the ground, on cliff ledges, or even in burrows like other seabirds, the marbled murrelet will fly up to 50 miles into old-growth forests to find the perfect branch to lay their single egg. Once the marbled murrelet finds a big, mossy branch that is high up and well covered, they will create a nest in the moss by scooting around to create an indent. Since these birds have many predators–including corvids–they have adapted to circle around the area their nest is in a couple of times to avoid leading predators directly to their chicks. One of the main messages we have been sharing is that people can do their part by leaving no trace behind when they go hiking or camping since corvids are smart enough to follow people and eat whatever is left behind.
Everyone was very excited that I was able to speak to them in their native language and that they would not need to have a translator. One woman was even from the same state in Mexico that my dad is from! Being able to speak to this group was very special to me because it allowed me to connect them with nature in a way they had not been able to before, especially because most of them had not visited the national forest before. One of the members of the group told me he had lived in Corvallis for 13 years but had not explored any of the recreation areas around him, but that he was going to explore more of Oregon after the event.
Doing events like these is extremely important to me because I think it is good to encourage people who do not speak English to still come out and enjoy the natural areas around them.
Another area I was able to visit for future interpretive events was Hebo Lake. This was the location of the annual free fishing day that I was unfortunately not able to be part of but heard great things about! Many people come here to fish, camp, and even hike.