Monday, July 9, 2012

Mobilizing Nature

After arriving, the group spent some time bird watching.
Credit: Meghan Kearney/USFWS

There are plenty of reasons why people don’t spend more time in the great outdoors, and for some, the answer is as simple as mobility. Whether you lack the transportation to travel out of a city or don’t have the physical capabilities to hit the trails “getting outside” might not seem possible. This past week, at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, we were able to tackle all of these disadvantages to getting outside!

Larry, a refuge volunteer, sharing some
of the refuge's own tadpoles
Credit: Meghan Kearney/USFWS
Reaching Out
A group of nine members of Oatfield Estates, part of the memory care unit, visited the Refuge this past week through a grant funded by the National Conservation Training Center. This grant is part of an initiative to help groups who might not ordinarily have the means to get out to the refuge, located fifteen miles outside of Portland, Oregon.

Getting Personal
After arriving on the refuge, our guests spent some time on an outdoor overlook spotting Heron and even a bald eagle! The group was then brought into one of the Refuge’s classrooms for more excitement. One of many of the Refuge’s dedicated volunteers, Larry, led an informal class about the refuge and some of its wildlife, allowing the ladies to ask questions and share personal stories of past experiences with nature.

Passing around different animal skins.
Credit: Meghan Kearney/USFWS
After passing around a set of animal skins and a bucket of tadpoles and newts (which Larry caught himself just hours before the class), the ladies enjoyed lunch under the sun just in time for Portland’s unofficial first day of summer. “Are the paths on these trails paved? Can I take my scooter out there?” asked Marge, one of the group, half humorously. She was thrilled to hear that about a mile of the Tualatin NWR trails were in-fact handicap accessible.

Viewing the refuge through a telescope.
Credit: Meghan Kearney/USFWS
Battling Barriers
At Tualatin NWR community members are encouraged to experience the natural habitat and inhabitants of the land. Workers are constantly striving to reduce barriers that might prevent you, me, or groups similar to the ladies of Oatfield Estates from experiencing the world outside. The moral of this story is: next time you feel one of these terrible barriers keeping you from getting outside, remember Marge, her scooter, and her passion to give it a go. It may be much easier to get outside than you think, and if you can’t get to it, there may just be a way to get it to you!

For more information on Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge events and programs please visit:
& Friends of the Refuge:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for featuring our Tualatin River NWR and the efforts we make to help provide access to nature for everyone.