A Photo Op

Mayor's Chair

Expecting guests for the holidays? The Mayor’s Chair at Overlook Park is a great place for a picture of the whole family – line them up along the rungs.

Or have them pose next to our bear, just a little northwest of the chair.

Giving Tuesday Movement

Friends of RNWR

Until November 24th, the GivingTuesday movement is running #MyGivingStory, a new storytelling contest that will highlight acts of generosity that take place out of the public spotlight.

They are asking individuals across the country to share their personal reasons for giving, and then share those stories with their communities.

As a supporter of the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, we’d be honored if you would take this opportunity to reflect upon your commitment to our work.

The top 15 essays “liked” on Facebook will be sent to a distinguished panel of judges for final adjudication. Winners will be announced on #GivingTuesday December 1st!

Winners will receive GlobalGiving gift cards ranging from $100-500. The nonprofit they write about in their essay will receive $1,000-5,000 grants.

Upworthy will also develop and share articles featuring the two first-place winning stories.

How to Enter #MyGivingStory

Go to the contest entry form (http://woobox.com/kxdcce) or visit the #MyGivingStory tab on #GivingTuesday’s Facebook page.Post a short essay (200-words or more) responding to the question, “What inspires you to give?” In it, tell the story of a specific instance in which you supported the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in a way that was meaningful to you. Submit your essay by November 24.

Share and promote your submission on social media with #MyGivingStory and #GivingTuesday.

The top 15 essays “liked” on Facebook will be sent to a distinguished panel of judges for final adjudication.

Contact info@givingtuesday.org with any questions!

Bear at Overlook Park

bear Oct 2015

Recently I walked through Overlook Park and took these pictures of the bronze bear statue that was donated to Ridgefield by artist ‘Ratso’ Ratterman. This is not the final location for the bear, but one to let everyone know we have it and how spectacular it is. It will be permanently affixed in a suitable area for display, and at that time the artist will be honored formally.

Another addition to the park is the black metal bench that will be installed on a concrete pad along the pathway. I didn’t take a photo of it because it’s just sitting on the lawn at this time, while we wait for the concrete to cure, but the designs on the back echo the designs on the panels above the stage. Check it out when you’re downtown – the park just keeps getting better and better.

Tree Planting at the Refuge

Friends of RNWR

Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is looking for volunteers to help with tree plantings throughout the fall and winter. We will be planting 5200 native trees and shrubs to create forage and habitat for the endangered Columbian White-tailed Deer, in areas of the Refuge that are not commonly open to the public.
Our first tree planting is on October 28th, from 9am to 12:30pm. Meet at the River ‘S’ Unit contact station, down the hill at 1071 S Hillhurst Rd. Contact Aiden Forsi at Aiden_Forsi@fws.gov for more information!

Bridge to Refuge is Dedicated

It was a glorious sunny morning as the new footbridge to the Carty Unit of the Refuge was dedicated. Blessings were give by Chinookan and Cowlitz representatives, and Refuge people and others spoke.

A plaited line made of cattail fronds blocked the entrance until after the ceremony

A plaited line made of cattail fronds blocked the entrance until after the ceremony

Kids unveiled the new kiosk celebrating the Refuge

Kids unveiled the new kiosk celebrating the Refuge

Detail under the roof of the kiosk

Detail under the roof of the kiosk

Three artists stepped forward at the last minute when a panel for the kiosk was not ready in time, and created paintings to use. Left to right: Bud Fields, Beth Norwood, Kara Krieger-McGhee.

Three artists stepped forward at the last minute when a panel for the kiosk was not ready in time, and created paintings to use in the display.
Left to right: Bud Fields, Beth Norwood, Kara Krieger-McGhee.

Kids prepared to sever the plaited line made of cattail fronds that was stretched across the bridge entrance.

Kids prepared to sever the plaited line made of cattail fronds that was stretched across the bridge entrance.

After all these years, a new bridge to the Refuge!

After all these years, a new bridge to the Refuge!

BirdFest this Weekend

Friends of RNWR

BirdFest and Bluegrass is this week-end. It’s our annual celebration of the coming of fall and the wildlife that make the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge their home. Things will be jumping throughout town and the Refuge – too many to list here. A complete schedule of events can be found here.

My note cards will be for sale at the Community Center in the Ridgefield Arts Association booth. Pictures of birds will be featured, but I’ll also have a selection of other cards made from my original paintings.

Give More 24!

An Amazing Day of Giving- An Amazing Way to Support the Ridgefield Refuge!

The Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is partnered in this year’s Give More 24! Campaign online giving challenge. This event organized by the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, launches at 12 a.m. on September 24th and runs all day, so you can support us whenever it’s convenient for your schedule. It couldn’t come at a better time for the Refuge, which relies on the Friends for education and habitat restoration.

Your gift to the Friends will be supercharged!

We are asking you to rally friends and family for Friends of RNWR to help us raise crucial funds during 24 hours of local giving.

Please give whatever you can, because every gift will be multiplied through a large stretch pool – a cool $75,000—and twenty $1,000 prizes. The more money you help Friends of RNWR raise, the larger percentage of the stretch pool we will receive and more likely we are to win prize money – fund that increase opportunities for the public to enjoy and learn about the Refuge and keep habitats healthy for the wildlife we all want to protect.

It’s easy and fast to make a donation.

You can link directly to our donation page and donate by credit card: https;//www.give-more-24.org/#npo/friends-of-the-ridgefield-national-wildlife-refuge

Your donations, whether large or small, will help us ensure that we have the staff and resources to accommodate every school group that wants to bring kids to the Refuge for an outdoor experience—to restore and maintain critical wildlife habitat—and to educate people through demonstrations of the art and culture of local native peoples at the Plankhouse. All donations are 100% tax deductavble.

Help us extend our reach

Forward this message to everyone you know and encourage them to support the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Our heartfelt thanks for your support.


Help Make BirdFest a Success

Birds up close and personal, guided walks, kayak and canoe trips, Sandhill crane tours, seminars, free movies, Birder’s Marketplace, and award-winning bluegrass bands are just some of the treats awaiting you at this year’s BirdFest & Bluegrass weekend. Hone your wildlife photography skills or learn basic watercolor techniques. Explore the geology and cultural history of the Refuge. Enjoy a traditional salmon bake with drumming by members of the Chinook Indian Nation and Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde. Learn about the planned reintroduction of magnificent condors along the Columbia River. Find out what birds are talking about when they sing, chatter and squawk. Let your children explore engaging, hands-on activities or listen to skilled storytellers relate tales from the wild.   Raptors at BF

The official BirdFest schedule is available online at ridgefieldfriends.org/birdfest/ and shows you everything you’ll need to know to plan your fabulous weekend at the 2015 BirdFest & Bluegrass celebration. See you there!

Your Help Makes BirdFest a Success!

BirdFest is right around the corner, and that means we need a big flock of helpers. Increase your fun and make new friends by volunteering during part of the weekend. Here’s where we need extra hands:

  • Helping on Friday to set up the display of winning photographs from this year’s Photo Contest;
  • Greeting and orienting event guests at information tables and booths and selling Friends merchandise in Davis Park on Saturday and Sunday;
  • Helping direct visitor parking;
  • Collecting donations for the Friends during the bird show, canoe paddles, and other events;
  • Helping with event setup Saturday Morning and take-down Sunday evening;
  • Helping with the family activities in Davis Park or around the Plankhouse.

Second Sunday at the Plankhouse

Celebrate Cedar with Artist and Weaver Judy Bridges at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse on Second Sunday, Sunday, September 13th, noon to – 4 pm. Cathlapotle plankhouse

Join us for a day of demonstrations and hands-on activities celebrating an icon of the Pacific Northwest, the Western Red Cedar.

Because it can provide homes, clothing, canoes, medicine, and more, the Western Red Cedar tree is highly honored by many Native Peoples in the Northwest for its role in their life ways and cultures. Many cedar traditions are still vibrant in Native communities today. Cowlitz weaver Judy Bridges will be in the Plankhouse demonstrating cedar weaving and bark processing techniques. There will also be opportunities to try your hand at splitting a cedar log and pounding cedar bark for fiber.

At 2:00 pm, a Refuge Naturalist will lead a hike around the Oaks to Wetlands Trail, exploring the connection between people, wildlife and cedar.

New Bridge at Carty Unit


Photos by Paul Snoey

Photos by Paul Snoey

The access to the refuge was closed earlier this week.  The old span was dismantled and removed from the tracks and then the site was cleaned up.  The access was open again on Thursday.  The new walkway is easier and ADA compliant.  But the nice thing about it is the great view of the refuge.

On the west side is a bench to sit on and enjoy the refuge and Carty Lake.  Carty Lake is full of water fowl in the winter so this bench should be a great place to sit and watch. bridge w bench

The old and new bridges

new pedestrian bridge

This photo by Paul Snoey shows the old and new pedestrian bridges on the way to the Plankhouse at the Refuge. The old bridge will be torn down, and the new one (in the back) will allow access to all because of its’ shallower slope.

Blackwater Island Research Area

Blackwater Island Research Area, Sugust 9, 2015

Blackwater Island Research Area, August 9, 2015

Blackwater Island is the center of the Blackwater Island Research Natural Area that was established in 1972. This 129 acre tract is in the center of the Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose of this area is to facilitate education and scientific use. It is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife service.   Use and regulation is stricter than other areas of the Refuge. The purpose is maintaining the ecology of the area. Scientific and educational use must be with the approval of US Fish and Wildlife service.

Here is the concern: Gee Creek is the water source for the Carty Unit.   It enters the unit in the SE Corner and provides water for the pond wetland complex including the Blackwater Island area. It then reforms as a narrow creek and enters the Columbia River in the NW Corner.   Problems with Gee Creek are very low summertime flows, high levels of sediment carried into the refuge during flood events, and contaminants. Gee Creek flows through old town Ridgefield. Old town Ridgefield does not treat its stormwater and discharges it directly into the creek. Untreated stormwater contains many serious contaminants such as heavy metals, detergents, nutrients, fecal coliform, pesticides, and other contaminants that get washed from the streets. Gee Creek is much more vulnerable as summer flows are low and there is little dilution of stormwater that enters the creek.    A few of us are working with the city and encouraging them to begin some treatment options that can temporarily and then permanently improve water quality of stormwater discharges.

Photo and write up by Paul Snoey

Note from Kathy – I am amazed to see this amount of water still in the area. I expected it to be dry because of the drought.


Second Sunday Event at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse: “Traditional Technology Day”

Cathlapotle plankhouse

Join us for a day of demonstrations and hands on activities highlighting traditional technologies found across the world and throughout time.  From 12-4, the Plankhouse will be open for visitors, and there will be activities for families to connect with local culture and wildlife. In the house students from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s Lifeways class will be demonstrating carving, weaving, and Native art design, while outside visitors can try their hand throwing an atlatl, making cordage, friction fire, and watch stone tools being created by an experienced flintknapper.

At 2pm, join a Refuge Naturalist for a hike down the Oaks to Wetlands trail, and learn about  ways people have been taking care of Oak and other Refuge ecosystems since time immemorial. You can also check out the ample wildlife watching opportunities on the River ‘S’ Unit Auto Tour Driving Route. Check the Friends website ridgefieldfriends.org for maps of Refuge trails, or contact Plankhouse Director Sarah Hill at sarah_hill@fws.gov, or call (360) 887-4106.

Where:  Cathlapotle Plankhouse at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge:  28908 NW Main Ave, Ridgefield, WA 98642

When:    August 9, 2015

Time: 12pm – 4pm: Various traditional technology demonstrations and hands on activities including:

  • Carving, Weaving, and Native Art Design Demonstrations by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Lifeways students
  • Cordage Making
  • Atlatl Throwing
  • Friction Fire
  • Flintknapping

2:00 pm: Naturalist Led Hike “A Walk through the Oaks”

For wheelchair access to this event, please contact Sarah prior to the event date.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, and the house will now be open weekends from noon to 4pm. Every second Sunday of the month the Plankhouse will host a special event with speakers, guided hikes, and children’s activities. For more information on the upcoming events, visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org/plankhouse/programs .

Funding for these programs has been generously provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, the Community Foundation for SW Washington, and Umpqua Bank.

The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a modern Chinookan Plankhouse built to interpret the Chinookan village of Cathlapotle that once existed on what is today Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge property.  At the time Lewis and Clark visited Cathlapotle, it had 14 large plankhouses and a population of over 900 people.  The modern Cathlapotle Plankhouse is used to provide educational programs to youth and the general public through our Lifeways, Landscapes, and Wildlife Interpretive Program.  To learn more about the Plankhouse visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org or contact Sarah Hill at Sarah_Hill@fws.gov or (360) 887-4106.

Second Sunday Series at the Plankhouse

Confluence project

The Confluence Project: Exploring History, Culture, and Ecology along the Columbia River, presented by Colin Fogarty, Executive Director, Confluence

Sunday, July 12, 2:00 pm

“Confluence is a bold and ambitious attempt to look back seven generations as a way to look forward seven generations on … it is a call to reflect, discover and connect to this larger history. The first step in that process is to listen.”    Colin Fogarty

Join Confluence Executive Director Colin Fogarty at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse as he shares the ways that the Confluence is connecting people to place through art and education. By collaborating with Northwest communities, tribes and celebrated artist Maya Lin, Confluence is able to share stories of the Columbia River through six public art installations, educational programs, community engagement, and digital experiences.

News about Overlook Park

Salmon Faces

This is a photo of the molten glass being fired to become the inserts in the metal panels at Overlook Park. Earlier I showed the wood molds that were used – you can look back through earlier posts to find that  photo.