Youth Arts Month at Barnes and Noble Today

Ridgefield Youth Arts Month is celebrating today, Friday, March 16, at Barnes and Nobles, 7700 NE Fourth Plain Boulevard in Vancouver. This is a fund raiser as part of the proceeds from food and book sales at the store will go to support RYAM.
Come and enjoy a variety of youth arts, enjoy a snack at the B and N deli, and support Ridgefield’s youth arts programs.
We will have vouchers with our number 12343752. Use it when you make a purchase or tell them you are supporting RYAM.
Ridgefield Youth Arts Month activities will be from 6:00 – 9:00
6:00   Dance fusion
6:30   Opus school of music instrument petting zoo
6:00 – 9:00   Poet and authors meet and greet
6:00 – 9:00   Make and take art

WSU Vancouver invites public to community conversation about the opioid crisis

This is a little outside our area, but so many people are interested in this topic that I thought it was worthwhile posting.

The Initiative for Public Deliberation at Washington State University Vancouver invites the public to participate in a discussion about the opioid crisis. Small group conversations about opioid abuse in Southwest Washington will take place March 20, 22 and 23.

The same conversation will be held at four locations:

6 – 7:30 p.m. March 20, Evergreen High School, Vancouver

4 – 5:30 p.m. March 22, Hegewald Center, Stevenson

6:30 – 8 p.m. March 22, Washougal Library, Washougal

1 – 2:30 and 6 – 7:30 p.m. March 23, Cowlitz County Event Center, Longview

All forums are free and open to the public. Register by visiting the following link:

We are Stewards – part 2

I contacted Byron Brink after a Letter to the Editor he wrote to the Columbian, and asked him to expand his comments on the Refuge. This is part 2 of his thoughts.

We are Stewards of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge – Part Two.

What We Can Do to Help

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Friends of the Ridgefield NWR find good fortune in the current position of the refuge. It is bordered by Sauvie Island, the Shillapoo Wildlife Area, DNR lands, county lands, Plas Newydd Farm (that is transforming a large portion of their land into a mitigation bank called Wapato!), and the many fields we drive by in Clark and Cowlitz counties. Each of these areas acts as a travel corridor for the movement of wildlife and plants. And they act as crucial buffers to shelter the rich biodiverse landscape of the refuge.

All of us can take action to support the health of these buffer corridors. On a small scale, our own yards have the power to be corridors for wildlife:

  • Reduce the area of impervious surfaces on your property to slow water run-off and the spread of pollutants.
  • Allow that awkward ¼ acre of lawn to grow. You’ll create a pollinator’s paradise. Mow it 2-3 times a year to create a landing pad for geese and Sandhill Cranes during their migrating season.
  • Landscape with native plant species! Our native wildlife is adapted to utilizing the benefits of our native plants.

On a larger scale, we still have the ability to conserve the beautiful fields traversing our countryside. Property owners have the option to place a conservation easement on their land or protect their land in a trust. Additionally, as a community we must advocate for the preservation of land to our city leaders, and to our county leaders. We have to constantly make noise. Furthermore, we need to advocate to developers that it is critical to our community and our wildlife refuge to protect an ecologically substantial amount of open space, to minimize impervious surfaces through green roofs, pervious pavement, and smaller streets & driveways. And to develop Home Owners Association landscape areas with native plant species laid out in a way nature would have intended. Developerscollaborate with the professions of planning, civil engineering, architecture, and landscape architecture. Through this network, anything is possible.

There is a way each of us may directly work with the life of the refuge. The Friends of the Ridgefield NWR put in great effort (and have fun doing so) to enhance the habitat of, and advocate for the refuge. The Friends are a non-profit group whose mission is to “promote educational programs of the Ridgefield NWR, and protect and enhance its wildlife habitat.” Here’s what Samantha Zeiner, Administrative Assistant for the Friends, has to say of the work of their volunteers:

“Volunteering is huge, and supporting the Friends in their efforts is huge. We work so hard to make the Refuge what it is, and to support the Refuge staff as they work diligently to coordinate volunteers and to keep the Refuge maintained. Volunteers, members, and sponsors are what make it so that almost everything people enjoy about the refuge happens.”

The refuge staff and the Friends coordinate many volunteer events annually. There are few actions more satisfying than getting one’s hands dirty performing restoration work for a place you love. To get involved directly, or to give, go to

As of this moment, it is an uphill battle for us to protect the lands we love from non-native species invasion, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change. It is imperative however that we continue to fight and each of us take action. Or we will be sharing the sentiment Leopold had after the last bear of Escudillo Mountain was trapped and killed, “Escudillo still hangs on the horizon, but when you see it you no longer think of the bear. It’s only a mountain now.”

We can do this. Our collective actions will render a world in which we no longer need worry about the state of the refuge and the creatures within. A time in which we may simply enjoy in its wonderment. When we may stand to listen to the secrets the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge has to share.

Sources & Acknowledgements:

Aerts, Raf, and Olivier Honnay. “Forest Restoration, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning.” BMC Ecology 11 (2011): 29. PMC. Web. 22 Feb. 2018.

Anderson, Eric. “Questions about the Refuge.” 15 Feb. 2018. Deputy Project Leader, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex, U.S. FWS.

Leopold, Aldo. A Sand county almanac and sketches here and there. OUP, 1968.

Zeiner, Samantha. “Questions about the Refuge.” 13 Feb. 2018. Administrative Assistant, Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Article Editors: Kaylene Brink & Emma Crippen

All photos of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge contributed by Emma Crippen

Ridgefield Umpqua Closes Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the last day of business for Umpqua Bank in downtown Ridgefield. We will miss having a bank close enough to walk to, and our older citizens who don’t drive will have a problem doind their banking business.

Come down and say goodbye to the staff at the bank, especially Debbie Raffelson who has seen the building transform from to First Independent to Sterling to Umpqua. She will be going to the Salmon Creek branch, and says she’ll miss the friendly citizens here and especially the large windows looking out into greenery.

We’ll miss you!

Ridgefield School District Honors March Employee and Students of the Month

On March 13, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the March Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting.

The Employee of the Month is Jill Guccini.  Jill has been Ridgefield High School’s librarian for the past three years and is a tremendous asset to the teaching staff.  She has transformed the library into a place where students are welcome, engaged, and active.  In addition, she is helpful, personable, and friendly to all.  Jill works tirelessly to keep reading relevant and interesting for students.  She recently created a “March Madness” bracket for books (relating it to the NCAA basketball tournament).  As one member of the English Language Arts Department put it, “Jill is always available to all staff and so many students every day.  Just walking into the library at lunch says it all, but one week in particular, I saw her in action with my juniors as well.  She came into my room and gave a terrific presentation on research and then for two days, helped them research in the library.  She is so impressive!  Not sure how she does it all.”

Jill Guccini

The Ridgefield High School staff is grateful for all that Jill does for students.  It is with pride that they congratulate Jill Guccini as March’s Employee of the Month.

Students of the Month

Cash Hueneka, a second grader, is March’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  Cash loves coming to school and is eager to learn.  He comes into the classroom saying, “I love math.” He always raises his hand and is the first student to participate.  He is a super listener, follows school rules and is always willing to help others.  For these qualities, South Ridge proudly names Cash Hueneka as Student of the Month for March.

Cash Hueneka

Crosby Cody, a first grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  Crosby is a positive role model for her classmates.  She always has a smile on her face and has a positive attitude for learning.  She works hard, asks questions, and always tries her best.  In addition, she is kind, gentle and always has room for a new friend, willingly reaching out to others and making them feel welcome as a member of the classroom.  The staff and students at Union Ridge are proud to congratulate Crosby Cody for March Student of the Month honors.

Crosby Cody

Elizabeth Farley, an eighth grader, is View Ridge Middle School’s Student of the Month.  Elizabeth is a wonderful student to have in class.  She completes every assignment with excellence.  Her written work shows enthusiasm, effort and strong understanding of content.  Elizabeth challenges herself to go above and beyond in the classroom, participating in discussions and asking questions for clarification and a better understanding.  She works well in any group to which she is assigned and is a great lab partner.  In addition, she is a leader in her lab group.  Elizabeth is an outstanding role model and is a positive influence in the classroom.  View Ridge Middle School is pleased to recognize Elizabeth Farley as March Student of the Month.

Elizabeth Farley

Leah Dixon, a senior, was chosen from Ridgefield High School.  Leah has been nominated by five different staff members this school year.  As an independent student, she works to pay all of her living expenses.  Despite her difficult path, she comes to school every day with a “can-do” attitude, a warm smile and a huge heart.  One staff member says it best:  “Leah is beating the odds.  She is a picture of resilience and responsibility.  She is dedicated to completing her education while supporting herself (financially).  There are multiple times when she could have taken a short cut, but she’s stayed the course.”  Another staff member added, “Leah is an amazing student!  She comes to class every morning excited and ready to do work.” Leah is truly deserving of the honor as Ridgefield High School’s Student of the Month for March.

Leah Dixon

Ridgefield School District is grateful to its sponsor, the historic Sportsman’s Restaurant and Lounge, a local Ridgefield business owned and operated by Terry Hurd.  This is the fourth year that Hurd has provided funding to support the district’s recognition program.

Get Involved!

Many of us are dissatisfied with our current Congressional delegate. Here’s a chance to learn about an alternative.

Carolyn Long is running for Congress in the 3rd District, and she will hold a Town Hall at the Ridgefield Community Center, Saturday, March 17, 6-8 pm.

Volunteers were canvassing on Saturday, as was Carolyn. At last, someone willing to come out and talk to people!

Go to if you want to learn more.

No matter what you feel about Jamie Herrera Butler, it’s good to be informed about choices.

It would be great to see some young voters at the meeting – invite your kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews and the young adult down the street. See you there!



Planting on Gee Creek Trail

The Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership sponsored a tree and bush planting Saturday for the new section of the Gee Creek Trail between Abrams Park and Heron Ridge Drive. McKenzie Miller, Senior Environmental Educator for the partnership, lead the group of 40 volunteers for planting.   On Friday  the locations of where  the different trees and plants were to go was flagged by   Samantha Dumont the Volunteer Coordinator for the Estuary Partnership.   Some of the volunteers were Cub Scout Pack 303 of Ridgefield.  This is the first all girls group in the scouts now that boy scouts can have girls.  Instead of the usual March rain, it was nice and sunny.    Among the trees and plants  put in the ground were Hooker’s willow, Douglas Fir, Big Leaf Maple, and Red Alder.  Several tall Oregon grape plants were put in the ground as well.

The next planting event with LCEP will be having students from Union Ridge Elementary plant the remaining trees and  plants later this month.  To fully restore this area will take a lot more work and commitment.

Ridgefield Main Street Program

Please join us this Thursday, March 15, for our monthly community involvement meeting. The Port of Ridgefield’s Nelson Holmberg, Vice President – Innovation, will be our guest speaker. He will update us on all the exciting Port news, including dark fiber, the 45th & Pioneer development and the flyover bridge.
The meeting is held at The Sportsman’s, 121 N Main, 8:30-9:30 am. Complimentary coffee is served and breakfast is available. We recently changed our meeting format to be more efficient for our attendees: Welcome, Guest Speaker, Announcements.

Black History Month Provides Rich Learning Experience for Ridgefield Students

February was Black History Month, and in classrooms throughout the month, Ridgefield School District students received a multitude of instructional activities that teachers incorporated into content lessons that explored African-American experiences, culture and contributions that made an impact on the nation’s history.

At Union Ridge Elementary School, kindergartners learned the value in being different in The Crayon Box That Talked a story by Shane Derolf.  First-graders read about notable African-Americans and learned to play “Mancala”, a game with African origins.  Second- and third-graders focused on the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Ruby Bridges, African-American athletes who competed in the Olympics, and African-American women who changed history in spite of great odds from Chelsea Clinton’s book, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World.  Fourth-graders read paired-texts about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ruby Bridges.  Fifth-graders focused on famous African-American scientists, studied Martin Luther King, Jr. poetry and read articles about Black History Month.  Sixth-graders viewed a video on black history.  In music class, students learned to sing the African spiritual, “This Little Light of Mine” and songs related to the story, Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winters.

A display at Union Ridge Elementary honors notable African-Americans during Black History Month.


Artwork inspired from the book “The Crayon Box That Talked” by Mrs. Andrea McCain’s kindergarten class.

At South Ridge Elementary School, kindergartners learned about civil rights by listening to talks by community members.  First-graders read about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman.  Third-graders studied the Civil Rights movement and read What Color Is My World: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld.  Fourth-graders learned about segregation, slavery, the Underground Railroad, equality in American schools, the Civil Rights movement and peaceful protests.  They also wrote letters to Dr. King informing him of how things are different today.  Fifth-graders studied the March on Washington and read the novel March: Book One by John Lewis, then wrote narratives from a first-person perspective of a march participant.  They also researched influential African-Americans.  Sixth-graders wrote argumentative essays on different events of the Civil Rights movement.

In art classes, South Ridge’s students viewed the works of notable African-American artists such as The Migration Series No. 57 by Jacob Lawrence, The Banjo Lesson by Henry Tanner, She-Ba by Romare Bearden, and Hope Street: Church Mothers by Marie Johnson-Calloway.  In addition, they read The Great Migration: An American Story by Jacob Lawrence.  Students in K-3 learned about the life of famous abstract female artist, Alma Thomas, and students in grades 4-6 learned about Jean-Michel Basquiat, a famous graffiti artist.

At View Ridge Middle School, a themed display highlighting Black History Month was set up in the library.  English classes presented book talks about diverse authors, and students learned about the Coretta Scott King Award.  French students here and in the high school learned about French culture, history, authors, musicians and artists in francophone countries in Africa such as Burkina Faso and Cameroon.  STEM classes viewed and discussed the movie, Hidden Figures.  Students in history classes read Stolen Into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northrup, Free Black Man by Dennis and Judith Fradin and learned about abolitionists and civil rights leaders.  Math classes researched famous African-American mathematicians, and science classes focused on the life and contributions of Henrietta Lacks to HeLa cell research and gene-mapping while also learning about the contributions of other African-American women in science, engineering and technology.

Themed displays at View Ridge Middle School.

At Ridgefield High School, teacher-librarian, Jill Guccini, presented information on diversity in books.  Digital Photography students studied photos from the Civil Rights movements and their impact on society.  Students in U.S. History class created a virtual museum of the “Roaring Twenties”, connecting the influence of African-Americans on the culture and studied the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.   Theater students acted out poems celebrating black history and culture.  English classes researched African-American leaders and presented the information in class.   In Special Education, students read and discussed articles about African-American musicians that included Billie Holiday, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder.   In Physical Education, students learned about African-American athletes in a unit about breaking race barriers.

Face mugs created by Ridgefield High School art students depicting the unique style of African face jugs originated by African slave artists.

RHS art students researched stories, struggles, and successes of inspiring African-Americans of their choosing and created a piece of art around them.  Students in Introduction to Art classes learned about the history of African face jugs, a distinctive pottery style transported to America by African slave artists.  Students created face mugs in the unique style inspired by these face jugs and wrote a reflection of their artwork, citing cultural connections and differences across time and location.

K-5 English Language Arts Curriculum Materials Available for Public Review

The public is invited to review proposed English Language Arts curriculum materials, ReadyGen (2016) published by Pearson, which has been selected for classroom use in Grades K-5 in the Ridgefield School District starting in the 2018-19 school year.

Sample textbooks and evaluation materials will be available for public review at the District Office located at 2724 S. Hillhurst Road in Ridgefield, Washington, March 12-23, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday.

Library Programs March 13 to March 17

Tuesday March 13

Food for Thought: Cookbook Discussion. 6:00 p.m.-This month we will be sampling tapas from Spain and talking about recipes and techniques.

Wednesday March 14

Stitchery Group, 10:00 a.m.

Preschool Story Time, 10:30 a.m.

Ridgefield Gaming Group, 4:00 p.m.

Thursday March 15

Mahjong, 1:00 p.m.

Spanish Conversation Circle, 3:30 p.m.

UCAN’TDOTHATATTHELIBRARY, 4:00 p.m.-Altered Art-Choose a painting and add the Death Star or zombie beetles or Godzilla or…? For Tweens (ages 9-12).

Ridgefield Arts Experience, 4:00 p.m.-Sign-up by contacting Ridgefield School District Community Education to participate in a program where you make the scenery, the music, write the script, and, at the end, perform in front of an audience. Public performance at 7:00 p.m.

Friday March 16

Toddler Story Time, 10:30 a.m.

Saturday March 17

The Fabulous Moo Sisters in concert, 2:00 p.m.-Lulu Lafever will have you singing and dancing at this concert for children of all ages.

Families Drawing Together, 4:00 p.m.-We provide the pens and coloring pages. You create and take your creation home.

Thought for the Week

Ridgefield Youth Arts Month Offers Theater Production Class for Kids

Watch a children’s book come to life in a play that is entirely produced by Ridgefield students!   In “Ridgefield Arts Experience”, a Ridgefield Youth Arts class, students in Grades 3-8 learn everything that goes into a musical production.  Not only will they be performing in the play, they will also learn to create the scenery, costumes and music soundtracks.  The play is based on the children’s book “The Fish Who Could Fly:  A Tale of Discovery” by Leonard W. Lambert.  Students will perform the play at 7:00 pm towards the end of class.

The class is on Thursday, March 15th 3:00-7:30 pm in the Union Ridge Commons.  A light dinner will be provided, and copies of the book will be available for purchase.  The class is co-sponsored by Ridgefield School District, FVRL Ridgefield Library and Opus School of Music.  Register today at

Meet author Leonard W. Lambert and other authors at Ridgefield Youth Arts Night at Barnes & Noble’s Fourth Plain location in Vancouver, on Friday, March 16th from 5-9 pm.  Lambert will give a talk about the book and will be available to sign copies.


Coho Eggs Hatching

The Incubator on Riemann Road is in it’s third year. This year we were given 60,000 eggs, the most we’ve been given.  So the incubator is pretty crowded.  The photo was taken March 3rd and by today they were mostly hatched.  They will stay in the incubator for several weeks.  They look like little fish glued to orange jellybeans.  They won’t eat as they are sustained by the yolk sac.  They decide when to leave the incubator by swimming out the overflow.  Conditions on Gee Creek are very good right now and we are getting past the point of having big winter storms.  If things go well there should be thousands of fry distributed from Pioneer Street into the refuge.  There were some problems with erosion control failures on Gee Creek in October of 2016 and September of 2017 that had a bad impact on Gee Creek.  Part of the solution is making sure that going into the fall,  areas of disturbed ground  have good erosion control measures in place.

Les Greear was a teacher at Ridgefield High several decades ago.  He said  that students took the netting from the baseball field and used it to catch Coho.   According to a state fisheries biologist, there are still a few spawning adults in Gee Creek.  It is unlikely the large runs of Coho, cutthroat trout, and steelhead will ever  be anything  like they were in the past.  However, if some improvements can be made,   we can increase the populations of Coho and cutthroat trout. Two improvements that need to be made by the city  are better erosion control measures and building treatment facilities for  untreated storm water.  Trout and salmon are fish that require cold clean streams.  As such, they are indicators of the condition of the water shed.

Make it 2 M

The library will be open an extra hour on Fridays, starting immediately.

We will have a new librarian, Jessica Butler, starting this month, and the Friends of the Library are planning a ‘Meet and Greet’ welcome to her on March 27 at 4:00. Come by and say ‘hello’.

We had over 800 entries to the library’s Book Mark contest. They are on display inside the library and are very impressive. Librarian Sean McGill says it was difficult to chose a winner.