Digging Deeper Around Town

Tap your inner child by digging deeper and exploring the world around you through workshops, outings, and stewardship opportunities. Throughout the Portland area organizations will inspire you and pique your curiosity about the lands you call home.  The event list below will be updated periodically so please check back regularly.  Most events require registration and some may have a small fee.  Website links by organizational name follows the calendar event listings. Friends of Tanner Springs is not affiliated with these organizations—we just like learning from them.


eBird Essentials Free Course and monthly challenge
Beginning in January

Discover how eBird can support your passion for birds and how your participation can help us better understand them. This free course guides you through how to get the most out of your eBirding experiences and invites you to become a part of this worldwide project. Birder, bird watcher, or bird lover, it doesn’t matter—this course is for you. Whether you watch birds at your feeder or on the way to work, or travel miles for that one bird you can’t wait to see, eBird can help. You can help Tanner Springs Park post sightings.

Native Plant Center Volunteer Venture
Saturday, January 26th, 2019
9:00 am to 1:00 pm 

Native Plant Center, 2661 SW Borland Rd, Tualatin

Volunteer at Metro’s Native Plant Center and help care for rare native seeds, bulbs and plant materials that support regional restoration projects. Fall activities include harvesting and planting native bulbs, cleaning seeds and transplanting seedlings. No experience is needed. Gloves, tools, water and snack provided. All ages. Free. Registration required.

Amphibian Survey Orientation
Saturday, January 26th 2019
9:30 am to 12:00 pm 

Metro Regional Center, 600 NE Grand Ave

Learn the basics to volunteer as an amphibian survey volunteer. From late January through April, volunteers pull on chest waders and visit wetlands throughout the region to search for four types of frog and salamander egg masses. The four amphibians serve as indicator species, which can be used to help gauge whether regional restoration efforts are helping more native amphibians thrive. It also helps scientists survey their numbers as well as the overall health of wetlands in the region. The orientation will cover amphibian egg mass identification, survey techniques and field methods. Trained volunteers are then asked to conduct at least four separate surveys throughout the winter totaling approximately 12 to 25 hours. In partnership with The Wetlands Conservancy. No field experience required. Ages 16 and older. Registration required.

Oregon Master Naturalist Program
January 22nd through April 12th, 2019
Online, instructor-led classes
Oregon State University Extension Service

The Mission of the Oregon Master Naturalist Program is to develop a statewide corps of knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated volunteers who enrich their communities and enhance public awareness of Oregon’s natural resources through conservation education, scientific inquiry, and stewardship activities. The certification program has four steps: 1. Online course of the natural history and resource management in Oregon. 2. Ecoregion field course. 3. Volunteer program of 40 hours. 4.  Certification maintenance. For more information on requirements to become a certified Oregon Master Naturalist, visit the Extension Service Oregon Master Naturalist site. On-line fee $325, Ecoregion fee $250. Inquire about scholarships for ecoregion courses.


Native Plant Center Volunteer Ventures
Saturday, February 2nd and 9th, and 23rd 2019
9:00 am to 1:00 pm 

Native Plant Center, 2661 SW Borland Rd, Tualatin

Volunteer at Metro’s Native Plant Center and help care for rare native seeds, bulbs and plant materials that support regional restoration projects. Fall activities include harvesting and planting native bulbs, cleaning seeds and transplanting seedlings. No experience is needed. Gloves, tools, water and snack provided. All ages. Free. Registration required.

Raptor Road Trip
Saturday, February 9th, 2019
10:00 am to 2:00 pm 

17100 NW Sauvie Island Road, Sauvie Island

Explore Sauvie Island in search of magnificent eagles, hawks and falcons. Naturalists and hawk experts host activities at three sites around the island. Enjoy guided bird viewing and see hawk identification displays. Free hot drinks and donuts in the morning. Event check-in is at Kruger’s Farm Market. You’ll receive a parking permit, event guide, birding map and picture handouts. Bring binoculars if you have them, dress for the weather and allow about three hours to visit all the stations. Two of the three stations are wheelchair accessible. Sponsored by the Audubon Society of Portland, Metro and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Cost: $10 per vehicle, cash only. Ages: all ages. Registration is not required.

17th Annual Urban Ecology & Conservation Symposium
Monday, February 11, 2019
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Portland State University, 1825 SW Broadway, Portland

The symposium focuses on urban environmental issues and the practical application of related ecological and social science research in the Portland/Vancouver region. This year’s keynote speakers include Dr. Celeste Mazzacano, environmental scientist and educator, and Dr. Robert Michael Pyle, award-winning author and founder of the Xerces Society. Register Now! Special student and volunteer rates are available.

Early registration rates through January 14, 2019 (includes lunch) General $45   Student: $15   Volunteer*: $10
Regular registration rates January 15-28, 2019 (includes lunch) General: $60  Student: $15
Late registration (including at-the-door) (does not include lunch) General: $60 Student: $15

Institute for Applied Ecology
Thursday February 14, 6 pm – 7 pm –
IAE’s own Tom Kaye will present “From Extinction to Recovery: Reintroducing the golden paintbrush to Oregon” at Straub Environmental Center in Salem, Oregon. Come hear a native plant success story.


Native Plant Center Volunteer Ventures
Saturday, March 2nd, 16th, and 30th, 2019
9:00 am to 1:00 pm 

Native Plant Center, 2661 SW Borland Rd, Tualatin
Volunteer at Metro’s Native Plant Center and help care for rare native seeds, bulbs and plant materials that support regional restoration projects. Fall activities include harvesting and planting native bulbs, cleaning seeds and transplanting seedlings. No experience is needed. Gloves, tools, water and snack provided. All ages. Free. Registration required.

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21st Annual Watershed Wide – Restoration Extreme!
March 2nd, 2019
8:45 am to 12:00 pm 

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Join Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s largest restoration event of the year! Johnson Creek is an incredibly unique urban waterway that is home to a lot of very special wildlife (including threatened and endangered salmon) There is a 24 year legacy of grassroots progress to restore, repair, and clean this 26 mile long watershed-all by wonderful humans who love it by weeding, planting, and mulching. All ages and family friendly. Free. Tools and snacks provided. Registration necessary.

Bird Language for Beginners
Sunday, March 3, 2019
9:30 am to 12:30 pm 

Cooper Mountain Nature Park

March days have a rapid increase in daylight. Experience how the birds react to the expanding daylight by ramping up their vocal activity, and learn how to recognize many of their distinct songs and alarm patterns. Class will be both indoors and outdoors. Meet at the Nature House. Cost: $10/person. Ages: ages 12 and older. Advanced registration is required. Class size is limited to 15.

Nature of Love
Sunday, March 14th, 2019
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm 

Cooper Mountain Nature Park

Each spring, see and hear love everywhere: in the bloom of flowers, the songs of birds and the chorus of frogs. Enjoy a glass of wine and views of the Chehalem Mountains at sunset, as you learn about the ways animals communicate to find their mates, the lengths they will travel to find love and the amazing adaptations nature will go through to reproduce. Cost: $19/person. Advanced registration is required. 


SCIENCE TALK ’19 Annual Conference
April 4th to 5th, 2019
Early bird registration begins November 15th
Tiffany Center, 1410 SW Morrison St, Portland

Hello Science Talkers! The theme for this year’s conference is Community. SCIENCE TALK ’18  will unite scientists, science communicators, journalists, policymakers, students, and others for two exciting days of learning how to talk science to non-scientists or those outside your discipline. It will feature presentations, workshops, expert panels, and more. Come network with other like-minded individuals and learn new ways to tackle some of the impediments scientists face every day. $75 for students (estimate), $250 for professionals (estimate).

Park after Dark
Sunday, April 6th, 2019
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm 

Cooper Mountain Nature Park

Journey into the forest to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature at night. Spend the first part of the program indoors learning about nocturnal residents, then head out into the park for a guided night hike. Cost: $11/personAges: 6 and older. Advanced registration is required. 

Soil School
Saturday, April 13th, 2019
PCC Rock Creek Event Center, 17705 NW Springville Rd.
Soil School is a day-long workshop that includes multiple sessions on a wide variety of topics – all having to do with soil. One of the entertaining and dynamic soil scientists featured is James Cassidy from Oregon State University who has a passion for soil! Each year we will tailor the sessions to stay fresh and relevant to the gardening, landscaping, farming communities. Soil School is designed to educate and provide networking opportunities for attendees. Registration cost in 2018 was $30 per person. Registration required.


Urban Lunch Hour at Tanner Springs Park
Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
NW 10th and Marshall Street, Portland
In this sunny “restoration ecology” setting in Tanner Springs Park, the City of Portland Parks Department has gathered together some delightful native wildflowers you would have to travel far to see in their natural haunts. Water features make a pleasant retreat from the urban bustle.  The leader, Rick Shory, has worked throughout the West as a Forest Service botanist. Registration is required: https://www.meetup.com/NPSO-Portland/

Nature Night: What Museum Collections Tell Us About Birds
Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Heron Hall at Portland Audubon
Join Cecily Bronson, Biology Teaching Lab Manager at Portland State University, for May’s Nature Night!The exhibits you see on display in Natural History Museums are just a small percentage of what they actually contain. There are rooms, even warehouses, filled with rows of metal cabinets and storage shelves that are packed full with meticulously organized animal skins and skeletons. It may appear as if these specimens are just gathering dust, but that is a misconception that is addressed in the book The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson. Free Lecture

Morehead Fisher Native Planting
Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Near Rowena Plateau

Join Friends Stewardship Volunteer Coordinator Mika Barrett and the U.S. Forest Service at this native planting event near the Rowena Pleateau, Oregon.

Volunteers will plant native vegetation near Rowena Plateau as part of a larger restoration project started in the early 1990’s. The Morehead Fisher location is primarily a restoration site and does not have an official trail. We’ll plant Asclepidacae speciose, showy milkweed, to expand an existing planting for pollinators and monarch butterflies. This Gorge site also hosts native seeding, a Camas meadow, barns, and a cemetery.

No experience is necessary and all tools will be provided. Please come dressed for the weather and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Get ready to have fun! Registration required

Spring Bird Eco-Blitz
Saturday, May 18th, 2019
7:30 am – 9:00 pm & 9:30 am-12:00 pm
Errol Heights Park,  SE 52nd Ave and SE Tenino Ct.

JCWC, Portland Parks & Recreation and the Friends of Errol Heights are teaming up to bring you a special edition Spring Bird Eco-Blitz! Come learn how to use the eBird phone app in collecting wildlife data.

Experienced birders will provide team leadership to newcomers and those interested in birding. Small groups will walk the path together, stopping to listen and look for birds at designated lookout points. Group one begins at 7:30am with a quick lesson before hitting the trail to collect data on paper data sheets we will provide you with. At the end of the path everyone will practice entering their sighting on eBird together. At 9am Group two will begin following the same path and process as the morning. Please feel welcome to stay for both groups if you prefer!

RSVP  Experienced birders wanting to provide team leadership contact: adrienne@jcwc.org, or (503) 652-7477 ext. 107

“Scientists’ Second Warning to Humanity”
Thursday, May 30th, 2019
7:00 am – 8:00 pm 
The Old Church Concert Hall, 
1422 Southwest 11th Avenue, Portland

Dr. William Ripple will present his work on how the far-reaching impacts of wolves are affecting the ecosystem in Yellowstone National Park. He will illustrate how he transitioned from Yellowstone to other national parks in western North America and beyond to demonstrate both the benefits of wild large predators and the costs of their demise. Ripple will disclose how his conservation research and general concern about the global environment and climate change led to him publishing the letter “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice.” As a health checkup for planet Earth, this letter has reached millions of people and is one of the most widely discussed and endorsed scientific articles of recent times. His talk will be full of illustrated stories about his 20-year journey from first only doing ecological research to now also being an advocate for science and the environment. He will provide suggestions for sustainability on planet Earth. Free. Registration required: Eventbrite


Dragonfly Surveyor Orientation
June 1st 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
8210 SE 13th Ave., Sellwood

Dragonfly surveys help JCWC document the distribution of dragonfly and damselfly species throughout the Johnson Creek watershed. Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) are not only beautiful to look at- they are important indicator species in aquatic areas, like the riparian zone along Johnson Creek! Entomologist extraordinaire Celeste Searles Mazzacano from CASM Environmental will train volunteers in survey protocol and identification skills. A commitment of approximately four surveys (one survey per month) from June through September is required. No experience required, registration required. Free

International Urban Wildlife Conference
June 2nd through 5th, 2019
Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

Call for special sessions and workshop proposals open now with the full call for abstracts open on Nov 5th!
Watch for these and other updates on the website and follow on Facebook. The conference organizers are The Urban Wildlife Working Group, Samara Group and Portland State University. The Urban Wildlife Working Group was officially recognized in March 1999 as a working group of The Wildlife Society. As professional urban wildlife researchers and managers, they engaged with respective local wildlife management agencies and research institutes focused on critical urban wildlife issues. As working group members, they also exchange information among the broader membership of The Wildlife Society, interested in urban wildlife management, to enhance knowledge and technical capabilities of wildlife professionals in the area of urban wildlife management.

UERC Lunch Who does it best? Beavers vs. Engineers
Friday, June 7th  2019
Gresham Waste Water Treatment Plant 
200015 NE Sandy, Blvd. Gresham

Katie Holzer will discuss on location Who does it best? Engineers vs. beavers in a stormwater treatment facility. Free



Annual Invasive Species Cook-off
Saturday August 3rd, 2019 
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Harris Bridge Vineyard, 22937 Harris Road – Philomath
We eat ’em to beat ’em! The Institute for Applied Ecology encourages eradication of invasive species to help give native species a fighting chance. Invasive Species Cook-off contest, catered buffet dinner, live music, local libations, beverage competition, and kid activities including lawn games, face painting and piñata! Enter the Cook-off contest, but please note this is a catered event this year, and NOT a potluck. 



Straight from the Source… 

Institute for Applied Ecology
Native Plant Society of Oregon-NPSO
Portland Audubon
Oregon Master Naturalist Program
Oregon Metro
Sandy River Watershed Consortium
Science Talk
The Intertwine
Urban Ecosystem Resource Consortium
Urban Greenspaces Institute
Urban Wildlife Working Group
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

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