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Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge comes alive in the spring

It's early April as I write this column. I've been enjoying the beautiful bird songs that come with spring. I never realized what a bubbly, happy song the house finches have until I stopped to listen. So many signs of spring urging us to forget the snowstorms, windstorms and rains of the past winter and get outside.

Now that May is nearly here, it's a great time to visit the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The breezes are warm, the wildflowers are blooming and the birds are singing. Take a walk on the trails or just sit in the sun.

Bio-swale Work Party: 9 to 11 a.m., May 19

Come to the refuge and help us weed our parking lot bio-swale. Wear appropriate clothing for working in the dirt and sun. Bring water. No prior experience required. For any questions, please contacSUBMITTED PHOTO - May is a great time to visit the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The breezes are warm, the wildflowers are blooming and the birds are singing. Take a walk on the trails or just sit in the sun.
t [email protected] tualatinrefuge.org. 

Have you driven by the refuge and wondered what is up beyond the oak trees on the knoll? The annual Tualatin River Bird Festival is set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 20. The festival is a great way to get acquainted with this place and have some fun. The event celebrates birds and all things nature. It is sponsored by Friends of the Refuge, in partnership with the refuge.

Plan to spend the day and sample some of the many family-friendly activities. For the early risers, start the day with walks to listen and look for birds greeting the dawn. The walks will be led by long-time birding experts starting at 5:30 a.m. Festival activities begin at 10 a.m. and will offer kids and adults plenty to do. The kids can build a bird house to take home or paint a duck decoy. They can visit a pond study and see the tiny world that lives in the water or try their hand at the backyard fishing station. The always popular Conestoga-style wagon rides will be back to give you a tour of the refuge. If you prefer, you can walk the refuge and visit the interpretive stations along the trail to learn more about the plants, animals and birds that call the Refuge home.

The Nature Store will be open all day and offers a wide selection of books and field guides about nature, as well as gift items for everyone on your list. Conservation exhibitors will be present to answer questions about their organizations and explain ways you can help protect the environment.

Free festival parking will be available at the office building at 12205 S.W. Tualatin Road at the corner of Southwest 124th and Highway 99W. Free shuttle buses will provide continuous transportation to the refuge starting at 5 a.m. and continuing until 5 p.m. There will be no onsite parking at the refuge.

For complete up-to-date information about the festival, go to http://www.friendsoftualatinrefuge.org or call 503-625-5944, ext. 227.

Pam Farris is a volunteer for Friends of the Refuge