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Read up on the refuge and nature in general as winter descends on the facility in Sherwood

Winter is officially here. That means gray, cloudy days, some sun breaks, rain or maybe beautiful cold, sunny days. We can't be sure what the weather will bring in the coming weeks, but we can be sure it is time to curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.SUBMITTED PHOTO - Eagles can regularly be spotted in winter at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

I love to read and have found many good books available about all aspects of nature from turkey vultures to wildfires. I've even tracked down some interesting birder mysteries by Canadian author Steve Burrows. Who knew the world of birding could lead to international intrigue and murder?

I recently read "Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird" by Katie Fallon. It's a fascinating study of one of my favorite birds. Vultures are highly intelligent and tend to be as curious about people as we are about them.

I just finished reading "Land on Fire" by Gary Ferguson, which explains why we are seeing more wildfires, how nature reacts after the fire and the incredible work of fire fighters and investigators.

Another book I enjoy is my "go to" book for information on nature, "The Northwest Nature Guide" by James Luther Davis. It's a monthly guide to 150 best bets for wildlife adventures throughout the Northwest, as well as your own backyard.

If you're new to birding or just want a refresher, check out Pete Dunne's "The Art of Bird Identification." Dunne's book provides straightforward information to identifying birds by habitat, time of year, behavior, size, sound and field markings.

No matter what your interest in nature is, there is sure to be a book on the subject. Stop by the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and check out the book selection at Nature's Overlook in the visitors center or check your local library.

January events

Tualatin River Photo Society: 7 p.m. Jan. 4 at visitor's center

Scott Burns, professor emeritus of geology and past chairman of the Department of Geology at Portland State University, will be guest speaker. Join us for his lively presentation "Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missouri Floods." He will show slides of Oregon geology and discuss how the floods formed the Columbia Gorge and the Willamette Valley. This group is open to anyone with a camera and an interest in

nature photography.

Waterfowl Watch 101: 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 6

Join us for the how to's of waterfowl watching. Build your skills with bird watching tools and tips, practice identifying waterfowl and then walk out on the refuge to see them in the wild. Please bring binoculars and a bird guide if you have them. Loaners will be available. This event is free and open to all skill levels. For more information, email Rachel Dunham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Owl Prowl: 6-7:30 p.m. Jan. 9 and Jan. 23

Whooooo goes there? Join the refuge's owl enthusiast Seth Winkelhake to learn why owls are outstanding hunters. These birds remind us that nature is still very active after the sun goes down. Learn about the different owls that call the refuge home and their mysterious nocturnal lives. Flashlights are provided and registration is required. For more information e-mail Rachel Dunham.

Puddle Stompers: 1-2:30 p.m. Jan. 10 and 10-11:30 a.m. Jan. 16

This preschool environmental education program invites children and their families to spend time learning about the natural wonders of the refuge. Volunteer naturalists will lead nature crafts, share stories and guide hikes on refuge trails. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Questions? Please contact Winkelhake or call 503-625-5944.

Volunteer naturalist training: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 22 and March 1, 8 and 15 (plus one shadow training day during spring break, March 26 - 30)

Volunteer with the environmental education program and make a difference in your community for generations to come. During training learn about refuge history, local wildlife, environmental education methods, group management and more. Volunteers help connect hundreds of visitors through school field trips and education programs. For more information and application, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-625-5944.

Pam Farris is a member of Friends of the Refuge

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