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These are all of the news releases posted in January, 2006.
Tuesday, 24
Oregon North Coast Gets AmeriCorps EE Specialist
The Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex has received a $43,390 grant from the Columbia River Estuarine Coastal Fund, through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The grant allows the Oregon Coast NWR Complex to employ an Environmental Education (EE) Specialist for two years through the AmeriCorps program. The EE Specialist will develop, coordinate and implement a "Wildlife in the Classroom" project which will bring coastal-specific environmental education to schools on the Oregon north coast. Wildlife in the Classroom will greatly increase the scope of environmental education in Clatsop and Tillamook county schools by instructing both teachers and students about the ecology and conservation of seabirds, shorebirds and estuaries through in-class presentations, field trips, teacher workshops and traveling activity boxes. The goal is to increase the understanding and awareness of coastal wildlife conservation among students and teachers throughout these two counties. The scope of the project is limited to the Oregon north coast by the grant stipulations.

The EE Specialist will be utilizing nationally recognized U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) environmental education programs for grades K-12, including the Nature of Learning Program, the Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program, and the International Shorebird Sister Schools Program. In addition, the EE Specialist will work with other agencies and conservation groups in Tillamook and Clatsop counties to provide a positive, consistent and unified message to school children about their role in conservation. The EE Specialist will also assist other groups conducting EE programs in the area, including the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and the Haystack Rock Awareness Program.

The EE position for 2006 has been filled by Amanda Gladics, a Pacific Northwest native with an extensive resume covering both E.E. and bird ecology. She has worked as a raptor center assistant and educator at the Glen Helen Outdoor Education and Raptor Center presenting formal programs to children and adults about raptor behavior and ecology, and the local flora and fauna of the area. She also worked with Aplomado Falcons as a hack site attendant for The Peregrine Fund in Kent, Texas. In addition, Amanda worked as a group leader for Advocates for Women in Science where she planned, organized and led science based after school meetings for middle school girls in Portland, Oregon. Amanda is also no stranger to AmeriCorps as she served an 11 month position through the VISTA program at Camp Stevens in Julian, California, where she planned and implemented experiential EE for middle school students.

Establishment of the Columbia River Estuarine Coastal Fund dates back to spring 2004, when the owners of the marine vessels named Spring Drake, Hoegh Minerva, and Agia Erini were charged with violating federal pollution laws. As part of these settlements, the courts ordered $1,300,000 in community service payments to be made to NFWF to be invested in conservation projects in the area of environmental impact. Together with USFWS, NFWF used the funds to establish the Columbia River Estuarine Coastal Fund as a grant making program to be used to finance: a) on the ground habitat conservation, restoration and management projects in and along the Columbia River below the Bonneville Dam and the adjacent coasts of Oregon (up to and including Tillamook Bay) and Washington (up to and including Willapa Bay) that may be affected by estuarine flows to benefit the fish and wildlife resources and the habitats upon which they depend; b) landowner outreach and incentive programs for restoration and management of natural resources in the same geographic area; c) public use and natural/cultural projects that benefit the Services National Wildlife Refuge System; d) collaborative projects from local communities seeking environmentally and economically sustainable solutions to natural resource problems; and e) applied research that is directly related to improvement of natural resources management in the same geographic area.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 2:58 PM / Category: Oregon Coast NWR Complex
Thursday, 12
Students' Environmental Education Program Ended Due to Theft
Four canoes, along with six paddles and twelve personal flotation devices, were stolen from buildings located on the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge sometime between December 28th and 30th , 2005. These canoes were the primary means of transport for local and Salem-area middle school students using the Siletz Bay and Nestucca Bay Refuges as outdoor classrooms to conduct field-based research projects for the past four years. Using the refuge canoes, student-designed projects have explored the placement and role of large woody debris as fish habitat in the recently restored Millport Slough, inventoried frog populations in Neskowin Marsh, and investigated water quality in tidal marsh habitats.

"For these students, having the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in real life research situations is invaluable," said Mike Weddle, primary instructor at the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School in Salem . "The on-going research projects that the students have been conducting on the refuges are the most exciting part of the school year and they would really like to continue them. The projects are great fun, they're good science, and they are making an important contribution to the Fish and Wildlife Service and to the environment," said Weddle. The theft of the canoes and associated equipment means that students will now be denied the unique and perhaps life-changing opportunity for a hands-on learning experience in these difficult to access marsh habitats.

The canoes also served a critical role in furthering the mission of the biological program at the Oregon Coast NWR Complex, where they were used by biologists and volunteers to conduct important fisheries research and monitor the progress of marsh restoration projects at three estuaries along the Oregon coast. In addition, the canoes were used for many Refuge-led seasonal public tours of the Siletz Bay Refuge. These popular tours, always full to capacity, allowed visitors to enjoy a free guided interpretive canoe tour of refuge areas which are usually closed to the public to prevent wildlife disturbance. All future tours for the spring and summer are now cancelled due to the theft.

The stolen Old Town brand canoes were two 17 ft. 4 in. 'Discovery' model, one 14 ft. 7 in. 'Guide' model, and one 12 ft. 'Pack' model. Anyone with information regarding the theft of these canoes, paddles and PFD's is urged to contact Lincoln County Sheriff Deputy Bruce McGuire at 541 265-4231. For more information on the Environmental Education programs on Siletz Bay and Nestucca Bay Refuges please visit our education page.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 3:52 PM / Category: Siletz Bay NWR
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Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 2127 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR, 97365
Phone: 541-867-4550. Email: Oregoncoast@fws.gov.
 
Site last updated March 8, 2011