Wetlands, Wildflowers, & Wonder: Celebrating 50 Years!

5/10/2014 10am - 3pm
50th Anniversary Celebration

Join us at William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on May 10th for a day full of food, fun and festivities in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the refuge. Since 1964 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has worked to restore the native habitats of the refuge, and now it is time to celebrate our successes! In honor of these 50 years of service and as part of the Natural Areas Celebration Week and International Migratory Bird Day, we have prepared a variety of activities that explore the diverse history of the refuge lands, including history prior to 1964, and the restoration work that has been done since. 

Schedule of Events

Start your journey at the Prairie Overlook off Finley Refuge Road at our east entrance near Hwy 99W. Check-out a camera and get your kids involved with a photography scavenger hunt (cameras are limited, so arrive early). Take a walk with botanists through the largest stretch of native wet prairie in the valley and pick up your own pack of prairie wildflower seed. Make sure to arrive at the Cabell Lodge by 11:00 a.m. to join Project Leader Damien Miller as he welcomes you to the celebration. Stick around for live music with local band “The Hunks & The Hottie,” and a buffet lunch catered by Forks & Corks catering (food is $5, children under 5 eat free). After lunch, take a stroll through historic Cabell Lodge, now open for the first time since the new refuge headquarters building was completed in 2009. Inside you will find “Now & Then” images of the refuge, natural history exhibits, and William L. Finley’s turn of the century wildlife photography. 

Throughout the day, vans will leave from the Fiechter House to give you a ride up to Pigeon Butte, the new home to endangered Fender’s blue butterfly. Experts will be waiting to give you a tour of the restoration area and native wildflowers that will host the young butterflies. While you wait for your van-ride, look back in time with a tour of the historic Fiechter House and discover 19th century building techniques. Or, walk across Finley Refuge Road to dissect an owl pellet and explore historic farming equipment at Cabell Barn. 

And don’t forget to take a drive up to the Refuge Headquarters building and Wild Goose Nature Store! Peruse the 50th Anniversary merchandise and place a bid on your favorite silent auction gift basket. On your way there, catch a glimpse of Roosevelt elk moving through the open fields or songbirds flitting from tree to tree. 

Sponsors for this event include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of the Willamette Valley NWR Complex, PreservationWORKS, Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, and Tyee Wine Cellars.   

11 am—Welcome! with Project Leader Damien Miller

11 am-2 pm—Buffet lunch catered by Forks and Corks Catering

11:30 am—Morning tour of Cabell Barn and historic farming equipment

11:30 am—Meet a real-live great horned owl with the Chintimini Wildlife Center at Cabell Barn

11:30 am-1:30 pm—Live music by The Hunks & the Hottie (don't forget to bring a lawn chair to enjoy the music!)

2:00 pm—Afternoon tour of Cabell Barn and historic farming equipment 

2:30 pm—Silent Auction closes at Wild Goose Nature Store

10:00 am-3:00 pm—

Guided van rides and nature tours of Pigeon Butte, rides will leave from the Homer Campbell Boardwalk Trailhead
Photography Exhibits in historic Cabell Lodge, including a Refuge “Now & Then” display and William L. Finley’s historic nature photography 

Lessons in rope-making and traditional plant-use with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, Cabell Lodge
Native prairie wildflower tours, Prairie Overlook

Children’s Photography Scavenger Hunt, starts at the Prairie Overlook
Tours of Historic Fiechter House, historic building materials, traditional 19th century wooden toys


Make sure to pick up a schedule when you arrive to receive a FREE wine tasting coupon for local winery and refuge partner Tyee Wine Cellars! As a fundraiser for the Friends of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Tyee will donate $1.00 for every bottle sold during the month of May.