Robins, Awake for Spring is Here!
Despite the title, this month's nature focus is not about robins, it's about Trilliums! Here's why... Often called Wake Robin, the Trillium is an early harbinger of warmer weather and migrating Robins from southern climates. The flower is also sometimes called Tri-lily because of the presence of the number three: three showy flower petals, three sepals (leaf structures surrounding the flower) and three whorled leaves attached to the main stem. Over 30 species of Trillium grow in North America and Asia, but Oregon can only claim four of them. The Western Trillium (T. ovatum) is the one to see in the Portland area.
Many thanks to Michael Barton for the use of his photo.
We love his blog Exploring Portland's Natural Areas!
Trilliums depend on insects for both pollination and seed dispersal. In fact, here's a neat thing to learn about them -- Trilliums are one of our native plants whose seeds are spread through a process called myrmecochory, or ant-mediated dispersal. Ants carry individual seeds attached to an oil-rich tissue back to their nest where the tissue is eaten and the seeds germinate into new plants.
Trilliums peak out of the ground in Portland’s parks beginning in mid-March and are in full flower by the end of the month, depending upon the weather. Look for great clusters of them on the Wildwood Trail in various places, but especially below Pittock Mansion around Milepost 4. You can also see them in smaller quantities in Marshall Park, Powell Butte Natural Area, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, and Washington Park. Check out the Trillium Festival at the end of the month to get your "Wake Robin" fix!
Summer Camp registration has begun!
We know many of you have been anxiously awaiting the Summer Nature Day Camp schedule. All the camps can now be viewed in the online registration system. We have a special new Raven Tribe this year (see the Wildwood Adventure sidebar)!
We are also excited to announce that there are many outdoor adventures for teens this summer - including an all girls backpacking trip and a search for Sasquatch!
Night Hike for Adults only
(No, it won't be X-rated!) We have simply learned that "family night hikes" aren't for everyone! Some adults prefer an all-adult night hike. If this describes you, come learn the "reasons for the seasons" and celebrate the SPRING equinox on Saturday, March 17. Take a stroll through the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge with us. We will listen for animals, hone our night vision and experience this rich natural area at night.
Please check out the Guided Walks for more details & other night hike options for families and one for teens only!
Did you miss us? After taking a ~3 month break we are ready to get back in the parks and explore nature with 2 - 5 year old children! Ladybug Walks are designed for these youngest of hikers and their accompanying adult. We will explore nature with all our senses while adults learn ways to engage their child.
No need to register! Just meet us on Friday mornings at 10am - rain or shine! Just $3/child. Check out the calendar for the February locations.
The amphibian monitoring program is in the middle of its 5th field season this year! The hunt for slimy egg masses in Portland's natural areas continues.
Despite the slow start to the breeding season (possibly from cold & dry weather conditions), our volunteers are finding and recording egg mass data.
Northwestern Salamander egg masses (as in the photo) have been recorded since early February. Numbers of Red-legged Frog egg masses seem to be increasing by the day. They love this rain, and warm temperatures help, too! As for the more common Pacific Treefrogs and Long-toed Salamanders, there are plenty of egg masses to go around!