Wednesday, October 16, 2019

OSTA Conference: SPLASH!

On Friday, October 11th, WREN's Environmental Education Specialist Annie Carter attended the 2019 Oregon Science Teachers Association Conference at Lane Community College. This event brought together teachers from around the state to share lessons and ideas and discuss ways to better integrate innovative teaching standards into the classroom. Annie led a session at the conference about SPLASH!, a stormwater curriculum WREN has been updating for the City of Eugene. She was accompanied by Jeffrey Flowers from the City of Eugene Public Works Department.

When it rains in a natural, undeveloped landscape, water is absorbed into the ground and taken up by plants. Only a small portion of that water travels across the ground, picking up debris before it reaches surface waters like lakes and rivers. This is known as stormwater, runoff, or non-point source pollution. Due to a much higher proportion of impermeable surfaces in urban environments, only a small fraction of water gets absorbed into the ground and the rest becomes runoff. Everything from loose trash to complex chemicals can become a contaminant in the runoff of developed environments, and these pollutants negatively affect water quality for humans and wildlife. Teachers participating in the OSTA session learned how runoff affects recreation safety and habitat quality, ways to limit the negative impacts of runoff, and specific activities in the SPLASH! curriculum. Using materials like coffee filters, crushed oyster shells, and gravel, teachers constructed water filters using the engineering process. Their filters addressed specific water quality parameters like turbidity, dissolved solids, and pH.

WREN is still in the process of revamping SPLASH! curriculum for elementary and middle school classrooms. Lesson and activity plans, worksheets, and activity materials will all be available for teachers on request, free of charge, from the city. From designing and testing filters to analyzing their own school yards, SPLASH! teaches students that in order to protect our local waterways, we must all think of ways to reduce our impact on the landscape and make choices that keep pollutants out of our waters.

Monday, September 9, 2019

National Public Lands Day 2019

Saturday, September 28th
9:00-12:00 p.m.
West Eugene Wetlands Project Office; 751 S. Danebo Ave.

National Public Lands day aims to get people connected with the public lands in their community and is the largest single-day volunteer effort in the nation. This year, WREN is partnering with the BLM to highlight the resilience of public lands.  

Bring your family, friends, students, and coworkers to spend the morning giving back to our community spaces! Volunteers will help paint a mural, clean-up garden beds, plant natives, pick up trash and more. 

Attendees will receive a coupon good for a free entry to any public land managed by one of the federal partners, a t-shirt and snacks and beverages.

This September, celebrate something we all share: our public lands!

Family Exploration Day 2019

Saturday, September 14th

10:00am-2:00 p.m.
West Eugene Wetlands Project Office; 
751 S. Danebo Ave.

In celebration of our partnership with the BLM and the Every Kid Outdoors program, WREN will be hosting a very special FREE Family Exploration Day focused on engaging kids and their families in recreation and stewardship of our public lands.

WREN experts will be leading short, interpretive walks through the wetlands, facilitating an art project using inks and dyes derived from natural sources, and checking out backpacks filled with goodies for self-guided exploration. Drop by anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. WREN staff and volunteers will be leading walks on the hour. Light refreshments will be provided.   

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

August Wetland Wander

Thank you to Abby Colehour (in red) from the Long Tom Watershed Council for leading a lovely Wetland Wander at Coyote Creek South! 

This wet prairie restoration site is now home to streaked horn larks, a federally listed threatened species, and will hopefully provide critical habitat for endangered red-legged frogs too. Abby toured us around the site and described the construction and seeding involved in the project, and pointed out interesting plants with medicinal properties such as gumweed (yellow) and a species of epilobium (pink). 

As we were leaving we chanced upon a European mantis (Mantis religiosa)! Seconds after this photograph was taken she decided to use her raptorial forelegs on the fingers holding her, but fortunately neither man nor mantis were harmed in the exchange. 

Stay tuned for details about our upcoming Wetland Wander in September!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Winecup Clarkia and Queen Anne's Lace 
decorate the trail leading to our new interpretive panels, highlighting the importance 
of the West Eugene Wetlands. 

Come out to the Tsanchiifin Trail and enjoy the splendor!