May 4 – 12 – 10th Annual Natural Areas Celebration Week

This week was organized by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Natural Areas Action Team.

Schedule of Events
*Family-friendly events

Saturday, May 4

Owens Farm History Walk*
9–11am
Tour Owens Farm and learn about the rich history of the land, farm, farmhouse and school house.
Meeting Location: Owens Farm off Hwy 99
Contact: Blythe Utz, blythe@greenbeltlandtrust.org
Sponsor: Greenbelt Land Trust

World Labyrinth Day: Walk as One at 1:00*
11am–2pm
Experience an 80′ labyrinth with LevityZen artist Traci Mc. Merritt. Traci will give an artist talk at 12:30 and the walk begins at 1pm, as a rolling wave of walkers around the globe bring peace into conscious focus. Come spend some time laughing, walking and joining with others in the liminal space of the labyrinth, as we walk the path for peace. Traci is the author of Laughing Labyrinth Timepeace, speaker, and founding member of the Liminal Space Society.
Meeting Location: Shawala Point, south end of Riverfront Commemorative Park, Corvallis
Contact: Traci Mc. Merritt, 541-760-8557, laughinglabyrinth@gmail.com
Sponsor: Liminal Space Society

Marys Peak Meadow Edge & Summit Trails Hike*
1–5:30pm
Have you ever wondered why Marys Peak is the tallest mountain in the Coast Range? Did you know that flowers found in abundance in the high desert east of the Cascades are also found on only a few acres in the Coast Range, near the top of Marys Peak? Take a leisurely hike (approx 3 miles, 650 ft elevation gain) from the Forest Service Campground along the Meadow Edge & Summit Trails with Marys Peak Alliance interpretive guides who will share geological, ecological and cultural stories of Marys Peak, the sacred mountain of the indigenous Champinefu Kalapuyans of the Corvallis area. The weather can be unpredictable and not necessarily the same as in Corvallis. Bring water and snacks. Dress in layers for possible rain and wind.
Meeting Location: Provided upon registration
To Register: Contact hike leader Mike Neeley-Brown prior to the event, 541-760-3934, snaebs@gmail.com
Sponsors: Marys Peak Group of the Sierra ClubMarys Peak Alliance of AFRANA

Sunday, May 5

Marys Peak Five Trails Hike*
9am–4pm
Moderate, 6.4 miles, 1525 ft elevation gain. Marys Peak Alliance interpretive guides will accompany us to answer questions and point out highlights. The top of Marys Peak (4,097 ft) is the only place in the Coast Range where you can see the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean from one location. The hike passes through Douglas-fir and Noble Fir forests, stands of Western Hemlock, Red Alder and Western Red Cedar and open meadows. The understory is comprised of sword ferns, vine maple, oxalis, vanilla leaf and much, much more. We will pass through a Noble Fir blow-down area and by the headwaters of Parker Creek. The start of the hike will be from the upper parking lot on Marys Peak. Restrooms are available there. There are five trails on Marys Peak. The hike will be on part of the North Ridge Trail (0.66 mi) and the East Ridge Trail (1.3 mi), and all of the Tie Trail (1.2 mi), the Summit Trail loop (1.4 mi), and the Meadow Edge Trail loop (1.8 mi). Meet at 8:50 for a 9am departure. We should return by 4:30pm. Bring plenty of water, snacks, lunch, sturdy hiking boots or shoes, appropriate clothing for possible wind, rain and cool temperatures. More information will be given out a couple of days before the hike.
Meeting Location: Provided upon registration
To Register: Contact hike leader Mike Neeley-Brown prior to the event, 541-760-3934, snaebs@gmail.com
Sponsors: Marys Peak Group of the Sierra ClubMarys Peak Alliance of AFRANA

Spring Garden Festival*
10am-4pm
Annual event that features dozens of vendors and information booths offering gardening products, advice and inspiration that will help you limber up your green thumb.
Meeting Location: The Arts Center Plaza, 7th & Madison
Contact: Serena K, serenakapuler@gmail.com
Sponsor: Corvallis Sustainability Coalition

Spring Wildflowers & Birds at Willamette Park*
3–5pm
A slow-paced walk in the cottonwood forest near the river. Will explore every wildflower we see and identify the birds we encounter.
Meeting Location: Crystal Lake Sports Fields & boat ramp parking area at the end of SE Fischer Ln
Contact: Don Boucher, donaboucher@gmail.com
Sponsor: Neighborhood Naturalist

Monday, May 6

Early Morning Birdsong Walk
8–10am
We’ll spend time quietly listening and identifying forest birds by sound. Avery Park is an excellent place to be for migrating forest birds like colorful and vocal warblers, as well as vocal resident birds.
Meeting Location: Avery Park rose garden at 15th St & Avery Park Dr, just west of SW 15th St
Contact: Don Boucher, donaboucher@gmail.com
Sponsor: Neighborhood Naturalist

Native Trees & Shrubs at Avery Park*
11am–12noon
For a park near the city center, Avery Park has a sizable natural area that hosts a large variety native trees and shrubs.
Meeting Location: Avery Park rose garden at 15th St & Avery Park Dr, just west of SW 15th St
Contact: Don Boucher, donaboucher@gmail.com
Sponsor: Neighborhood Naturalist

Jackson-Frazier Wetland Sundown Spotting*
7–8:30pm
Watch the wetlands come alive! Jackson-Frazier has over 140 acres of high quality habitat for all types of birds, bats, owls, and other wildlife that start to come out in the evening. Enjoy a nice walk around the handicap accessible boardwalk and special access to the rare wet prairie habitat, as you see all the animals and their habitat. Learn about the long term habitat restoration project that started in 2018 and be sure to bring binoculars if you have them.
Meeting Location: Jackson Frazier Wetland parking lot at the end of NE Lancaster St
Contact: Adam Stebbins, adam.stebbins@co.benton.or.us
Sponsor: Benton County Natural Areas & Parks

Tuesday, May 7

Franklin School Neighborhood & Tree Walking Tour*
2–3pm
A walking tour that points out specimen trees and shrubs in this older neighborhood.
Meeting Location: Franklin School (east side)
Contact: Lyn Larson, 541-752-0425, llarson@peak.org
Sponsor: Jobs Addition Neighborhood Association

Native Plant Garden Tour*
5–8pm
Visit gardens that incorporate native plants in their design. Move at your own pace and visit the gardens of your choosing.
Meeting Location: RSVP for a list of locations
Contact: Heath Keirstead, 541-753-7208, heathk@bentonswcd.org
Sponsor: Benton Soil & Water Conservation District

Wednesday, May 8

Marys Peak East Ridge/Tie Trail Loop Hike*
9am–4:30pm
Moderate to difficult, 7 miles, 1585 ft elevation gain. Hike from Conner’s Camp along the East Ridge, Summit and Tie Trails with Marys Peak Alliance interpretive guides who will share the ecological, geological, and cultural stories of Marys Peak, the sacred mountain of the indigenous Champinefu Kalapuyans of the Corvallis area. The hike passes through Douglas-fir and Noble Fir forests with an understory comprising sword ferns, vine maple, vanilla leaf and much more. We’ll walk through a Noble Fir blow-down area. There will be a short break at the upper parking lot to use the restrooms and enjoy the view to the east. From the parking lot, there will be open meadows and a Noble Fir forest on the Summit Trail to the top where we will eat lunch and with luck, see the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. We’ll return to the parking lot, then walk a half mile on the North Ridge Trail to the Tie Trail. That will lead us to the East Ridge Trail and Conner’s Camp. Meet at 8:50 for a 9am departure. We should return by 4:30pm. Bring plenty of water, snacks, lunch, sturdy hiking boots or shoes, appropriate clothes for possibly windy 4,097 ft elevation at the top.
Meeting Location: Provided upon registration
To Register: Contact hike leader Mike Neeley-Brown prior to the event, 541-760-3934, snaebs@gmail.com
Sponsors: Marys Peak Group of the Sierra ClubMarys Peak Alliance of AFRANA

OSU Native Plant Farm with Ian Silvernail*
5–6:30pm
Tour our new ground for growing native plants for seed production at OSU’s Vegetable Research Farm, and discuss how this fits into conservation efforts in Oregon. We will discuss horticultural challenges associated with growing native prairie species for seed and see the plants we have currently in production. This tour will be oriented toward anyone with an interest in growing native species.
Meeting Location: Meet promptly at 5pm at the NE corner of Hwy 34 & Electric Rd, just east of the Willamette River. The farm field is located about 2 minutes from that intersection, and we will caravan together to our destination.
Contact: Ian Silvernail, ian@appliedeco.org
Sponsor: Institute for Applied Ecology

Sunset, Stars & Lights Gazing at Fitton Green*
7:45–9:30pm
Come see one of the most breathtaking sunsets in Benton County, as the sun sinks down behind Marys Peak. Then stay for the twinkling light show from the City of Philomath and beyond. Stay a little longer to gaze at the stars and use a telescope for some starter star gazing. Bring your own telescopes, binoculars, and cameras if you have them.
Meeting Location: Fitton Green Natural Area, 980 NW Panorama Dr, Corvallis
Contact: Adam Stebbins, adam.stebbins@co.benton.or.us
Sponsors: Benton County Natural Areas & Parks

Thursday, May 9

Prairie Plant ID Walk*
6–7:30pm
Walk the prairie at Finley Refuge with experts and identify native prairie plants that pollinators love.
Meeting Location: Prairie Overlook, William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge
Contact: Heath Keirstead, heathk@bentonswcd.org
Sponsors: Benton Soil & Water Conservation District, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Friday, May 10

Mill Race Tour
3–6pm
This is the 12th annual Corvallis Urban Stream Tour. Participants travel as a group by trolley (preregistration required–limited seating), personal bicycle or car pool from the creek source to the creek mouth stopping at special creek sites with interpretive guides. This year, we are exploring the historic Mill Race along the Marys River in South Corvallis.
Meeting Location: Avery Park, Thompson Shelter
Contact: Dave Eckert, deckert@willamettewatershed.com
Sponsors: Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, City of Corvallis Public Works, Marys River Watershed Council, Marys Peak Group Sierra Club

Tyee Wetland Walk & Bonfire*
5–8pm
Come enjoy an evening at Tyee Wine Cellars along Muddy Creek south of Corvallis. This unique landscape is being actively restored to historic wet prairie and marshes by the Buchanan family, along with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Take a tour of Restoration Loop while you learn about ongoing restoration efforts, identifying native wildflowers and invasive weeds along the way. Bring a picnic, and delight in an evening of wine tasting and storytelling, all around a cozy bonfire. There will also be fun activities for kids including owl pellet dissection and an up close look at owl feathers.
Meeting Location: Tyee Wine Cellars
Contact: Brian Benson, 541-753-8754
Sponsors: Tyee Wine Cellars, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Saturday, May 11

Audubon Society of Corvallis Birding Trip*
7:30am–12pm
Audubon Society of Corvallis second Saturday field trip. We will bird our way across Finley National Wildlife Refuge along Finley Road. Everyone welcome.
Meeting Location: North end of Benton Center parking lot, 757 NW Polk Ave
Contact: William Proebsting, proebstw@gmail.com
Sponsor: Audubon Society of Corvallis

Public Wildflower Wander*
9–11am
May is the time to see wildflowers in bloom and Kingston Prairie is the place to see them! Explore this beautiful 155-acre property which protects some of the best remaining native prairies in the Willamette Valley and provides an excellent example of native plant diversity and grassland bird habitat. Rare plants such as the federally endangered Bradshaw’s lomatium and Willamette daisy are found on the property. Western meadowlarks, while rare in the Willamette Valley, are thriving and will serenade you with their melodic song. Greenbelt Restoration Manager and resident plant expert, Matt Blakeley-Smith, will help identify native wildflowers while sharing information about Greenbelt’s efforts to restore native habitats and species on the property. We will also hear from staff of The Nature Conservancy, who were the prior owners of this remarkable property. This walk is a rare opportunity to walk a conservation area that most folks don’t get to see!
Meeting Location: Kingston Prairie Preserve, located near Stayton & the North Santiam River
Contact: Blythe Utz, blythe@greenbeltlandtrust.org
Sponsor: Greenbelt Land Trust

Art in the Garden Mother’s Day Festival*
10am–5pm
Enjoy local artists and music against the backdrop of the coast range mountains. The Thyme Garden grounds include a display garden featuring over 500 varieties of herbs, an aromatic conservatory with tropical plants, and forest trails along a salmon stream restoration project. Food, beer and wine available for purchase. Free herbal appetizers, featuring recipes from The Thyme Garden cookbook.
Meeting Location: The Thyme Garden, 20546 Alsea Hwy
Contact: Emily Stimac, emilythyme@gmail.com
Sponsor: The Thyme Garden

Crafting with Nature*
1–4pm
Second Saturday free arts and crafts event. We will be using natural materials for arts and crafts. Stop by and stay for as long or short as your creativity prefers.
Meeting location: The Arts Center
Contact: Heath Keirstead, heathk@bentonswcd.org
Sponsors: Benton Soil & Water Conservation District, The Arts Center

Marys Peak Summit Loop Trail Hike*
1–4:30pm
Enjoy a leisurely hike on the Summit Loop Trail. We’ll leave from the upper parking accompanied by Marys Peak Alliance Interpretive Guides who will share the ecological, geological, and cultural stories of Marys Peak, the sacred mountain of the indigenous Champinefu Kalapuyans of the Corvallis area. Easy to moderate 1.4 mile loop with 385 ft elevation gain. We’ll hike up the gravel road through open meadows to the top where, if the conditions are right, we will see the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. After looking at the view and having snacks, we’ll hike down a trail that passes through a Nobel Fir forest, an open meadow and a blow-down area. The weather can be unpredictable and not necessarily the same as in the Willamette Valley. Be prepared for possible cool, wet, windy conditions. Bring water and snacks. More information will be given out a couple of days before the hike. Meet at 12:50 for a 1pm departure. We should return by 4:30pm.
Meeting Location: Provided upon registration
To Register: Contact hike leader Mike Neeley-Brown prior to the event, 541-760-3934, snaebs@gmail.com
Sponsors: Marys Peak Group of the Sierra ClubMarys Peak Alliance of AFRANA

Conservation and Hope for Willamette Valley Prairies*
6:30–8pm
Learn about importance and value of prairies, their losses, and the Institute for Applied Ecology’s work to restore them.
Meeting Location: Corvallis-Benton County Public Main Meeting Room
Contact: Michel Wiman, michelw@appliedeco.org
Sponsor: Institute for Applied Ecology

Sunday, May 12

Marys Peak North Ridge/Tie Trail Hike*
8:30am–5:30pm
Difficult 11.6 miles with 2165 ft elevation gain. We’ll leave from the trailhead at the end of Woods Creek Road accompanied by Marys Peak Alliance interpretive guides who will share the ecological, geological, and cultural stories of Marys Peak, the sacred mountain of the indigenous Champinefu Kalapuyans of the Corvallis area. The North Ridge trail is pretty much a steady climb to the upper parking lot where restrooms are available. The steepest part has been mitigated by a series of switchbacks where we’ll hike through large Douglas-fir and hemlock with ferns, oxalis, vanilla leaf and vine maple and areas where there is no undergrowth. The gravel road portion of the Summit Trail Loop will take us to the top where we will have lunch and if the weather cooperates, enjoy great views of the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. We’ll come down on parts of three different trails back to the North Ridge Trail. The weather can be unpredictable and not necessarily the same as the Willamette Valley. Be prepared for possible cool, wet, windy conditions. Bring lunch, snacks and water. More information will be given out a couple of days before the hike. Meet at 8:20 for an 8:30am departure. We should return by 5:30pm.
Meeting Location: Provided upon registration
To Register: Contact hike leader Mike Neeley-Brown prior to the event, 541-760-3934, snaebs@gmail.com
Sponsors: Marys Peak Group of the Sierra ClubMarys Peak Alliance of AFRANA

Field Tour of Golden Paintbrush*
10–11:30am
Come see a beautiful golden paintbrush population in bloom (Castilleja levisecta) and hear about the successes of native plant reintroductions in general and golden paintbrush in particular. Also hear about the Institute for Applied Ecology’s internship program for early-career ecologists.
Meeting Location: Woodpecker Loop, William L Finley National Wildlife Refuge
Contact: Michel Wiman, michelw@appliedeco.org
Sponsor: Institute for Applied Ecology

Mother’s Day “Baby Shower” Open House*
10am–2pm
Join us for our annual open house as we celebrate 30 years of serving Oregon’s native wildlife! Meet our resident Raptor Ambassadors up close, enjoy activities for explorers of all ages, and treat yourself to donuts and hot drinks available for purchase. Suggested donation: $5/person, $10/family.
Meeting Location: Chintimini Wildlife Center, 311 NW Lewisburg Ave, Corvallis
Contact: Erika Seirup, outreach@chintiminiwildlife.org
Sponsor: Chintimini Wildlife Center

Art in the Garden Mother’s Day Festival*
10am–5pm
Enjoy local artists and music against the backdrop of the coast range mountains. The Thyme Garden grounds include a display garden featuring over 500 varieties of herbs, an aromatic conservatory with tropical plants, and forest trails along a salmon stream restoration project. Food, beer and wine available for purchase. Free herbal appetizers, featuring recipes from The Thyme Garden cookbook.
Meeting Location: The Thyme Garden, 20546 Alsea Hwy
Contact: Emily Stimac, emilythyme@gmail.com
Sponsor: The Thyme Garden

Beazell Open House & Mothers Day Nature Walk*
2–4pm
Come spend Mother’s Day afternoon in the beautiful Beazell forest, prairies and streamside. Get a guided tour of the education center—a remodeled gorgeous space using the original 1800’s homestead barn wood. Then join in the afternoon walk to see and learn about the beautiful wildflowers, butterflies, birds, and other wildlife. Light refreshments will be available.
Meeting Location: Beazell Memorial Forest parking lot, 32783 Kings Valley Hwy, Philomath
Contact: Adam Stebbins, adam.stebbins@co.benton.or.us
Sponsor: Benton County Natural Areas & Parks


Natural Areas Celebration Week takes place each year during the first week in May. Sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition Natural Areas Action Team.