Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Happenings

This is my April list of free and low cost events in the Portland area. I compile this list for the homeschool group we belong to, which includes kids 8 and under, but many have much broader appeal. (If it looks great, and doesn’t specifically exclude kids in this age range, I include it.) I look for events with some educational or cultural value. Please be sure to doublecheck anything you plan to attend. Mistakes and typos happen, and things unexpectedly get cancelled or filled to capacity. 

April is a busy month! Here are some links you might find useful. Earth Day is Friday, April 22, which makes many people think of doing a service project to help Mother Earth. You will find plenty that are family friendly at , including litter pick up and invasive plant removal. (They generally provide gardening gloves in adult sizes, so getting some ahead of time in your kid’s sizes is a good idea). In honor of Earth Day, many communities are hosting special recycling events to accept items that are technically recyclable, but are not accepted curbside. Check with your city government, or visit the one at  Tryon Creek. Easter falls on Sunday, April 24 this year on both Eastern and Western calendars. There are far too many egg hunts, etc., to list here, but Portland Metro Parent and the Oregonian event listings  do a decent job of listing the bigger ones. Check out this low-cost opportunity to rent baby chicks for a week or less  (yes, really!) from a lovely farm in Washington:  In April, Multnomah County Libraries are celebrating the Month of the Young Child with lots of special events, many of which are aimed at preschoolers. More info here: Also, April 30 is “El día de los niños/El día de los libros”, or Children’s Book Day, and both Multnomah and Washington County Libraries are featuring an unusual number of Spanish- language and Hispanic culture events. For Multnomah County, you can learn more here: For Washington County, check their events calendar or your local library’s website. 

Mr. Ben.” He has regular gigs around town. They are Tuesdays at 10:00AM at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Avenue, Pdx, $3 per walking human, Wednesdays at 10AM at Eco Baby Gear, 2122 SE Division Street, Pdx, $5 suggested donation, Wednesdays at 4PM at Curious Comedy Theatre, now without a cover charge but a donation requested, (this venue has the advantages of a dinner menu and tons of space), Thursdays at 10AM at Mississippi Treehouse, 3742 N Mississippi Ave, Pdx, and Fridays at 10AM at Branch and Birdie, 8021 SE Stark St., Pdx. He introduces playing the ukulele to kids as young as 3. “Though most people know me as a performer, I think of myself first and foremost as an educator. Music education is the real motivation for why I do what I do. I believe that music should be and can be more accessible to all people. My primary goal is to eradicate the myth that some people are simply “non-musical.” We are all musical, and anybody can learn to play music. Yes, even you.”

Mo Philips”, Mo has regular gigs every Tuesday at 10AM at Posie’s Café, 8208 N. Denver Ave., Pdx.; Thursday at 10:30AM at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Ave, Pdx., $3 per walking human; and Thursday, April 14, at 6PM at Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N Mississippi Ave, $5 per family, as well as Sunday, April 10th 10AM at Flying Cat Coffee, 3041 SE Division St. “Mo performs interactive shows that respect the intelligence of young people with wit and irreverence, without being strictly scatological. This is music built for kids and parents alike! Mo does not dumb down lyrics or melodies for kids to "understand", and therefore sings about things whole families can appreciate. A fine, distilled blend of Americana, Soul and Blues, while not being afraid of a poppy hook or straight rockin' out.”

"Professor Banjo", Saturday, April 2, 4PM, Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N Mississippi Ave., Pdx., $5 per person or $15 per family, Every Monday at 10AM at Flying Cat Coffee, 3041 SE Division St., Pdx.; and every Thursday at 4PM at Branch and Birdie, 8021 SE Stark, Pdx. "Paul Silveria performs for families as the banjo-slinging, old-time singing "Professor Banjo" entertaining children with sing-a-longs, dancing games, and stories, all accompanied by lively old-time music that parents can enjoy, too! Professor Banjo's shows are fun for a wide range of ages - from toddlers to tweens who still like to get up and dance around!" Professor Banjo is awesome!

Circus Gatti”, Friday, April 1, 4:15PM and 7:30PM shows, Oregon State Fair Pavilion, Salem, OR. Prices vary, family packs available at a discount. The same circus will be coming to Portland: “Al Kader Shriner’s Circus”, Saturday, April 2, 2PM and 7PM, and Sunday, April 3, 2PM, Rose Quarter Memorial Coliseum, Adult tickets $20, seniors $16, kids $10. Tickets for the Portland shows sold day of show only.

Symphony Storytime”, Tuesdays in April at 3:30PM at Sellwood Library. Free tickets will be available at 3PM. “Storytimes feature musicians from the Oregon Symphony performing music that enhances and deepens the storytelling experience. Each storytime features one of the four families of musical instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. A craft session where children make their own instruments out of common household items and an instrument petting zoo follow the storytimes. Children and their parents also receive a specially made bookmark with suggested reading and recommended CD's featuring the storytime instruments.”

Visiting Viking Sites in Scandinavia”, Friday, April 1, 7:30PM, Portland State University Cramer Hall, (corner of SW Park and SW Main), Pdx., Room 171, free. “Visiting Viking Sites in Scandinavia (lecture & slide show). William L. Sullivan is the author of The Ship in the Hill, a historical novel based on the true story of a Viking ship excavated from a Norwegian farm in 1904. He will take you to Norway’s North Cape, a medieval village in Sweden & a reconstructed Danish Viking fortress. Presentations are sponsored by the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation and the PSU Department of World Languages & Literatures. Lectures are free, the public is welcome, refreshments are served.”

A Chicken In Every Yard”, Friday, April 1, 7:30PM, Powells, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. Sounds like a great homeschool project, doncha think? “Robert and Hannah Litt have dispensed advice to hundreds of urban and suburban chicken-keepers from behind their perch at Portland's Urban Farm Store. Now, with their handy guide, 'A Chicken in Every Yard' (Ten Speed Press), they're ready to help you go local and sustainable with your own backyard birds.”

A Rhythmic Road Trip Around Brazil”, Saturday, April 2, 10:30AM, Albina Library. “Grab a seat as we travel up the east coast of Brazil, defining each region by its music, rhythms, instruments and culture. Children will have a chance to play percussion instruments and clap along while Ronnie Robins takes them on a musical journey with his voice and his guitar.” 

Mt. Hood Rock Club’s 55th Annual Rock, Gem, And Craft Show and Thunder Egg Hunt”. The show is Saturday, April 2 and Sunday April 3, 10AM-5PM, Mt. Hood Community College Gymnasium, free admission. Mount Hood Community College is located at 26000 SE Stark, Gresham, OR. The Gymnasium entrance is off NE 17th Drive. “The Rock, Gem and Craft show features gems, jewelry, mineral specimens, fossils, agates, petrified wood and information about the geology of the northwest. Many exceptional items will be on display and for sale. The show includes displays, auctions, kids games, raffle, and information about rock hounding locations. This event is of interest to anyone that enjoys the beauty and variety of nature's creations and is looking for more reasons to explore our great northwest. Thunder Egg Hunt Saturday, April 2.  The Egg Hunt is open to all children through age 12. The club gives away over 800 pounds of polished rocks for more than 500 participating children. The hunt starts at 2:00 pm, in the Gymnasium of the Mount Hood Community College. There are three age groups; ages under 6 begins at 2pm; 6-8 year olds begin at 2:15, and the hunt for 9-12 year olds begins at 2:30.”

More Than Just A Bee Movie”, Saturday, April 2, 11AM, Sellwood-Moreland Library. “Are you afraid of bees? You won’t bee after learning about their magical ways with Brian Lacy, apiarist and bee enthusiast since the age of 14. This visual presentation is filled with filmed clips and stills that surround children with the sights and sounds of bees and explores the important relationship between humans and bees. After the presentation, children can taste honeycomb, look into a real hive (no bees) and handle equipment that beekeepers use in the field.”

Gold and Treasure Show”, Saturday, April 2, 10AM-5PM, and Sunday, April 3, 10AM- 4PM, Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem. Adults $5, kids 12 and under are free, and you can preregister on their website for free admission as well. The first 100 paid attendees will receive a free vial of gold. Learn everything you’d ever want to know about gold prospecting! Try out the latest equipment! “With the goal of exposing the public to modern day prospecting and treasure hunting, we promote good ol’ American innovation by showcasing those who find better ways to recover gold.”

Open Garden Days”, Saturdays and Sundays from April through May 22, 11AM- 4PM, Smith Garden, 5055 Ray Bell Road, St. Paul, OR. $3. “The native Douglas-fir create an ideal environment for the natural woodland garden of rare beauty, featuring superior forms of species and hybrid rhododendrons. Complimenting the rhododendron collection are choice trees, shrubs, wildflowers and bulbs. Each pathway reveals its own visual treat— a moss covered log with plants tucked in the bark crevices, plants thriving on tree stumps, drifts of wild flowers. Masses of Cyclamen, Narcissus, Erythronium and Trillium flourish here.”

Music of Ancient Greece”, Saturday, April 2, 2PM, Ledding Library of Milwaukie. “Come to the Ledding Library on Saturday, April 2 at 2:00 pm to hear Greek music as performed by Ensemble De Organographia. Composed of musicians Gayle and Philip Neuman, the Ensemble will perform music from surviving notated Greek repertoire (c. 500 BCE to 300CE) on voice and period instruments including kithara, lyre, aulos, syrinx monokalamos, trichordon and various other instruments of that place and era. The performance promises to be an exciting and educational one as it will include music from Euripedes’ play Orestes, invocations by Hadrian’s court composer Mesomedes and the Song of Seikilos, a very early call to battle. The Neumans have performed their repertoire at the Smithsonian Museum, the Getty Center and at various other venues in the United States, Germany, Jordan, Israel, Turkey and Greece.”

Trillium Festival and Native and Hardy Plant Sale”, Saturday April 2 and Sunday April 3, 10AM-4PM, Tryon Creek State Park, free. “Welcome spring with the annual Trillium Festival at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Enjoy a native plant sale, guided nature hikes, children’s crafts and activities, local crafts, vendors, live music performances and more at the only all-urban state park in Oregon! The Friends of Tryon Creek will once again offer a free shuttle from Riverdale High School and Lewis and Clark College (both located just north of the park on Terwilliger Blvd. and Palatine Hill Rd. respectively) which will make getting to and from the Festival even easier.” The first time we ever went to Tryon Creek was to see the Trillium Festival. It’s very popular, so I strongly suggest either arriving very early or planning to make use of the shuttle service, as parking is limited. A Tryon Creek membership gets you in to the plant sale early! 

Owls Are A Hoot”, Saturday, April 2, 9AM- 12PM (check in at 8:45), Audubon Society of Portland, Heron Hall, $10, suggested for ages 5-9. An adult must accompany every 1-3 children. “Join Audubon volunteer naturalists for “Owls are a Hoot”, our latest Audubon Family Adventures designed to offer an opportunity for families to enjoy and learn about nature together. Take a guided walk through Audubon’s sanctuary to learn about wildlife, enjoy a light snack, and make a take-home craft; and, of course, learn about owls! Meet Julio and Hazel, our Great horned owl and Northern spotted owl who act as ambassadors for their wild relatives.” Register online:

Emerging Wild Shoots and Greens of Spring”, Saturday, April 2, 9AM-12PM, Hoyt Arboretum, 4000 SW Fairview Blvd., Pdx. $22 for adults, children 7-17 pay their age, children 0-6 are free, $3 discount for adult family members attending together, Native Americans, Scout leaders, and full time college students. “Join wild food expert and author John Kallas to explore edible wild plants growing in and around Hoyt Arboretum. Some spring delicacies make their appearance over only a brief period and then they are gone. This is true for nettles, fireweed, and a variety of other plants. Travel through forests, wetlands and open fields beaming with the tender fresh new plants of spring. See what nature has to offer. Wild Food Adventures workshops are designed to be fun, educational, and to make wild foods a reasonable resource for everyday people.” Advance registration required: Also be sure to check out Mr. Kallas’ amazing book, “Edible Wild Plants: Wild Food From Dirt To Plate”. 

The Treetop Collector’s Club”, Saturday, April 2, 11AM, St. Johns Library. “Follow the adventures of Vel-Crow, as he bravely searches for his lost friend, Hazel, the Kanga-Raccoon. This show, created and performed by Mudeye Puppets, is filled with music, jokes, and an important lesson about how resources can be reused.”  Mudeye puppets are always worthwhile! 

Number Fun with To Market, To Market”, Saturday, April 2, 10:30AM, Fairview-Columbia Library. “To market, to market to buy a fat pig ... shop at the market, join the jiggity jig, and have fun budgeting and buying groceries in a play store. This fun and interactive math program is for children 3–7 years with an adult."

Costumes for Ramona”, Saturday, April 2, 10:30AM, Capitol Hill Library (free tickets available at 10AM); Wednesday, April 20, 4PM, Hillsdale Library (free tickets available at 3:30PM); and Thursday, April 21, 3PM, Troutdale Library. “On Klickitat Street, Ramona made her own costumes and wore them year-round. You can too! Learn to make attachable ears and tails using fabric and recycled materials. Turn yourself into an animal or creature of your choice, and finish your costume off with face paint. Great for children ages 4-10 and their families.” 

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Carty Unit with the Audubon Society of Portland”, Sunday, April 3, 8AM-11AM, free. Join leaders Robin Carpenter and Gabriel Forcier on the 2-mile Oaks to Wetland loop of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Many parts of the trail are uneven, rocky, steep, narrow, and may become slippery when wet. Wear sturdy shoes and use caution to avoid contacting poison oak in some areas. A good variety of birds can be expected.” Directions and more info here: More info about the wildlife refuge here:

Ceramic Painting”, Sunday, April 3, 1PM, Rockwood Library. “Get your paint on with ceramic artist Terri Jones. Paint molds of animals, princesses and other fairy tale inhabitants that Terri casts from liquid clay. Everything you need to create a beautiful work of art is provided. No artistic talent required.” 

Hanamkiai”, Sunday, April 3, 12PM-3PM, Japanese American Historical Plaza, Tom McCall Waterfront Park. “Please join us in the centuries-old Japanese tradition of picnicking, cherry blossom viewing and celebrating the fleeting splendor of spring. Enjoy a picnic style celebration that includes music, food and entertainment. This year we will hold our annual Hanamikai in conjunction with the first annual Sakura Sunday presented by JASO and co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in Portland. Look for the JETAA Portland banner to sit with our members. Remember to BYOB – bring your own bento and beverage or pre-order one of the special bentos. Limited quantities will be available for purchase at the event. Performances include: Portland Taiko, 
Richmond Elementary School, and
 The International School.” Bento menu and more info here:

University of Portland’s 17th Annual Reading Fair”, Sunday, April 3, 11AM-3PM, in the Chiles Center (SE corner of N. Portsmouth Ave. and N. Willamette Blvd, Pdx.), free. Hosted by Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society. Every child will receive a free, new book of their choice for attending. The fair’s theme, “Reading Around the World,” is designed to be a multicultural approach to literacy that will engage students from pre-kindergarten to middle school. Events throughout the day include arts, crafts and games that focus on reading as well as an obstacle course and storytelling performances. Come see a puppet performance of "Deepsy Diver" from the Mudeye Puppet Company at 11:30 & 1:30.”

Lego Swap Meet”, Sunday, April 3, 10AM-3PM, The Renaissance Ballroom Dance Studios, 610 McLoughlin Blvd., Oregon City, OR. Admission $2 adults and $1 for children 5-12. “Meet other Lego collectors at our monthly swap meet. It is our goal to bring the Northwest Lego community together to buy, sell, trade, and consign Legos in a first class setting. This is a perfect opportunity to get new and pre-owned Legos in person, as they are becoming harder to find and Internet bidding wars are increasing. We started NW Lego Users Group to provide Lego fans a chance to find used Legos in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.”

Dyslexia: It’s No Joke”, Sunday, April 3, 12:30PM-3:30PM, Midland Library. A program for adults that may be of interest to homeschoolers. “The Blosser Center for Dyslexia Resources presents an informational workshop on dyslexia. This program includes a viewing of “Like Stars on Earth,” a sympathetic portrayal that shows the struggles children with dyslexia face. A panel discussion will follow the showing of this film and will include resource information, personal stories and Q and A.” They don’t mention that the film is also a Bollywood movie featuring one of India’s biggest heartthrobs!!! But it’s also a seriously great film. My review and trailer here. 

Morning Bird Song Walks”, Mondays, 7AM-9AM, Tryon Creek State Park, free. "From beginners to advanced birders, anyone who is fascinated by the sounds of birds should take advantage of these guided walks through the Tryon Creek upland forest and riparian areas. By starting with the earliest trips you can learn the songs of he common resident species and then when the migrants arrive you’ll be able to sort them out during the morning chorus. These free walks are led by Audubon volunteer Rick Wagner and meet at the Tryon Creek Nature Center."

Guide to the Spring Sky”, Monday, April 4, 7PM and 8:15PM, Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium, $2. "All shows are presented under a realistic representation of the night sky, featuring the latest galactic, stellar and planetary images."

Sauvie Island Center Tour”, Tuesday, April 5, 10:30AM-12PM, free. “Join the Sauvie Island Center staff as we show you around the Sauvie Island Organics farm and the grounds of Howell Territorial Park. You’ll learn about our educational, hands-on field trips for Portland youth, have an opportunity to explore the site with us, and learn about ways to get involved with our program. RSVP to Jennifer at”

Audubon’s Education Birds at Leach Botanical Garden”, Tuesday, April 5, 6:30PM, 6704 Southeast 122nd Ave, Pdx. Free. “Get up close and personal with the education birds from Audubon's Wildlife Care Center. Learn about the unique adaptations that make birds of prey such awesome predators, like what makes a falcon so fast and an owl such a good night hunter; and why are scavenging birds so important. Discover which raptor species make the Portland area their home. You'll meet the birds up close and learn the roles birds like them have in the wild, and the role the Audubon Society of Portland plays in their survival.”

Math Fun with Frog and Toad”, Thursday, April 7, 10:30AM, Rockwood Library; Thursday, April 14, 3:30PM, Belmont Library; and Saturday, April 30, 10:30AM, Capitol Hill Library. “Is it round? Is it square? Is it big? Is it small? Help Toad find his button and join in the fun with shapes, games and stories. This interactive program is for children 3–7 years with adult.” 

Owl Prowl with Audubon Society of Portland”, Thursday, April 7, 5:45PM-9:45PM, Forest Park, $20. “As dusk falls you and your small band of nocturnal explorers become enveloped in darkness deep in Forest Park. Your leader knows these woods well from his years of studying the diminutive yet fierce Northern Pygmy Owls that live here. Five species of owl breed in Forest Park and the adults and young owlets of all of these species can be found in spring and early summer. Beginning in the early evening we’ll seek out the diurnally active Northern Pygmy-Owl, and the diurnally responsive Barred Owls first. Then we’ll listen for and try to catch a glimpse of the more nocturnal Northern Saw-whet, Western Screech and Great Horned Owls as they become active and vocal. Along the way we may visit owl nest sites from previous years, look for owl pellets, discuss owl ecology, look and listen for potential prey species and explore the forest for woodpeckers, coyotes, millipedes, slime molds or whatever else presents itself. Being out on a trail after dark when animals are most active is always exciting, no matter what is or is not found.” Lots more information and online registration here:

Hands-on Math for Homeschoolers”, Thursday, April 7, and Thursday, April 14, 1:30PM, Ledding Library of Milwaukie. “Math-based games and crafts for ages 5 and up.” 

Toys for Ramona”, Friday, April 8, 3PM, Fairview-Columbia Library. “The children on Klickitat Street created many imaginary games and the necessary toys to go with them. Learn how Ramona made her own instruments, stilts, and other inventions out of bottle caps, plastic containers, tin cans, and other common household materials. Great for children ages 4-10 and their families.” 

Powell Butte Nature Park with the Audubon Society of Portland”, Saturday, April 9, 8AM-11AM, 16160 SE Powell Blvd., Pdx. “Join leader Ron Escano for a walk exploring the unique habitats of Powell Butte. Hope is to see some of the uncommon early spring vagrants such as the Townsend's solitaire or say's phoebe that have been found here in the past.” More info here: More info about the nature park here:

Painted Turtle Walks”, Saturday, April 9. 1PM-2:30PM, Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area, 5300 N. Marine Dr., Pdx. Free. Advance Registration required, call 503-797-1650 option 2. Oregon’s turtles are rare, shy and hard to find, but Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area is home to one of the largest populations of Western painted turtles in Oregon. See these beautiful reptiles with the help of Metro naturalist James Davis, who provides small telescopes for a close look. Suitable for ages 5 and older. Meet in the parking lot on North Marine Drive. Free. Advance registration required; call 503-797-1650 option 2. If you can’t make it, there’s another one coming up on May 28. And you should keep in mind that Smith and Bybee is a gorgeous spot where painted turtles are sure to be seen sunning themselves in the warmer months whenever the sun comes out! 

Bike Trike Spoketacular”, Saturday, April 9, 4PM, Northwest Library. “Air-Rick, the inflatable car salesman, dreams of a Spoketacular bicycle that can take him far away from his dreary drudgery. Join Air-Rick on his adventure to find a bike as he meets a cast of colorful characters in this interactive, all-ages musical puppet performance. Stick around after the show to meet Air-Rick, Bikey Spikey and many other Mudeye Puppet Company characters.” Mudeye Puppets is always worthwile! 

Big Backyard Show With BJ The Clown”, Saturday, April 9, 11AM, Lake Oswego Public Library. “This hilarious show features BJ trying to impress and entertain kids, but everything goes wrong. The mix of fun includes magic, juggling, music, storytelling, and puppets. BJ the Clown (aka Bret Christie) was trained with clowns from the Ringling Brothers circus. For the past 18 years, he’s performed over 3,500 comedy shows at schools, festivals, libraries, corporate events, and the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. Christie was recently featured in an Oregonian article that described him as ‘Portland’s most successful clown.’”

The Art of Bookmaking With Recyled Materials”, Saturday, April 9, 2PM, Kenton Library, and Saturday, April 23, 2PM, at Albina Library. “Learn how to make your own book using a simple paper bag, natural materials and recycled paper! Under the instruction of local artist Joy Leising of the 100th Monkey Studio, each artist will learn the art of bookmaking. After creating the book, participants can personalize their books by adding decorations and collage. Go home with the knowledge of bookmaking and your very own book!” 

Walking With Ramona”, Saturday, April 9, 11AM-12:30PM, Saturday, April 9, 3PM-4:30PM, and Sunday, April 10, 4PM-5:30PM, Hollywood Library. “Join Portland walking author Laura O. Foster on a tour back in time, to the 1950s world of Ramona Quimby and friends. Explore the Northeast Portland landscape that inspired Beverly Cleary's best-selling children's books, from the 1951 “Ellen Tebbits” to the 1999 “Ramona's World.” See the supermarket where mud claimed Ramona's boot, the park where Henry hunts for night crawlers, and the Portland school that inspired Glenwood School. Plus lots more, including a stroll along the streets where both Ms. Cleary, Ramona and her friends lived. The tour begins at the Hollywood Library, 4040 NE Tillamook Street. It is accessible, on flat terrain, and lasts about 1.5 hours. Families are welcome. Foster is the author of “Portland Hill Walks,” “Portland City Walks” and the editor of Metro's Walk There!” 

Lone Fir Cemetery Guided Walking Tour”, Saturday, April 9, 10AM-12PM, entrance at SE 26th Street between Stark and Morrison Sts, Pdx. $10 suggested donation. “Come for an informal history lesson while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in SE Portland. Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery conducts monthly tours, highlighting Portland’s founders, pioneers, its famous and infamous alike, as well as interesting headstones and monuments. Come visit this hidden jewel! Explore 30 acres of mature trees, a very special rose garden and fascinating architecture in this unique place, the only cemetery in Portland listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Suitable for all ages. No advance registration required. Meet in the center of the cemetery, at the soldiers’ monument.” Lone Fir was the first public cemetery in Portland, and a tour is a must for anyone learning about local history. This is a must for anyone learning about Portland history. 

Saturn Spectacular”, Saturday, April 9, 7:30PM-11:30PM, Rooster Rock State Park and Stub Stewart State Park, $5 parking per vehicle or a State Park pass. “From beginners to experts of all ages, here’s your opportunity to view the stars and other celestial objects up close and personal through telescopes. Viewing highlights includes the planets Jupiter, Mercury, and Saturn, first quarter Moon, deep sky objects including the Orion Nebula, Beehive star cluster and more! Sometimes we can even view the International Space Station passing overhead. There is no formal registration for the event itself, just show up and enjoy the evening. You don’t even need a telescope to participate; other members are enthusiastic to share their views. This is a good opportunity for beginners to get acquainted. Come and observe your favorite objects and spend a wonderful evening with friends, and friends you haven’t met yet.” If you are planning to go, be sure to call 503-797-4610 #2 after 3PM on the day of the Star Party to make sure they’ve determined that the skies are clear enough for this event to happen. This time of year it’s far from a sure thing, but these are wonderful events when they happen! Lots more info here:

Brick Builders”, Saturday, April 9, 10:30AM- 11:30AM, Beaverton City Library Storytime Room. “Come and make a connection as we create, build and challenge with all things LEGO. Registration is required. Please phone (503)350-3600 to register or sign-up in person at the Children's Desk on the first floor of the library. Registration for each session begins one month before the program.” Suggested for grades 1-5. 

Guided Nature Walks”, Saturdays, 10AM-11:30AM, Tryon Creek State Park. “Join a park ranger for a free, guided nature hike to explore the forest and stream ecosystems and natural history at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Topics will vary from week to week but will be appropriate for all ages. Parents must accompany kids on all hikes.” April 9: Nest Tour; April 16: Herp Hike: Amphibians and Snakes!; April 23: Signs of Wildlife; April 30: Tryon Tour of the Bridges Pt. 2.

Johnson Creek Community Backyard Habitat Day”, Saturday, April 9, 9AM-3PM, your backyard in the Johnson Creek Watershed, $25. “Do you live in the Johnson Creek Watershed? Would you like to have a personal consultation on how to create habitat? Then join us on Saturday, April 9th! The Backyard Habitat Certification Program is heading to Johnson creek! If you’d like an incentive to turn your yard into a healthy environment for wildlife you may be interested in our Program! The Backyard Habitat Certification Program provides technical assistance to small lot, private property owners to restore native wildlife habitats in their backyard (and front yards too!). This program is a collaboration between the Audubon Society of Portland, Johnson Creek Watershed Council and Columbia Land Trust. We’d love to see how many yards we can visit—join us April 9th! Lots more info and online registration here:

Mi Piñata”, Saturday April 9, 11AM, North Portland Library, and Saturday, April 30, 4PM, at Holgate Library. “Under the instruction of Nelda Reyes and Gerardo Calderon, make your own traditional cardboard piñata and decorate it with colored papers.” 

Snailpeople”, Saturday, April 9, 10:30AM at The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave., Pdx., $5 suggested donation, and Tuesday, April 12, 6:30PM, West Linn Library. “Snailpeople -- Musical fun! Hilarious musical duo who just want us to sloooow dowwwn and enjoy life!” 

Family Adventure Day”, Saturday, April 9, 10AM-1PM, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Sherwood, OR. Free. “Discover the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge where you can look for birds, sneak up on grasshoppers, and bound like an otter. Volunteer Naturalists will be leading short drop-in activities along the year-round trail. Nature enthusiasts of all ages are encouraged come join the fun. This partnership program with Sherwood's YMCA is free and open to the public. No registration is required.”

Tikki Tikki Tembo”, Saturday, April 9, 10:30AM, Capitol Hill Library (free tickets will be given out at 10AM); Saturday, April 9, 2:30PM, Gresham Library; Wednesday, April 13, 4PM, Woodstock Library; and Saturday, April 23, 4PM, Northwest Library. “What happens when Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, with his great long name, falls into the well? Don’t miss the fun as Tears of Joy Theatre performs this beloved story by Arlene Mosel.”

Wild Foods of Forest Park”, Sunday, April 10, 1PM-4PM, Wildwood Trail entrance off Germantown Road, NW Pdx. $24 for adults, children 7-17 pay their age, children 0-6 are free, $3 discount for adult family members attending together, Native Americans, Scout leaders, and full time college students. “Join wild food expert and author John Kallas to learn about edible wild plants found in northwest forests. Spring is when with wildflowers are blooming and wild greens are ripe for picking. See plants like wild violet, Solomon's seal, fairly bells, licorice fern, various fiddleheads, wild ginger and more. Learn the many ways they can be used as food. Explore Forest Park, one of the more beautiful forests in Portland's own backyard. Herbs, shrubs and trees with edible parts will be identified and sampled where appropriate. Wild Food Adventures workshops are designed to be fun, educational, and to make wild foods a reasonable resource for everyday people.” Online registration and more info at:  Also be sure to check out Mr. Kallas’ amazing book, “Edible Wild Plants: Wild Food From Dirt To Plate”. 

Ken Iverson”, Sunday, April 10, 1PM, Tigard Library, presenting “It Got Serious After the Lion Ate My Umbrella”; Tuesday, April 12, 7PM, Forest Grove Library, presenting “Doesn’t Everybody Think They Can Fly?”; Wednesday, April 13, 6:30PM, West Slope Community Library, presenting “Why the Irish Have All The Fun!”; and Saturday, April 16, 7PM, Garden Home Community Library, presenting “Thank Goodness For Folktales!” as part of the finale event in the Hearing Voices Storytelling Festival. “Ken tells traditional and contemporary folktales and myths from around the world. Sometimes using a drum, his energetic telling of Jack Tales, Arthurian tales and world folktales are enthusiastically received. He says stories have a remarkable ability to reach deep inside of us and to loosen our prejudices and fears. Even a seemingly simply children’s story may contain untold gifts. During the story we may laugh, reflect, even cry and being in the story is all that matters. Sometimes a story will come back to us later and we realize there was much more to it than we first knew.”

Kelly Hoffman”, Sunday, April 10, 1PM, Tigard Library, presenting “Around The World In 302 Minutes”, Thursday, April 14, 7PM, Tualatin Library, presenting “Literature Alive”; and Saturday, April 16, 7PM, in “He Who Laughs Last…Laughs” as part of the finale event in the Hearing Voices Storytelling Festival. (She has more local performances scheduled; I have listed the ones that are suggested for families.) “Whether she is telling fractured fairy tales in a New York accent, Native American stories with songs and chanting, or an original comedic tall tale, Kelly’s stories are well crafted and uniquely her own. Listening to her stories will have you laughing one minute, crying the next, and occasionally hanging on the edge of your seat. No two stories are alike and hearing one of her stories will always leave you wanting to hear more.”

Junior Reactors”, Monday, April 11, 10AM-11:30AM, Mad Science Lab, 1522 NM. Ainsworth St., Pdx. $15. “Get to know your chemical reactions on an atomic level. Junior Reactors will give you a crash course in constructing the elements and substances we encounter in our everyday lives.” Preregistration required.  We love these labs!

Gerardo Calderón”, Monday, April 11, 12PM, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Antionette Hatfield Hall Rotunda Lobby, 1111 SW Broadway, Pdx. Free. “Gerardo Calderón is an accomplished musician who performs traditional folk music of Mexico and South America. He plays a variety of Latin American string instruments as well as turtle shells, zampoñas (pan flutes), and water drums. His music ranges from haunting and ethereal to high-spirited. This performance will energize you and stay with you.” Space is limited, and arriving early is advisable. His music is wonderful!

Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf”, Monday, April 11, 7PM, Powell’s Books at Cedar Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR. “As budding ornithologist and artist Olivia Bouler proved — she single-handedly raised over $175,000 for the Gulf oil spill recovery — one 11-year-old girl can make a difference. Devastated by the disaster and eager to do her part, Olivia wrote a letter to the Audubon Society promising to send one of her bird paintings to every single donor to the cause. Olivia sent out over 500 paintings, many of which are captured in 'Olivia's Birds' (Sterling), a lavish picture book celebrating her campaign. Cosponsored by the Audubon Society.” A wonderful chance to show our kids that young people can make a difference! 

Art Works!”, Tuesday, April 12, Tualatin Library, 3:30PM. Suggested for kids 5-11. At the time I am writing this, they have not added details about this month’s presenter to their calendar, but they advise that the workshop will be on creating pop-ups. “Have you ever wondered how picture book artists make their artwork? This program offers an introduction to art techniques using some of literature’s most beloved picture book authors. Each session will introduce kids to an art concept, a story that demonstrate it, and art supplies that will allow kids to explore their creativity.” Preregistration is required.

Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies with Eric Mader, Xerces Society”, Tuesday, April 12, 7PM, Audubon Society of Portland, Heron Hall, 5151 NW Cornell Rd., Pdx. Free. This program is intended for adults, but may be of special interest to homeschoolers looking for more opportunities to observe nature in their backyards. “Bees and other pollinators are a fundamental part of our environment. Their work is something that touches us all through the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the landscapes we enjoy—and yet their future is clouded by habitat loss, pesticide use, and introduced diseases. Join Eric Mader, Assistant Pollinator Program Director of the Xerces Society and lead author of the newly released book, Attracting Native Pollinators, to learn more about the fascinating lives of these insects and glean information about how you can care for these vital animals wherever you live. Whether you are an urban gardener, a suburban park manager, a working farmer, or just care about where your food comes from, this evening has something for you. 
Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, wrote that “Attracting Native Pollinators belongs on the bookshelf of everyone who values the future of the natural world.” This event gives you the chance to add a copy to your bookshelf. Attracting Native Pollinators is packed with information about bees and other pollinating insects and guidance on conserving pollinators in all kinds of landscapes: gardens, natural areas, farms, recreation land, even eco-roofs. It is illustrated with hundreds of color photographs and dozens of specially created illustrations. Don’t miss your chance to meet the author and purchase your own copy!”

Among Penguins: A Presentation by Noah Stryker”, Tuesday, April 12, 7PM, Annie Bloom’s Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy., Pdx., and Wednesday, April 20, 7PM, Audubon Society of Portland, Heron Hall, 5151 NW Cornell Rd., Pdx. Both events are free. “Prominent Oregon birder Noah Strycker, author of the newly released ‘Among Penguins: A Bird Man in Antarctica’ (Oregon State University Press, $19.95), will give a free presentation on his research in Antarctica among the Adelie Penguins. In the harshest of landscapes, Strycker spent three months among more than a quarter million penguins.” 

Fire Season”, Tuesday, April 12, 7:30PM, Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. For almost a decade, former Wall Street Journal reporter Connors has spent half a year keeping vigil over 20,000 square miles of desert, forest, and mountain chains from atop a tower 10,000 feet above sea level. One of a handful of seasoned, seasonal fire-watchers in New Mexico's Gila National Forest, Connors introduces us to his wilderness in this ruminative, lyrical, occasionally suspenseful account that bristles with the narrative energy and descriptive precision of Annie Dillard and dovetails between elegiac introspection and a history of his curious and lonely occupation. Poet Gary Snyder, environmental advocate Edward Abbey, and beat novelist Jack Kerouac once stood watch over the woods, but today, 90% of American lookout towers have been decommissioned, with only a few hundred remaining. The world at large intrudes in Connors's account of contented isolation only in a discussion of evolving forest fire — fighting policies, in which advocates of ruthlessly suppressing fires are pitted against a new generation of Forest Service professionals who choose, when it's safe, to let forest fires burn themselves out.” 

Camassia Natural Area Wildflower Wander”, Wednesday, April 13, 9AM- 2PM, $16.50. Transportation provided from NE Portland to West Linn. “Visit a unique landscape at Camassia Natural Area with a Portland Parks and Recreation naturalist. 
Learn about this area’s geology and its wide variety of wildflowers. Pack lunch, water, dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes as we will be hiking a few miles on uneven terrain. This trip is part of James Davis' series of excursions based on his book “The Northwest Nature Guide”, which will be for sale at a 20% discount to trip participants. Meet at the Hollywood Fred Meyer; van transportation pick up and drop off in the eastern parking lot. The first three registrants who sign up with a friend get 20% off!” Preregistration information here: More information on this spectacular place to see rare wildflowers here: If you are learning about Pacific Northwest history, you will definitely want to come see camas in bloom, a stable of the diet of Native Americans which they shared with Louis and Clark. 

Jeff Gere”, Wednesday, April 13, 7PM, Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, 12930 Old Pumpkin Ridge Road, North Plains, OR, presenting “One Big Bowl O Stories”, Thursday, April 14, 7PM, Tualatin Library, presenting “Inspiration: Moving Tales from Hawaii”, Saturday, April 16, 10:30AM, Sherwood Public Library, presenting, “A Tropical Story Bouquet”; and Saturday, April 16, 7PM, Garden Home Community Library, presenting “Two To Ponder: Tales From Hawaii” as part of the finale event in the Hearing Voices Storytelling Festival. “Jeff Gere presents a variety pack of tales and legends from Hawai`i. Jeff blends his talents as a painter, puppeteer, mime and director into a performance style which has electrified audiences throughout Hawai`i and the mainland. Jeff becomes his stories! He performed at the 2010 National Story Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. And, he has made eight CDs and co-produced/ performed in “The Storytellers” series and appears on Mystery Hunters, Travel Channel & History Channel shows about Haunted Hawai`i.” and also

VOX- Poems in Chorus”, Wednesday, April 13, 2PM, Lake Oswego Public Library. “The Lake Oswego Public Library is very pleased to present VOX: A Spoken-Word Chorus on Wednesday, April 13, at 2:00 p.m. It’s National Poetry Month! In celebration of this, please join us for VOX, an ingenious act of poetry in performance. VOX, a unique spoken-word chorus, performs poetry as music. Phrased by actor Eric Hull, and selected with the guidance of writer and PSU professor Michele Glazer, the poems are arranged much like a musical score. The results express the natural music of poetry through vocal performance.” 

Srsly Big Deal: Living And Breathing Comics in PDX”, Thursday, April 14, 4PM, Central Library. A program for adults with obvious appeal to interested kids. “From self-published mini-comic zines to traditional comic books, manga and lengthy graphic novels, comics are a seriously big deal in our community, home to big-time publishers, small presses and many independent artists. Learn about the cultural and economic significance of comics with PSU Special Collections Librarian and Archivist Cris Paschild, Dylan Williams from SparkPlug Comics, Dark Horse Comics [speaker TBA], and independent comics creator Julia Gfrörer. Also experience the unique live performance of minicomics with Julia Gfrörer and guest.” 

Sakura Festival”, Thursday, April 14, 1PM-4PM, Clark College in Vancouver. “A free celebration of Japanese Culture and a chance to enjoy their 100 cherry trees in full bloom. The community is invited to join Clark College President Robert Knight, Vancouver Rotarians and the City of Vancouver on Thursday, April 14, 2011 for a Sakura and Arbor Day Ceremony. The ceremony will take place from 1-2 p.m. under the cherry blossoms on the east side of the O'Connell Sports Complex. From 2-4 p.m., in the Gaiser Student Center, guests will enjoy activities, demonstrations, and tea and cherry blossom cookies created by Clark College Culinary Arts Department. The Clark College Japanese Club is partnering with Vancouver Rotary to raise funds for Japanese relief. During the 2011 Sakura and Arbor Day Ceremony, petals and bookmarks with messages of hope will be available for purchase. All proceeds will go to Japanese relief efforts.” More information including a campus map on their website:

Gene Tagaban”, Thursday, April 14, 7PM, Banks Public Library, presenting “Raven’s Voice”; Friday, April 15, 6:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library, presenting “According to Coyote”; and Saturday, April 16, 7PM, Garden Home Community Library, presenting “One Crazy Raven” as part of the finale event in the Hearing Voices Storytelling Festival. “Known as an inspirational speaker, facilitator, storyteller and performer, Gene Tagaban ‘One Crazy Raven’ brings to you a presentation of story, laughter, insight and vision. ‘One Crazy Raven’ is a presentation of contemporary and traditional Native American stories, music, song and dance. Be it trickster stories, creation stories, portrayal of his grandmother, personal life experiences or his journey of becoming the Raven Dancer, Gene masterfully weaves them all together in a way described by one audience member as ‘A delight and inspiration to the human spirit.’ With over twenty years experience as a noted Tlingit storyteller and actor, he shares his wisdom and talent via dance, native flute and storytelling. His heritage is Cherokee, Tlingit and Filipino. Raised in Alaska, Gene’s Native American name Gaay Yaaw loosely translates as ‘Salmon Home Coming.’ He is of the Tak`deintaan Raven Freshwater Sockeye clan of Hoonah, Alaska, and the Child of a Wooshkeetaan Eagle Thunderbird clan of Juneau, Alaska.” and also

Portland Boychoir”, Friday, April 15, Concert starts at 7:15pm. Doors open at 6:45pm. Community Music Center, 3350 SE Francis Street. Pdx. Suggested Donation: $5 per person or $15 for a family. Light refreshments for sale. The Portland Boychoir includes kids as young as age 6.

Zip Zap Doom”, April 15, 16 22, and 23, A-WOL Dance Collective, 2303 N Randolph, Pdx. Tickets start at $10 for all ages (limited quantities), and children under 12 can pay their age. “Descend into the underground headquarters and join the superheroes as they take flight on ropes and harnesses, drop out of midair wrapped in large nets and strips of fabric, and spin and soar from other invented apparatus. A show filled with daring acrobatics and polished technical movement, all wrapped into a suspenseful, yet humor-filled show in the perfect setting of a giant warehouse under the bridge, next to the train tracks!

57th Annual Hood River Valley Blossom Festival”, Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17. “Nothing is prettier in the spring than fruit trees in bloom, and the Hood River Valley Blossom Festival, now over 50 years old, celebrates the arrival of spring in style. Hood River Valley, which spans the north slope of Mount Hood to the south shore of the Columbia River Gorge, is the largest pear-growing region in Oregon, producing 50% of the nation’s winter pear crop. It’s also home to an abundance of cherry and apples orchards.The Blossom Festival is a perfect opportunity for the winter-weary to visit the Hood River Valley for a dose of Oregon’s springtime sunshine. A gorgeous drive along the loop of the Hood River County Scenic Tour Route is the centerpiece of the longtime celebration, and winds through the Festival’s activities at over 20 different venues. Events typically include a Blossom Fest Craft Show, Blossom Fest Quilt Show, a farm “pansy party,” a grange blossom dinner, and a fire department all-you-can-eat breakfast. Visitors can also get a real “taste” of the Gorge at several wine and beer-tasting events. The Festival’s main stars—the beautiful pink and white fruit tree blossoms—are best viewed from the comfort of your car. The Blossom Festival tour route is 47 miles long and averages about 1.25 hours. Most of the Hood River Fruit Loop member farms are located on the route and offer special blossom-time activities during this very special weekend.”

Hearing Voices Storytelling Festival Finale”, Saturday, April 16, 7PM, Garden Home Community Library. All four of the storytellers involved in the festival, Gene Tagaban, Jeff Gere, Kelly Hoffman, and Ken Iverson, will be telling stories.

Earth Day at Champoeg”, Saturday, April 16, 10AM-4PM, Champoeg State Park, 7679 Champoeg Road NE, St. Paul, OR, free with $5 parking permit. “Celebrate Earth Day with a variety of nature-related activities: Junior Ranger program for the kids; Guided nature walk focusing on the park’s wetland, dry prairie and oak savannah habitats; help restore Champoeg’s historic landscape; nature-related video presentation at the Visitor Center.”

Wild Foods of Oxbow’s Old Growth Forest”, Saturday, April 16, 8AM-12PM, $25 for adults, children 7-17 pay their age, children 0-6 are free, $3 discount for adult family members attending together, Native Americans, Scout leaders, and full time college students. “Join wild food expert and author John Kallas to learn about trees, shrubs and herbs of North America that are found at Oxbow Regional Park. Find a diversity of edible wild plants including fiddlehead fern, elderberries, Solomon’s seal, fairly bells, nettles, red huckleberries, salmonberry and more.” Lots of details and registration here: Also be sure to check out Mr. Kallas’ amazing book, “Edible Wild Plants: Wild Food From Dirt To Plate”. 

What’s Blooming on the Refuge- Spring Flowers”, Saturday, April 16, 10AM-12PM. “Join Refuge Volunteer Botanist, Ginny Maffitt to discover what's blooming and learn how native plants are vital to healthy wildlife habitats. We encourage you to bring cameras and plant identification guides if you have them. Binoculars are always handy for those "watchable wildlife" moments. Plant enthusiasts of all ages are encouraged to attend. To register, contact Sarah at 503.625.5944 x234.”

Legends of Mexico”, Saturday, April 16, 12PM, Kenton Library, and Sunday, April 17, 3PM, Midland Library. “Mexico is well known for its legends, myths and tales. They have had legends since the time of the Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecs, as well as legends after the arrival of the Europeans to the American Continent. Mexican legends talk about love, nature, and everyday life. The group Nuestro Canto has gathered legends from all over Mexico and has composed music especially for the legends they narrate during their performances. This program will teach participants about geography, history and the different languages still spoken in Mexico. Presented in English and Spanish.”

Grupo Condor”, Saturday, April 16, 3:30PM, Troutdale Library. “Enjoy traditional folk music featuring Spanish, African and Native American influences. Learn about the instruments and the importance of each culture's contribution to this enchanting music.”

The Alphabeticians Play The ABCs”, Saturday, April 16, 11AM, Sellwood-Moreland Library. “The Alphabeticians play "Kindie Rock" music that is fun for the whole family! They combine humor, clever (mostly original) songs, and interactive elements in their shows. Adults will have as much fun as the kids!”

Neighborhood Foraging of Spring Greens and Vegetables”, Sunday, April 17, 1PM-4PM, Wild Food Adventures, 4125 N Colonial Ave., Pdx. $22 for adults, children 7-17 pay their age, children 0-6 are free, $3 discount for adult family members attending together, Native Americans, Scout leaders, and full time college students. “Join wild food expert and author John Kallas and bushwhack through Portland's urban neighborhoods to find some of spring's best and diverse delectables. See and sample from plants you pass by everyday. Herbs, shrubs and trees with edible parts will be identified and sampled where appropriate. Wild Food Adventures workshops are designed to be fun, educational, and to make wild foods a reasonable resource for everyday people.”  Also be sure to check out Mr. Kallas’ amazing book, “Edible Wild Plants: Wild Food From Dirt To Plate”. 

Kids in Nature: Signs of Spring”, Sunday, April 17, 10AM-11:30PM, Tryon Creek State Park, $10. Recommended for ages 4-7. Preregistration required. “Join us as we go on a scavenger hunt for signs of spring. We’ll also use art and flowers to better understand spring colors. We’ll conduct simple science experiments so we can learn more about the springtime behaviors of plants too.”  Kids In Nature has always been great!  Adults and kids alike learn a lot.

Looking for Larkspurs and Lilies”, Sunday, April 17, 11:30AM-1:30PM, Cooper Mountain Nature Park, 18892 SW Kemmer Rd., Beaverton, OR. $10. “Cooper Mountain is a great natural area to explore with Metro naturalist and animal tracker Deb Scrivens. Controlled burns have encouraged a proliferation of native wildflowers including rare larkspur. This walk will focus on wildflowers, but if you are very lucky, you will spot the elusive lazuli bunting or perhaps a Western bluebird. Bring a snack and plenty of water for this stroll. Terrain is steep in places. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Meet at Cooper Mountain. $10. Advance registration required; call 503-629-6350. Hosted by Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District” Unlike other events hosted by THPRD, at Cooper Mountain, out of district fees are not charged. 

Mudeye Puppets Presents Deepsy Diver”, Sunday, April 17, 12PM, The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave., Pdx. $8 general admission. “Join Deepsy and a colorful cast of aquatic characters as she journeys from the darkest depths of the oceans to the wondrous Willamette river. Interactive games and music abound in this educational tale of how we can protect and preserve our local watershed. Stick around after the show to meet Deepsy, Wesley Water Strider and many other marine puppets.”

Wildlife Watching”, Monday, April 18, 3:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. “For kids in grades 1-3. Learn how to see more wildlife by moving slowly and using tools like 'Deer Ears,' 'Owl eyes,' and the 'Fox Walk' to slow down and really pay attention to what is going on in the natural world. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. (Registration required - online or at the library.)” 

Children’s Author Todd Parr”, Tuesday, April 19, 10:15AM, Hillsboro Main Library, Wednesday, April 20, 3:30PM, Beaverton Library Meeting Rooms A and B (featuring his book, "Reading Makes You Feel Good"), and Thursday, April 21, 4PM, Tigard Library Community Room (Each family will receive a copy of Todd?s book Reading Makes You Feel Good, while supplies last, thanks to the generous support of Friends of the Tigard Public Library.)  “More fun than a barrel of monkeys! Children of all ages are invited to celebrate reading with New York Times Bestselling children's author Todd Parr. Todd will bring a great big stack of his colorful, enchanting picture books, present an interactive reading experience, sign books and answer questions.” They have all three events listed as  English/ Spanish language events.

Go Native: Planting Gardens For Birds And Butterflies”, Wednesday, April 20, 7PM, Tigard Library Community Room. A program for adults that may be of interest to homeschoolers. “Ginny Maffitt, a local expert on native plants, will discuss plants that enhance wildlife habitat and draw birds and butterflies to urban gardens.” Ms. Maffitt is also leading a wildflower walk at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge on the 16th. 

Tualatin Hills Nature Park with the Audubon Society of Portland”, Wednesday, April 21, 8:30AM- 12PM, 15655 SW Millikan Way, Beaverton, OR. “Join leader Denny Graham at 8:30 am at the Tualatin Hills Nature Park Interpretive Center. We will spend the morning looking for songbirds while exploring the many habitat areas of the park. Dress for the weather and bring water and snacks. We will finish about noon. For more information call Denny Graham at 503-659-1245.”

Magnetic Puppet Play”, Thursday, April 21, 3:30PM, Belmont Library. Free tickets will be given out at 3PM. “Join local artist Kathy Karbo and create a magnetic play board for your library! First, Kathy will perform the story of Leo Lionni's classic tale Frederick. After the storytelling performance, construct a magnetic mouse puppet, scenery and props.” 

It Gets Better”. Bullying is something every parent fears. This doesn't fit in with the rest of my list, but if it helps even one person for me to help get the word out, it's worth including. Thursday, April 21, 7:30PM, Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. Come really early if you want a seat. “After a number of tragic suicides by LGBT students who were bullied in school, Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller uploaded a video to YouTube to inspire hope for LGBT youth facing harassment. Speaking openly about the bullying they suffered as teenagers and how they both went on to lead rewarding adult lives, their video launched the It Gets Better Project YouTube channel and initiated a worldwide phenomenon, with over 6,000 videos posted and over 20 million views in the first three months alone. It Gets Better (Dutton) is a collection of essays from celebrities, teens, and everyday people who have posted videos of encouragement, as well as material from new contributors who have yet to post videos to the site.” 

Recycled Art”, Friday, April 22, 3PM, Kenton Library, and Saturday, April 23, 2PM, Midland Library. “Celebrate Earth Day this year by transforming trash into art! Find new and inventive ways for recycling those items you normally throw away. Under the instruction of artist Lisa Kagan, participants will learn how to create sculptures and unique works of art out of recycled materials such as cans, newspapers, containers and other uncommon treasures. Supplies will be obtained from SCRAP, the School and Community Reuse Action Project.” 

Jay Frasier”, Friday, April 22, 7PM, Hillsboro Main Library. Jay Frasier is “comedian, magician, and balloon storyteller.”

Earth Day Celebration and Community Fair”, Saturday, April 23, 10AM – 7PM, 
Washington High School Field, SE 12th and Stark, Free. “Earth Day in Portland is an annual, daylong fun filled celebration from 10am - 7pm that brings together groups and individuals to celebrate and communicate about our love of the earth and all that live upon it.
This year’s Earth Day Celebration at Washington HS Field will feature: 
*Over 100 sustainable and local businesses and organizations, 
*A Kids Village 
*One Main stage of live music, entertainment, Public Speakers and one acoustic stage 
*FOOD and BEVERAGE vendors 
*30ft Geodesic dome 
*Interactive Tent with workshops and classes being help all day 
*Mid day organized Human Mandala spelling “We Need YOU” 
*Community Art Project(s) 
*Community Service Project(s) 
Dr. Kallas of Wild Food Adventures be there, among the 80 display booths. “Come see fresh, preserved, and dried samples of edible wild plants at John's booth. Also see posters and samples of Wild Food Adventure publications.”

Kindierock PDX”, Saturday, April 23, 10AM-12PM, doors open at 9:30. Curious Comedy Theatre, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Blvd, Pdx., $8 per adult, $4 per child. “Featuring Mr. Ben, Professor Banjo, Matt Clark, and The Alphabeticians!” They have a really nice space to perform.

Easter Eggstravaganza”, Saturday, April 23, 10AM-4PM, Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals, 26385 NW Groveland Dr., Hillsboro, OR. Free with admission, which is $7 adults, $6 seniors, $5 students, and children 4 and younger are free. "Enjoy a leisurely Easter egg hunt (start any time during Saturday's open hours) and a silent auction. One prize available for each person who finds three eggs. Prizes include crystals, thunder eggs, geodes, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, gold and more." What a lot of people like about this egg hunt is that it’s not competitive, and is an all day affair, not over 5 minutes after it starts. Plus the museum, well, rocks!!!

Procession of the Species”, Saturday, April 23, 403 Oak Street, Hood River, OR. Free. “The Earth Center and Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute are organizing the Procession of the Species. This fun event encourages kids, parents, and all community members to appreciate and celebrate the natural world. Dress up as your favorite species and march through downtown Hood River. The Mudeye Puppet Company will be joining us this year to perform a play about protecting our watershed, and march along the parade with huge, creative puppets. 
12:00 pm "Meet & Greet" the MudEye puppets. Try on costumes, dance to some music and get ready for the Procession. 
1:00 pm Procession of Species. Yes, MudEye will be marching in the Procession. 
1:45 pm MudEye Puppet show will present a 25 minute puppet show.”

komedy 4 da kids”, Saturday, April 23, 2:30PM, Gregory Heights Library, and Thursday, April 28, 10:30AM, Gresham Library. “Angel Ocasio presents a bilingual and interactive performance combining physical comedy, juggling, balancing and magic.”

Rhododendron Show”, Saturday, April 23, 12PM-4PM, Jenkins Estate, 8005 SW Grabhorn Rd., Beaverton, OR. “The historic Stable will be filled with rhododendron and azalea trusses for this judged show. The public is invited to participate in the event or to visit this spectacular display. Free admission. Entries will be accepted for judging from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. The show is open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. The plant sale will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.” This is a great excuse to visit the gorgeous Jenkins Estate and explore the lovely surrounding woods.

North Indian Classical Music”, Saturday, April 23, 3PM, Cedar Mill Community Library. “Under the direction of Dr. Nisha Joshi, students of the Swaranjali Academy of Indian Music will perform a variety of vocal and instrumental music.”

Oaks Bottom with the Audubon Society of Portland”, Sunday, April 24, 8AM-10AM. “Join Max Smith for a walk through Portland’s unique urban wildlife refuge. We will look for spring migrants, early nesters, and abundant waterbirds. This will be a great opportunity to practice birding by ear. Participants should dress for weather and expect occasionally steep, muddy trails. Directions: Meet in the parking lot at the north end of Sellwood Park where SE 7th curves east as SE Sellwood Blvd.” More info here: More info about the wildife refuge here:

Math Fun With The Doorbell Rang”, Tuesday, April 26, 4PM, Woodstock Library. Free tickets will be given out beginning at 3:30PM. “Add! Subtract! Multiply! Divide! Enjoy a special storytime and fun activities with numbers. This interactive program is for children 3–7 years with an adult.” 

Mariachi Viva Mexico”, Wednesday, April 27, 6:30PM, Fairview-Columbia Library. “This six-piece Mariachi band includes trumpets, violins, guitars, guitaron and vihuelas to create lively, spirited music.”

Meet the Author: Trudy Ludwig”, Wednesday, April 27, 6:15PM, West Slope Community Library. An adults only conversation about parenting issues. “Local author Trudy Ludwig specializes in writing picture books that explore and explain the often confusing world of children's social interactions, particularly when relational aggression is involved. This is an adults only conversation to hear Trudy talk about the friendship and bullying issues that kids face, and how we can help our children thrive in their social world.

Math Fun with Goldilocks”, Thursday, April 28, 3:30PM, Belmont Library. “Are you taller or shorter than Baby Bear? How many small bears weigh the same as one large bear? Join the Three Bears in measuring fun, games and stories. This interactive program is for children 3-7 years with adult.” 

Gathering of the Guilds”, Friday, April 29, 10AM-9PM, Saturday, April 30, 10AM-9PM, and Sunday, May 1, 10AM-5PM, Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Pdx. Free. “Oregon Potters Association and the Ceramic Showcase Present the “Gathering of the Guilds,” which is the only art show like it in the country. Not only is it the largest clay show in the U.S., but features work from a variety of art guilds including: Creative Metal Arts Guild, Guild of Oregon Woodworkers, Northwest Fine Woodworkers Guild, Oregon Glass Guild, Portland Bead Society, Portland Handweavers Guild and the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers. This one-of-a-kind show will feature over 350 booths of diverse, spectacular art for the home, garden and office. In addition to the pieces for purchase, the clay show alone will feature: Daily demonstrations of clay techniques by nationally-acclaimed artists; Lobby display featuring a “Entertaining the Queen of Cups” theme—a modern take on Renaissance Faire; A selection of Oregon wines available for tasting; · Adult clay area equipped with experienced teachers featuring potters’ wheels and tables for hand building; Children’s clay play area; · Local high school ceramic gallery; Giveaway of eight $50 gift certificates during the weekend; · High school teacher “Throw-A-Thon;” Friday evening jazz performance by the Pete Krebs Trio from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.”

Faire In The Grove”, Friday, April 29, 3PM til dusk, Saturday, April 30, 10AM til dusk, and Sunday, May 1, 10AM -3PM, McMenamins Grand Lodge, 3505 Pacific Ave. , Forest Grove, OR. Free, all ages. “Step back in time for a day of revels at the Faire In The Grove! Join Pacific University's History Department, Medieval Re-enactors, Armored Fighters & History Buffs, who invite you to experience the Middle Ages and the Renaissance! Hosted on the vast front lawn of the Grand Lodge, come and be transported back to Fairegrove, a medieval village. Enjoy seeing and learning some of the history behind life in the middle ages and beyond into the Renaissance. Enjoy live armored combat, rapier, dance, music, story telling, merchants, merchants, merchants, juggling, medieval cooking, and textile demos, book binding, leather working, and strolling musicians, singers and dancers throughout the day AND MORE!”A complete schedule of events can be found on their website: We went last year, and it was fun! I was surprised that there weren’t many food vendors, so be prepared in case that hasn’t changed this year.

Saqra’s 21st Annual Belly Dance Showcase Festival”, Saturday, April 29. 11:30AM-9PM, Sunday, April 30, 11:30AM- 7PM. Admission $7, children under 10 are free. “The event includes performances, along with workshops, live music, vendors of costuming, instruments, and art.”

Kindierock PDX”, Saturday, April 30, 10AM-12PM, doors open at 9:30. Curious Comedy Theatre, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Blvd, Pdx. $8 for adults and $4 per child. “Featuring Mo Phillips, Johnny & Jason, and The Toy Trains!” This is a nice performance space. 

Oregon Orchid Show”, Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, 10AM-5PM, Ambridge Event Center, 1333 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Pdx. Admission $7, a $2 off coupon is available on their website. “The largest orchid event in the Pacific Northwest! International, National and Local Vendors, Elaborate Orchid Displays, Repotting Clinic, Educational Displays, American Orchid Society Judging, Silent Auction, and Raffle.”

Floreo De Soga”, Saturday, April 30, 11:15AM, North Portland Library. “With grace and finesse, the Mendoza family presents traditional rope maneuvers and bailables of charros (Mexican cowboys) that have been passed on for generations. The performers wear traditional gear and clothing while demonstrating rope skills and tricks. Between demonstrations, they perform ballet folklórico including El Gavilán and La Bruja in traditional dress.” 

Cantos y Juegos”, Saturday, April 30, 2:30PM, Rockwood Library. “Join Tlaxcalan musician Hugo Nava as he sings and plays traditional music in Nahuatl, P'urhe'pecha and Spanish. Audience participation in this Spanish and English program is encouraged.”

A Walk On The Wetlands”, Saturday, April 30, 9AM-12PM, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, 2600 SW Hillsboro Hwy., Hillsboro, OR. $3. “Discover the magic of Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve on these wonderful, leisurely hikes. Volunteer Rick Balazs will lead us as we view all that nature has to offer on the Preserve. The emphasis is on birds, but participants will have the opportunity to enjoy the natural world and all of its creatures. The terrain is mostly flat, and the pace will be slow so we don’t scare away the critters. Dress for the weather, wear shoes or boots that can get wet and/or muddy. Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them. These hikes are limited to ten participants, so register early. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The trails are not wheelchair accessible. Call Sarah Pinnock at 503-681-6278 to register.” 

Third Annual Champoeg Quilt Show”, April 30-May 1, 10AM-3PM, Champoeg State Park, 7679 Champoeg Road NE, St. Paul, OR. “Quilting Through The Ages, featuring over 50 beautiful quilts, plus a raffle quilt! Quilt demonstrations by costumed volunteers.”

Oregon Ag Fest”, Saturday, April 30, 8:30AM-5PM, and Sunday, May 1, 10AM-5PM, Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem, OR. Adults $7.50, kids 12 and under free. “Always the last weekend in April, Oregon Ag Fest is an activity-filled festival where kids (and grown ups too!) can touch, taste and experience life on the farm. Agriculture affects us all, though many of us don’t know much more than where to buy the products we need. At Ag Fest, learn where our food and fiber comes from, how livestock is raised, the importance of forests for our ecology and survival, plus much more. Plant a seedling, ride a pony, watch chicks hatch, pet a rabbit, dig for potatoes and much more.” This is a lot of fun! 

Arbor Day and Earth Day”, Saturday, April 30, 1-4PM, Cedar Creek Grist Mill, 43907 Northeast Grist Mill Road, Woodland, WA, free, donations accepted. “We’ll be celebrating by hosting talks on the value of trees to Washington. There will be a free tree seedling for our visiting families. Music by the Old Time Fiddlers. Visitors to the Grist Mill will be greeted and given a "Working Tour" of how this mill still works today. Huge pulleys and belts spinning above and below are turning and churning to produce flour, corn meal and even apple cider (the last Saturday in October). These samples are given to the visitors for take home and a first hand experience of the products. No gas or electricity are used, simply mother nature's water power. All that work here are volunteers and are more than happy to explain how this process works to any and all.”

"Peregrine Watch",  Every Saturday from April 30- June 11 (weather permitting) 2-4PM, outside behind OMSI.  Free.  "On Saturdays throughout the spring, Audubon will have trained naturalists posted on the Springwater Trail behind OMSI to show visitors where the peregrines  are nesting and to  explain peregrine behaviors.  We will have scopes and binoculars for visitors  to use, and naturalists will be able to answer your peregrine questions".  We went last year, and unfortunately couldn't see a thing.  It all depends on exactly where they are nesting on the Marquam Bridge, and whether the adults and babies are active at the time.  They did bring excellent scopes, and were very knowledgeable.  So if we had been able to see something, it would have been pretty cool.  My suggestion is definitely to check it out, but not to make a special trip that doesn't include other activities.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Favorite Nature Guides

Spring is a wonderful time to go see waterfalls!  Mountain show is beginning to melt, warm weather is gradually returning, and many waterfalls that will be substantially diminished or nonexistent in summer, are now quite spectacular.  An excellent book that will help you track them down is Gregory Alan Plumb's "A Waterfall Lover's Guide: Pacific Northwest". 

Another good reason to head outdoors are the amazing wildflower displays!  You will notice that there are different beauties to be spotted in different areas- high and low altitudes, open sunny areas and shady wooded areas, dry soil and wetlands.  Don't miss the show!  A great guide to have with you is "Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast" by Jim Pojar, which includes the greater Portland area.  We love this book!  It has very thorough descriptions of plants.  We have never found a wild plant in this area that we couldn't identify with this book.  And it never fails to include something interesting about each plant.  

Spring is also, of course, a great time to observe birds, migrating northward and building nests.  "Birds of the Willamette Valley Region" by Harry Nehls, Tom Aversa, and Hal Opperman, really comes in handy.  While birding guides that use drawings are often better able to illustrate the most important field markings needed for bird identification, the photographs in this book are great, and the regional specificity is wonderfully handy.  

Spring is also a great time for learning something about foraging, as many foods are fleetingly available now.  Did you know that garlic mustard, an invasive species that drives conservationists nuts, is actually an escaped garden vegetable that has gone out of favor?  Picking them helps curb their spread and gives you a tasty new vegetable to try at the same time!  John Kallas, Ph.D., has written a wonderfully approachable book, "Edible Wild Plants", which will help you positively identify them with confidence and figure out how best to prepare them.  And he happens to reside in the Portland area, and will be offering some wonderful guided workshops this spring.  See his website:

"Scat and Tracks of the Pacific Coast", by James Halfpenny, Ph.D., is another book that can really come in handy.  It is thin and lightweight, yet I am amazed at the detail and thoroughness of its contents.   Many of the animals described are all around us, yet we never see them.  They are shy of people, and many are also nocturnal.  This guide helps you make sense of the traces they leave behind. It's definitely a book that helps open your eyes to the world around you.  If scat isn't your thing, and you just want to learn about animal tracks, "Animal Tracks of Washington and Oregon", by Ian Sheldon, has marvelous illustrations and includes lots of fascinating details about the animals themselves.  It is focused on a smaller region, which can also be helpful.

Last but not least, a book that is useful in any season is Metro naturalist James Davis' "The Northwest Nature Guide:  Where To Go And What To See Month By Month In Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia".  James Davis really knows his stuff.  His book will help you discover beautiful places right in our area and help you visit just in time to see something spectacular.  James himself qualifies as something of a local treasure.  He's a wonderful educator and excited about sharing his love of nature with others.  His public workshops and nature walks can be found on Metro's calendar.

Do you have a favorite regional nature guide?  Tell us about it!