Wildflowers are where it's at this April! Some hot spots for wildflower peeping are Coyote Wall, Catherine Creek, Columbia Hills State Park, Tom McCall Preserve, Memaloose Hills, Dog Mountain and Lyle Cherry Orchard, all in the Columbia River Gorge, where fields of yellow balsamroot (in the sunflower family) and blue lupines will be the stars of the show at most spots. Also camas lilies will be creating an ocean of blue at Camassia Natural Area, Lacamas Lake Park, and Bridal Veil Overlook. Directions, detailed hike info and parking regulations for most of these spots can be found on the Oregon Hiker's Guide: https://www.oregonhikers.org/ If you are heading out near Hood River, you can combine wildflower peeping with checking out the spectacular cherry blossoms on the Fruit Loop http://hoodriverfruitloop.com/travel-tips/fruit-loop-map and at Columbia Hills State Park you can also reserve a spot on a guided tour of the amazing petroglyphs: http://parks.state.wa.us/489/Columbia-Hills
Earth Day is April 22, and tons of local parks and nature preserves are hosting volunteer events this month to help beautify our public lands by planting native plants, picking up litter or pulling invasive weeds. Most are family friendly. (You may find it's a good idea to pick up a pair of gardening gloves in kids' sizes.) Check with one near you, or check the official Earth Day website: http://www.earthday.org/earth-day/; SOLVE: http://solveoregon.org/; or Hands On Greater Portland: http://www.handsonportland.org/.
"Bird Walk at Tualatin River NWR", Wednesday, April 6, 8AM, meeting at Backyard Bird Shop, 16949 SW 65th Ave., Lake Oswego. Free. Preregistration required; call 503-620-7454. "Join naturalist Elaine Murphy on a tour of Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge. Located on the outskirts of Portland, it is one of only a few urban national wildlife refuges in the country. It is home to nearly 200 species of birds, over 50 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles and amphibians, and a wide variety of insects, fish and plants." http://backyardbirdshop.com/index.php/site/event/tualatin_national_wildlife_refuge_free_bird_walk_oct_2/
"Sandy River Delta Bird Walk", Sunday, April 10, meeting at 8AM at Backyard Bird Shop, 1419 NE Fremont St., Pdx. Free. Preregistration required; call 503-661-4944. "Discover the Sandy River Delta, part of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, on a free expert-guided bird walk hosted by our N.E. Fremont Backyard Bird Shop. Naturalist Elaine Murphy guides you through this multi-use natural area located at the confluence of the Columbia and Sandy Rivers. The delta features riparian, wetland, and meadow habitats where you’ll search for songbirds in the cottonwood galleries, espy waterfowl in the recently restored wetlands, and consider Maya Lin’s Confluence Project Bird Blind." http://backyardbirdshop.com/index.php/site/event/sandy_river_delta_bird_walk_-_june_11/
"Lilac Days", Saturday, April 16 through Mother's Day, May 8, daily 10AM-4PM, Hula Klager Lilac Gardens, 115 South Pekin Rd., Woodland, WA. $3. While the gardens are generally open all year, Lilac Days are when the lilacs are at their peek. The lilacs are really fragrant and the gardens are spectacular. Lilac Sales, Hulda’s Farmhouse, and the Gift Shop are only open during Lilac Days. This is one of the area's hidden gems and is not to be missed! http://www.lilacgardens.com/
"Water Bugs at Whitaker Ponds Kids' Walk", Sunday, April 17, 10AM, Whitaker Ponds, 7040 NE 47th Ave., Pdx. Free. Preregistration required; call Backyard Bird Shop at 503-445-2699 to register. "Using bug boxes, magnifiers, a field microscope, and a bird spotting scope, child educator and naturalist Elaine Murphy introduces kids to the plants and animals that live around Whitaker Ponds Nature Trail. We’ll also look at natural artifacts such as skulls, and animal evidence such as pellets and chews." http://backyardbirdshop.com/index.php/site/event/kids_nature_walk_at_whitaker_ponds_on_april_27th/
"Nature Detectives", Sunday, April 24, 10AM, Mary S. Young Park, 19900 Willamette Dr., West Linn. Free. Suggested for families of children ages 5-11 with younger siblings welcome. Preregistration required; call Backyard Bird Shop at 503-303-4653. "Child educator and naturalist Elaine Murphy introduces kids to the clues that animals leave behind: tracks, scat and more, at Mary S. Young Park. Recommended for ages 5 - 11, younger siblings are welcome. Children must be registered with and accompanied by an adult. Dress for the weather!" http://backyardbirdshop.com/index.php/site/event/kids_nature_walk_at_mary_young_park_march_2015/
"Scouter's Mountain Nature Walk", Saturday, April 30, meeting at 8AM at Backyard Bird Shop, 22000 Willamette Dr., West Linn. Free. Preregistration required; call 503-303-4653. "This 100-acre nature park opened to the public in 2014. We'll hike through one of the few remaining forested buttetops in the area to search for migratory birds, pileated woodpeckers, deer, big-leaf maples and Douglas firs! Beginning to intermediate birders will enjoy this excursion. Join naturalist Elaine Murphy on a tour of Scouter’s Mountain Nature Park. Rising above Happy Valley, this park offers a lovely vantage point to admire Mount Hood – and slip into a shady forest. The park sits on an extinct lava dome that was a part of the Boring Lava Field, and was formerly a Boy Scouts campsite. Walk through a forest with trees more than a century old, including some that have grown here for 220 years. The trail through the forest is about a mile long." http://backyardbirdshop.com/index.php/site/event/scouters_mountain_nature_park_walk/