Check out these naturalist and volunteer resources for things you can do from your home, backyard or neighborhood. Choose from community science projects, things you can listen to and learn from online, and resources you can access to improve your naturalist and volunteer skills.
Please, recommend other resources so we can grow this list.
If you can't get out of the house, your favorite natural area is closed, or you've been told that field trip has been cancelled, perhaps these web-based lectures will provide the intellectual escape you're looking for.
Portland Audubon has a variety of learning opportunities for all ages, from Nature Adventure Club for school-aged children to classes on birding by ear, warblers and snowy plovers. Check out their events schedule for more details.
OSU Extension Forestry and Natural Resources is working with the Partnership for Forestry Education to bring you this 15-week webinar series. You can participate in many of the classes that were set for Tree School in Clackamas County, along with some new classes developed exclusively for Tree School Online. Click the link to enroll today!
One of the silver linings from this uncertain time is that people everywhere are appreciating birds around their homes more than ever before. Are you eager to expand your enjoyment of birds at home? If so, join us for “Enjoying and Helping Birds at Home” on Thursday, April 23 from 6:00 - 6:45 pm ET. This webinar will feature insights and ideas from Mike Parr of American Bird Conservancy (ABC), Ken Rosenberg of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and ABC, and Jeff Gordon of the American Birding Association. We’ll also cover ways to help birds, including simple actions you can take around your home and garden. Register below to attend and also receive the recording afterwards. Note: please save your registration email confirmation, as it will contain essential login information needed to access the webinar.
Science on Tap is a science lecture series where you can sit back, enjoy a pint, and laugh while you learn. Listen to experts talk about the science in your neighborhood and around the world. You don't have to be a science geek to have fun - all you need is a thirst for knowledge! This is an online version of the pub-based Science on Tap, so grab a pint of your favorite beverage from your fridge and enjoy!
The OSU College of Forestry invites you to attend (virtually, of course) the Stay at Home Lecture Series, beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 9. Every Thursday through May, professors, students, and researchers will present their work that spans a wide range of topics and issues across the forest landscape. Lectures are open to the public, and presenters will answer questions following an approximately 20 to 30-minute presentation! We look forward to seeing you online!
Apr 2020 |
If you are hungry for the trail but can't get out there, here's a virtual hike that you can take from wherever you are.
A group of professional nature recordists from around the globe have collaborated to develop Nature Soundmap, an enjoyable and interactive way of exploring the natural sounds of our planet. Combining high-quality field recordings with the latest satellite imagery, the project brings together some of nature’s most beautiful, interesting and inspiring sounds. Check out more about this project at https://www.naturesoundmap.com/about-the-project/.
May 2020 |
Photo: Institute for Applied Ecology (Cropped from original)
The Institute for Applied Ecology has been doing a series of virtual field tours to check out native plants around the state as well as at their native plant farm where they propagate species for their restoration projects. Please check out these amazing videos to learn about what's blooming!
Want to know what's blooming right now in southern Oregon's Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion? Rachel Werling, OSU Extension Service - Jackson County, Land Stewards Program Coordinator, has created a series of wildflower identification videos. Rachel brings you along on her hikes in southern Oregon to view the rich diversity of native plants. Her videos will help you identify these beautiful plants and put them in context with where they are growing. Rachel plans to post more videos on the Land Stewards Program YouTube channel throughout the season. To view them, click the link and look for the wildflower videos. Check back often to view more!
May 2020 |
Are podcasts your thing? Looking for something new while you're working on a new home cooked recipe for dinner? Here's a growing list to choose from.
Chris Morgan takes listeners around the world to Italy, Germany and his own backyard of the Pacific Northwest to explore the beauty and wonder of the outdoors and its inhabitants. From beavers to wolves to grizzly bears we experience up close the resilient power of nature and our relationship with it.
Oregon Wildlife Society. This podcast is produced by the Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society in partnership with the Oregon Wildlife Foundation. The goal of the podcast is to give you the opportunity to hear directly from the experts, through long-form conservation about natural history and conservation.
Oregon State University Extension's own Andony Melathopoulos, Pollinator Health Specialist hosts a podcast about bees. He invites scientists, growers, and managers onto his podcast to have a conversation about bees and pollinator health.
Apr 2020 |
Film and Television
Tired of the content from your streaming service? Already binge watched the entire season of your favorite show? Here's some content that will inspire you to spend more time exploring Oregon's wild places.
Photo by Ellen Morris Bishop (Cropped from original)
Freshwater Illustrated is a Corvallis, Oregon-based nonprofit educational organization with a focus on raising the visibility and the conservation cause of freshwater ecosystems. They create immersive visual stories that introduce viewers to the beauty, wonder, and value of freshwater ecosystems. They produce short format films for web and feature films for broadcast and education. Take a look at their film portfolio.
Apr 2020 |
Learning Games and Activities
Need to build up your observational skills? Can't remember what bird sings that song? Here are some fun online games that will build your naturalist observational skills.
Almost everyone loves games! Cornell Lab of Ornithology has created a series of online learning games that help you build up your bird identification skills. There are games to help you learn bird song, bird anatomy, feathers, and other fun topics.
Apr 2020 |
Check out these resources for ways you can contribute your time and observational skills to various community science projects.
(Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network) - This one is part of the Oregon Season Tracker program, where you will get trained in specific protocols. Each time a rain, hail or snow storm crosses your area, volunteers take measurements of precipitation from as many locations as possible using special equipment and report their data to this database.
This NASA-supported app allowing volunteers to take observations and contribute to the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) community. Volunteers track changes in the environment in support of Earth system science research, and interpret NASA and other satellite data.
Use this app to make observations across all kinds of taxa. Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. iNaturalist shares your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data.
Native ladybug species are disappearing and non-native species are becoming more common. Help find out where all the ladybugs have gone so we can try to prevent more native species from becoming so rare.
Bumble Bee Watch allows individuals to upload photos of bumble bees to start a virtual bumble bee collection; identify the bumble bees in your photos and have your identifications verified by experts; help researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees; and among other things to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology's eBird relies on birders' checklist data collected within a simple, scientific framework. Birders enter when, where, and how they went birding, and then fill out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing.
This one is part of the Oregon Season Tracker program, where you will get trained in specific protocols. Home of Nature’s Notebook, a national phenology program in which professional and volunteer scientists record long-term observations of plant and animal life stages.
Apr 2020 |
Are you planning for your next volunteer education program even though you are stuck at home? Do you have a nature journal, but want a new approach to observing your surroundings? The resources below are a great start if you are looking for materials and ideas that you can use once we're back in our normal volunteer routines.
The staff of the Institute for Applied Ecology have rounded up art- and science-based backyard activities you can enjoy yourself or with your children, immersing them in the natural world and easing cabin fever.
The list below provides some ideas from Oregon State University College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences for families to learn about Earth sciences together at home. Some of these resources include outdoor ideas* to keep our bodies and minds fresh in this challenging time! Not sure if it’s okay to go outside right now? Check out this graphic on social distancing in outdoor spaces from National Recreation and Parks Association and visit only during quiet times. Respect posted park and open space closures.
(for students and teachers) - Oregon Forest Resources Institute has a page dedicated to resources about Oregon's forests. There are informational materials, grade-level specific content, and activities to choose from. Lots of great ideas for your next Master Naturalist program!
OSU Extension Outdoor School has put together a set of resources to support classroom teachers and students who would normally be outside, participating in their 5th or 6th grade Outdoor School experience. There are some great resources for Master Naturalists on this page, too.
Apr 2020 |
Need a casual read to get your mind on something else? Check out this list of online magazines and other content.
(from their website) - Orion magazine invites readers into a community of caring for the planet. Through writing and art that explore the connection between nature and culture, Orion inspires new thinking about how humanity might live on Earth justly, sustainably, and joyously.
Apr 2020 |
Are you looking for the next natural history book to curl up with? Check out these titles for your next read, and don't forget to recommend others for us to keep growing this list.
Photo: Chelsea Green Publishing (Cropped from original)
Interested in the history of Oregon's state animal? "Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter" is a powerful story about one of the world’s most influential species, how North America was colonized, how our landscapes have changed over the centuries, and how beavers can help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, extinction, and the ravages of climate change. Environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”—including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens—recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them.