Since 2010, the Natural Areas Action Team has organized an annual Natural Areas Celebration Week during the first week of May. Designed to foster an awareness and appreciation of diverse natural areas in Benton County, Natural Areas Celebration Week includes a series of events – hikes, walks, workshops, lectures, and more -sponsored by various local organizations. There’s always something for everyone!
This year’s 2023 Natural Areas Celebration Week May 6 – 14 offers a variety of events.
Woodpecker Loop Walk – May 6, 10 am – noon
Walk around Woodpecker Loop Trail for the kickoff of Natural Areas Celebration Week. Meet at the W.L. Finley NWR’s Woodpecker Loop parking lot for a gentle hike through woodland and prairie habitats. We should be able to see Calochortus tolmeii in bloom and many other early spring flowers. More information.
Spring Garden Festival – May 7, 10 am – 4 pm
Corvallis NPSO will be selling native plants! Co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition. Information here.
Butterfly Conservation Tour – May 7, 1 – 3 pm
Guided tour of the Crisp property near Wren, Oregon where recovery efforts for the Fender’s blue butterfly and its pair species Kincaid lupine are underway. Lumos Winery has graciously allowed us to use some of their lot for parking space during the tour. RSVP is required, but anyone who is interested in attending can reach out to IAE. Information here.
Hesthavn Nature Center – May 8 – 12, 12 – 2 pm
Audubon Society of Corvallis will open Hesthavn Nature Center during the day for this year’s Natural Areas Celebration Week. The Nature Center will be open on Monday, May 8 to Friday, May 12 from 12-2pm. Visitors can walk the trails at Hesthavn Nature Center from dawn to dusk to enjoy the blooming Larkspur and other spring blooms. Hesthavn (auduboncorvallis.org)
Jackson-Frazier Wetland Birding & Boardwalk Bonanza – May 8 – 12, 4 – 6 pm
Drop in anytime for a guided tour by skilled volunteers and county parks staff to learn about the recent wetland restoration, massive bird migration, and the new boardwalk plans! This event will support the replacement of the 35 year old Jackson-Frazier Boardwalk and lead to diverse community access for the next 75 years! Jackson-Frazier Wetland | Benton County Oregon
Meadow Edge Loop Trail to Marys Peak Summit – May 8, 1:00-5:00 pm
Hike through four very different ecological communities along the highest elevation creek in the Oregon Coast Range on this lesser-known trail to the Marys Peak Summit (if snow and weather allows). Catch the first hints of early spring flowers through the only Noble fir forest in the Oregon Coast Range. Visit the Sierra Club calendar or contact the Sierra Club for information.
Soil Walk at Harkens Lake with James Cassidy – May 8, 10 am – noon
Take a walk with soil expert James Cassidy of Oregon State University and have your mind expanded by the incredible world of soil! The basis of human civilization, the reason you live where you live, the origin of every single atom in your body is SOIL! We will tour Harkens Lake, a 404 acre conservation easement property along the Willamette River on an easy paced 2 hour ramble over flat ground for up to 1.5 miles. Soil Walk at Harkens Lake with James Cassidy
Owens Farm: Past and Future – May 9, 4 – 7 pm
Join Greenbelt Land Trust and explore the fascinating history of Owens Farm. Learn about the Knotts-Owens family, their influence in Benton County, uses of the farm over time, and hear about the exciting vision for this property in the future.
This tour will include a brief look inside the historic Owens Farm House. Dress for the weather and bring snacks and water. We will tour the property at a leisurely pace for up to 1.5 miles including some slight elevation gain. Owens Farm: Past and Future, Tuesday, May 9th, 2023 (greenbeltlandtrust.org)
Marys Peak Tie Trail Loop – May 10, 1:00-5:00 pm
Hike through Noble fir, Douglas-fir and Western Cedar forests along the least-travelled official loop trail that makes you feel like you are far from civilization. Visit the Sierra Club calendar or contact the Sierra Club for information.
Sunset Nature Walk and Crafts at Dunawi Wetlands (Bruce Starker Arts Park and Natural Area) – May 10, 4 – 8 pm
Learn more about the Dunawi Wetlands and its inhabitants: There will be a booth for art activities such as leaf rubbings and clay pressing, as well coloring sheets for kids. And an avid birder available to accompany people on the boardwalk if they are interested in spotting and identifying birds. We will also talk about the resident beavers whose dam and lodge are easily spotted from the boardwalk.
Please RSVP to Sunset Nature Walk at Dunawi Wetlands (Bruce Starker Arts Park and Natural Tickets, Wed, May 10, 2023 at 4:00 PM | Eventbrite
Wildflower Walk – May 11, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Exploring Nature; a wildflower walk with Jody at Finley Wildlife Refuge
Explore new trails, learn about the natural world around us, and hone your observation skills. Everyone is welcome, with a focus for the novice naturalist. Dress for the weather, and wear walking shoes (no sandals). Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex: Wildflower Walk at William L. Finley NWR with Jody (signupgenius.com)
South Corvallis’ Secret Wetland Wonderland – Herbert Farm Natural Area – May 12, 2 – 4 pm — SORRY, TOUR IS FULL
Herbert Farm Natural Area lies between South Corvallis and the Corvallis Airport at the confluence of Muddy Creek and the Marys River. The City-owned NaturalE Area is being regenerated from a former family farm to it previous ecological and culturally-rich wetland habitat. Email for more information.
Native Shrub Identification Workshop – May 13, 10 am – noon
Oregon State Professor Emeritus and author of Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests, Ed Jensen will lead this introductory workshop in native shrub identification. Participants will learn basic native shrub identification skills and have a chance to practice in the forests of Bald Hill Farm. Signed copies of Ed’s book will be available to purchase at cost, or you can bring your own copy, or you can borrow one of our copies – you do not need to purchase a book to participate.
This event is full. If you’d like to be added to the waitlist, please Contact Kendra Callahan, firstname.lastname@example.org. Native Shrub Identification Workshop, Saturday, May 13th, 10am (greenbeltlandtrust.org)
Art in the Garden Mother’s Day Event – May 13 – 14, 11am-4pm
Support regional artists, stroll the gardens, pick up herb and plant starts, and hear live music at the Thyme Garden.
Native Shrub Arboretum at Starker Arts Park – May 14, 4-5 pm
For Mother’s Day, see and learn about the native shrub arboretum in Starker Arts Park on a stroll by the Duck Pond. Email for more information.