Monthly Archives: December 2015

Catch the Rare Full Moon on Christmas

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“…And to all a good night.”

The full moon in December is known as the “Cold Moon” or the “Long Nights Moon” (according to the Farmer’s Almanac) because it’s the month that winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere.

Rudolph may get to take Christmas off this year because the full moon will be shining bright for Santa! The cold, bright, beautiful, December full moon will rise on Christmas morning. The Christmas moon will peak on December 25 at 3:11 a.m. PST.  There has not been a full moon on Christmas since 1977 and won’t happen again until 2034!

NOAA’s long range forecast, is predicting temperature’s in the high 30’s, with a 40% chance of precipitation at Lake Billy Chinook.

Happy Winter Solstice – December 21, 2015

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The Shortest Day of the Year and the Longest Night. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice will occur on December 21, 2015 at 8:49pm PST, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word solstice, which comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, “sun” and -stitium, “a stoppage.” Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.  Its also the beginning of winter.

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Many holiday celebrations and traditions abound this time of year. The Staff at The Cove Palisades State Park wish you and yours Happy Holidays!

Culver Middle School Adopts The Cove

This year Culver Middle School has adopted The Cove Palisades State Park as part of their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program for the 2015/2016 school year.  “Culver Middle School is so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Cove Palisades State Park, creating real world life experiences that foster 21st century skills to be successful in the future while also arranging a solution to a problem right in our backyard,” says Mr. Brad Kudlac, Principal.

This year natural resource management is really the key focus.  Students are challenged to find solutions to real world problems in their community.  In this case they will be tackling threatened wildlife species, habitat loss from wildfire; as well as sharing local oral history.  Culver Middle School  teachers Mrs. Naomi Little, Mr. Mark Habliston and Mr. Jake Shinkle will bring several classes to the park throughout the year. Students will make significant differences in their community at The Cove by creating a certified monarch butterfly way station to aid in the butterflies successful annual migration, riparian restoration in a burned out area of the Crooked River Wetlands area and encouraging other children to learn about The Cove’s history.

One of the first projects undertaken is willow propagation to help restore sections of the Crooked River Wetlands that were burned in a wildfire over the summer.  This project has already piqued the attention of the Governor’s Office.  Everyone involved is really excited to make a difference that visitors and wildlife will notice and appreciate.

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Coyote Willow (Salix exiqua), photo credit USDA

Coyote Willow with it’s long, narrow leaves is the most distinctive of the willow species, is a perennial shrub, native to Central Oregon and much of the west.  This culturally important plant was collected by Native American’s for a variety of uses including food, medicine, building material and basketry material.    It is currently found in the wetlands and is important to birds and wildlife for cover and food.  Willow is also used as stream bank erosion control.

 

 

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Culver Middle School STEM Class

Twenty-four students from Culver Middle School, accompanied by their teacher Mr. Jake Shinkle, came out to the park and collected more than 200 willow cuttings from existing plants that did not burn in the fire.

 

Ms. Maggie Prevenas, OSU STEM Outreach Coordinator, taught students that plant communities are constantly changing.  These changes can be very subtle and can be undetected by the casual observer; however from a management perspective detecting change is essential.  Maggie showed six students how to take photo points.

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Mr. Shinkle and Ms. Prevenas working with students.

This method consists of taking photographs from two permanently fixed points to monitor change in the plant community over time.  Coyote willow roots freely from cuttings, and is an easy species to propagate.  Students are hoping for an 80% survival rate.  These cuttings were taken to the middle school and will be prepared.  The first step is to soak the cuttings in water.  Students will treat half of the cuttings with growth hormone and leave the other half in plain water.  Once cuttings sprout roots, they will be planted and cared for over the winter.  Next spring students will bring their new plants to the park and will repopulate an area that was devastated last August by wildfire.

 

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Wildfire at The Cove, August 29, 2015 – photo credit Jefferson County Fire

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  Area that will be rehabilitated.

 

Stay tuned for more news on all the projects and how they are progressing…

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