Citizen science in the Gorge

Last week, local and regional high school students tested water quality, examined stream morphology and tracked endangered carnivores on a weeklong backpacking, biking and kayaking adventure through the Hood River watershed.

Hailing from Hood River, Camas, Portland and Seattle, 10 high school students explored the Hood River watershed from its headwaters on the Eliot Glacier to its confluence with the Columbia. Oregon Episcopal School in Portland hosted the trip in collaboration with Cascade Mountain Semester (White Salmon).

The purpose of the trip was to “make science come alive,” said Emily Goodwin, founder and director of Cascade Mountain Semester, and “to offer science research and biology credit to students interested in applied environmental science.”

Throughout the trip students recorded their findings on water quality, plant community ecology and carnivore biology to assist local and regional monitoring efforts.

Highlights of the trip included seeing a sockeye salmon build its redd on the East Fork of the Hood River, working with a Portland State University glaciologist to discover how glaciers move, tracking the Cascade red fox with Cascadia Wild, kayaking with Wet Planet, biking in the upper valley with Mountain View Cycles and investigating water quality with Columbia Riverkeeper.

José, a Hood River Valley High School student, said, “I stepped into a whole other world in the woods … it just felt good. It was a great experience.”

Another student said, “It’s everything I’d ever want to do outside in one week!”

Trip participants will continue to investigate their hypotheses and interpret the information they collected throughout the school year.

Scholarships for trip participants were provided by the Orange County Community Foundation.

For more information about Cascade Mountain Semester visit http://cascademountainsemester.word-press.com.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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