Friends’ Newsletter

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The Photo Contest is upon us! Check out the Photo Contest page for rules and requirements. Entries have started to arrive.

Photos are due by Saturday, August 25th. Looking forward to seeing those great shots!

August 2018

What has been happening --

  • July 26: Macroinvertebrates : Our Thursdays at the Refuge has taken some curious turns. After setting up a canopy and all the trays as well as the new, portable microscopes to see and learn about the importance of water quality and macroinvertebrates to our wetland ecosystem, in addition to our intentional students, we had eleven tourists from Denmark wander by as they were walking the nature trail. We invited them to join our exploration and even though we shared very little vocabulary, we shared a universal language of curiosity and discovery.
  • August 2: Wetland Birds: Our Thursdays have been growing in popularity each week. We had 8 kids and 3 parents join us for an informative morning of learning about wetland birds and their adaptations.
  • August 9: Birds of Prey : Ever growing, we had 15 kids and 5 parents learn about birds of prey and even participate in the dissection of owl pellets.

What is coming up --

  • Thursdays at the Refuge (10 a.m. to noon) -- August 16 -- Tracks (ages 6-14)
    • Halt, who goes there? If you learn to identify tracks, you will know that and so much more. We will have numerous track samples available and will assist you in making a plaster cast of a track to take home with you. Also, if you bring a T-shirt, you can take it home all “tracked up” and personalized.
  • Tuesday, August 14: Twenty K-6 teachers from Edith Bowen Lab School on the USU campus will join us at the Education Center for a workshop on the resources we have available and collaboration on how to use those resources throughout the school year and across grade levels.
  • September 10 - 21: We will be helping out with the Natural Resource Days sponsored by USU. We will work with all Fourth Grade students in Cache Valley during that time helping them to understand that Migration Matters.
  • October 1- November 2: Mountain Wilds to Wetland Wonders . During these 5 weeks we will work with every Fourth Grader in Box Elder County. We will be meeting at the top of the watershed at Hardware Ranch and we will meet again in the spring at the Refuge to complete our journey to the bottom of the watershed.
  • We have now catalogued all of the books, DVDs, trunks and other resources in the Teaching Lab and are working toward making those lists available online for teachers and parents to more easily understand the vast resources the Education Center has and to increase their use.
  • The Dedication Plaque for the new Wildlife Viewing Tower has arrived and the Board of the Friends of the Bear River Refuge is working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff to get it installed at the tower site. Have you visited our new two-story tower yet? You will be amazed at how far around you can see even without binoculars! And, once again, a sincere “thank you” to all of you who made the tower a reality.
  • And our next big project is what, you ask? Stay tuned. As soon as we get all the proper authorizations, we will let you know.

Bird of the Month -- Western Grebe

According to the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America , the Western Grebe is a large slate-and-white grebe with a long neck. It sports a long bill which is greenish yellow with a dark ridge. The black of its cap extends below the eye which helps to differentiate the Western Grebe from the Clark’s Grebe. Its voice is loud and reedy and the call is a “crik-crick”. Its habitat is rushy lakes and sloughs, which is why we see them here at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. They come in the spring to breed and delight our visitors with their mating “dance.” And once the chicks are hatched, it is fun to try to spot the chicks hitching a ride on their parents’ backs.

In the winter, the Western Grebes prefer large lakes, bays, and coasts, so they leave us behind when the chicks fledge. But we know we can always look forward to their return in the spring.

In Conclusion:

As you can see, we have had a busy summer and are now getting ready for the school year. All of these activities are sponsored and paid for by the Friends of the Bear River Refuge. If you would like to help us out, please go to the “Join Us” page on our website and you will find all the information about becoming a member there. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Thank you very much for your attention!


Colleen Castillo

Executive Administrator

Friends of the Bear River Refuge



Bryce Passey

Environmental Education Specialist

Friends of the Bear River Refuge

See You Next Month!