Leader: Mark Hougardy
Company: Road Scholar
Dates: Three trips, July-August, 2017
Participants: 15-25 per group
Type: 6-days of field outings and motorcoach travel in western Oregon
I enjoyed leading this Road Scholar trip for grandparents and grandchildren. It was a fun and educational opportunity for different generations to share time together exploring the world of animals. For my programs, I wanted to create a mentoring environment where, at the end of the program, everyone who is young at heart would think of themselves as a beginning zoologist. A zoologist is a curious person (a scientist) who loves to learn about animals and everything they can teach us.
An enrichment activity I created. A key skill in tracking is understanding of how animals move. We did this by measuring the stride and placement of tracks by various animals. This activity reinforced the story of OR-7 “Journey” Oregon’s most famous wolf who has traversed 4,000 miles during his lifetime (so far).
Llama and Alpaca visitors surprised participants on the first evening.
The next day we were visited by multiple small animals and even reptiles from a rescue center.
Our after-hours visit to the Oregon Zoo in Portland offered the opportunity to see and learn about exhibits that are often not experienced by the public. Here a lion and cheetah pelt could be touched.
And snakes too.
A visit to the sub-zero freezer where the animal’s food is kept. We did not stay long.
Examining a lion’s skull.
The next morning we traveled to the Chintimini Wildlife Center. An education owl is shown.
This hawk was too injured in an accident to return to the wild. Now she helps educate the public.
A wetlands touch tank.
A close encounter with skulls, pelts, feathers, tracks, and bones of local animals.
Dissecting owl pellets: discovering what an owl ate for dinner.
Exploring the Oregon Coast Aquarium. A “free time” opportunity made available with some creative scheduling.
A beautiful sunset on the Oregon Coast.
An excellent dinner of tempeh tacos at Cafe Mundo, one of Newport, Oregon’s fine restaurants.
Early morning beach exploration.
The giant octopus at the Hatfield Marine Science Center is one of the first non-humans we encountered.
A sea star, just one of the intertidal creatures both kids and grandparents could discover up close.
The marine science center has an array of great hands-on exhibits.
After visiting the marine science center we headed to the White Wolf Sanctuary. To continue the trip we departed the motor coach and boarded a school bus to drive up a forest road to the remote location.
One of the arctic wolves at the White Wolf Sanctuary. Copyright the White Wolf Sanctuary.
We returned from the wolf sanctuary to our motor coach. It waited for us at an abandoned gas station.
Spotting osprey on a nature walk at the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve.
Admiring the 1,200-pound nest of a bald eagle.
This young zoologist spots the group leader. That evening all of the participants finished the trip with dinner and a visit by a local storyteller.