Let the Fun Flow!

Cascadia Expeditions had the pleasure of collaborating with Benton County Natural Areas & Parks and Greenbelt Land Trust to deliver an exceptionally fun experience for youth on the Willamette River. Joining after a morning of hiking, we were happy to deliver a few games and enjoy lunch river side before splitting up into teams and diving into the rafts for our float.

Pointing out various interesting sites along the way, and making a few stops to install duck nesting boxes, these kids were simply pumped to be outside paddling, learning about ducks, other wildlife, ecology, and river currents, and of course…to be getting wet!

Get to know your ducks!

Get to know your ducks!

The weather delivered perfect sunshine and warm temperatures excellent for spending a long afternoon playing with friends and doing what kids do best –discovering and exploring! The added perk of this being in their backyard just made it all the more satisfying.

Our first duck box installation was a success as the participants listened to Adam Stebbins, Benton County’s Natural Resources Coordinator, describe the purpose of these handmade houses as well as the reasoning for location and habitat selection. The kids helped Adam hoist the box into the air so to be secured to a tree. The next installation was hampered by a wasp nest, but still gave the kids a good lesson in patience and persistence as we searched for another suitable spot.

Kids get to help install duck nesting boxes along the Willamette River.

Kids get to help install duck nesting boxes along the banks of the Willamette River.

As the trip neared its end, we stopped at a shallow bend in the river to deliver a few snacks, and before you could say “duck box!”, the kids had determined a perfect place to safely swim and float between the rafts as the current bobbed them along. Staff created a boundary line between rafts and the kids splashed, raced, skipped rocks, searched for stoneflies and caddisflies, and tried their best to catch minnows.

Kids ford the Willamette River together. Everyone needs a friend to lean on!

Kids ford the Willamette River together. Everyone needs a friend to lean on!

Once we arrived at our final landing, it was simply satisfying to see how much the kids had learned in such a short time. With 17 of them and energy to burn, they even helped Cascadia staff haul boats and gear back up to the vans. We’re looking forward to the next adventure!

Until then,

Kyla Basher and the Cascadia Expeditions Crew

-GLT Guest Blog. Check out the Cascadia Blog HERE!