Friends of Fox Creek received a grant of $1,400 last August from the Columbia County Cultural Coalition to design and fabricate a historical sign about Charles E. Fox, the founder of Rainier in 1851. Fox Creek was named for this pioneer settler. A committee has been working steadily to research the biography of Fox and to design the layout of the sign, which will be two feet by three feet in size, rendered on high-pressure laminate and mounted on a steel frame to be placed near the A Street bridge in Rainier.
An equal partner with FFC on the sign project has been the Rainier Junior/Senior High School History Club, advised by Social Studies teacher Andrew Demko, who first conceived the idea of the sign acknowledging Fox. The History Club, which has won national awards, produces an annual re-enactment of events of 1853 in Rainier at the Beaver Homes Grange. (This year’s event is April 13th.) The sign project has also received the full cooperation of the Rainier School District, the City of Rainier and Rainier Masonic Lodge #24; the latter supplied the portrait of Charles Fox for the sign.
The grant received by FFC is part of a distribution of lottery dollars to county cultural coalitions by the Oregon Cultural Trust for use by nonprofit organizations sponsoring cultural events and projects.
An unveiling ceremony in Riverfront Park for the completed sign is expected to take place in May or June of this year.
Friends of Fox Creek held its annual meeting on March 7th, 2013, at El Tapatio Restaurant in Rainier. About 30 people attended, and all enjoyed a brief review of the year’s activities, some pleasant conversation, the annual election of two directors and some fine Mexican food.
The highlight of the evening was the program presented by Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society, who brought a suitcase full of artifacts from the Society’s museum in Portland. Mr. Tymchuk told the story behind each artifact, and passed around ones that could be safely handled, including Lewis & Clark’s branding iron (retrieved from the Columbia River!) and a chunk of the Willamette Meteorite. Mr Tymchuk was introduced by Andrew Demko, history teacher and advisor to the History Club at Rainier Junior/Senior High School.
Pursuant to the history theme this year, one of FFC’s projects for 2013 is installation of a sign near the creek commemorating the founding of Rainier by Charles e. Fox in 1851. Andrew Demko and the History Club have been spark plugs for this project.
In the election of Directors the recommendations of the Nominating Committee (Sally Bledsoe, Brandy McGladrey and Saundra Morris) were accepted unanimously: Amy Poulos was re-elected to a three-year term, and JoAnne Booth rejoined the Board for a three-year term after a hiatus of several years. Board officers will be elected by the Directors at a subsequent meeting.
President Bob Burnham honored Michal Kelly Miller for her years of service as a Director on the Board, and specifically, as FFC Treasurer.
For the Annual Meeting on March 7th, 2013, FFC President Bob Burnham reviewed the organization’s activities during 2012 as part of the annual President’s Report to the membership.
2012 was our 21st year of restoring and enhancing Fox Creek and Nice Creek, Bob reported, and it included sponsoring the 23rd annual Earth Day event in Rainier, dressing up the Fox Creek Trail and making good progress against the ubiquitous English ivy.
“We were pleased once again to have the partnership of the City of Rainier, Riverside Community Church, SOLVE, Boy Scout Troop 332, Willapa Hills Audubon Society and plenty of volunteers from the community. Pacific Fibre Products provided the bark for the trail surface.”
Spawning surveys were conducted by FFC volunteers in the winter season just past, with no official sightings of fish or redds, although there were reports of Coho spawners from other sources.
In 2012 FFC worked with the city to allow FFC to retrieve waste cedar chunks from the watershed to be milled into lumber, which was used to build wood duck nest boxes and bat boxes. The boxes were then placed in the watershed, and they will be maintained by FFC volunteers in the future.
An important achievement of Friends of Fox Creek in 2012, Bob reported, was winning a $1,400 grant to build a Charles E. Fox historical sign for the city park.
At FFC’s Annual Meeting Feb. 25th two board positions will be filled by election, and attendees will enjoy partaking of the banquet prepared again this year by Amy Poulos . To top it off, amphibian researcher Laura Guderyahn will share the latest insights on worldwide frog declines.
The event will begin at 6:30 pm at Rainier’s Old Hall (“Big Green”), 103 C Street, Rainier. Reservations should be made by February 18th.
For details and to make reservations contact FFC at email@example.com or call Michal Kelly-Miller at 503-410-1599.
Friends of Fox Creek will be treated to a fast-paced and fascinating summary of research findings on the mystery of frog declines and abnormalities in this country and around the globe.
“How many legs does a frog need to catch a fly?” That is the title of amphibian researcher Laura Guderyahn’s presentation at the FFC Annual Banquet on February 25th at Rainier’s Old Hall, 105 C Street, Rainier. The event begins with dinner at 6:30 pm.
In what has been informally called the Beaver Project, FFC volunteers assisted scouts and their parents on January 7th in placing protective wire sleeves around trunks of willows and alders near the mouth of Fox Creek.
The sleeves are three feet high and were cut to fit and installed on about 3 dozen trees below the A Street bridge by Boy Scout Troop 332 under the leadership of Scoutmaster Ted Heacock. Beavers have built a dam near the mouth and it was feared that all the small and medium-sized trees shading the creek there — as a result of earlier plantings — could be lost to the beavers if not protected.
Friends of Fox Creek provided tools for the workers and contributed three 50-foot rolls of wire fencing to the project.
Looking back on 2011, FFC takes pride in a successful annual banquet on March 19th (rescheduled from February 26th due to inclement weather), featuring the “ordination” of a new board member, Michal Kelly-Miller, and the retirement of board member Bill Vilardi, who had been recently elected to the City Council. All attendees enjoyed Robert Michael Pyle’s presentation on his butterfly “big year.”
FFC volunteers once again organized and executed the annual Earth Day Fox Creek Trail Project in cooperation with SOLV on April 23rd, fielding 32 youth and adults to attack the English Ivy and to chip the trail.
FFC supported other community groups’ activities and put its own message out there in 2011 by operating a booth at the 2nd annual Rainier Revisited historical re-enactment April 16th and at the 2nd annual Pumpkin Festival October 29th.
FFC volunteers were excited to find two live Coho up Fox Creek on November 26th during the first organized survey of the season. Then three live Coho and one Coho carcass were found on December 3rd. A survey on December 10th came up empty, but the survey of Dec. 18 noted one Coho carcass.
Volunteers are noticing new pools and new gravel appearing where logs were placed in the creek during the habitat improvement project of late summer 2010.
Friends of Fox Creek is conducting its annual Fox Creek Clean-up on Saturday, April 23rd , from 9 am to 1 pm in partnership with SOLV, the City of Rainier, Boy Scout Troop 332 and Riverside Community Church.
Volunteers will remove English Ivy and Himalaya Blackberries from the trail sides and spread wood chips donated by Georgia Pacific Wauna Mill. Leather gloves, five-gallon buckets and owner-marked hand tools will be needed.
Volunteers may register at SOLV’s web site before the day of the event ( http://www.solv.org/programs/event_details.asp?eventID=18722 ), or call Darrel Whipple (503-556-9838) or Bob Burnham (503-556-4918). Participants will park on C Street between West Second and West Third in Rainier or in the Riverside Community Church parking lot and assemble south of the lot at the trail head.
The program for the FFC Annual Banquet on February 26 will be “Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year,” presented by Bob Pyle, prominent butterfly scientist of Grays River, Washington.
Bob spent a year on the road searching for as many as he could find of North America’s 800 butterfly species. Mariposa Road, from which he will read aloud poignant selections, is the book that resulted from his journey.
Robert Michael Pyle is the author of 14 books and has received numerous awards and accolades for excellence in nature writing and contributions to the science of lepidoptery. More info about his life and achievements can be found here . Photos and diary tidbits from his journey are found at this site .
For many years, birders have vied to see how may species of birds they could spot in the US and Canada in one calendar year — what they call a Big Year. After his earlier journey with butterflies, recounted in Chasing Monarchs, Pyle was “hankering for another road trip.” Realizing that no one had ever attempted a butterfly big year, he decided to undertake the first one throughout 2008. Pyle says his adventure, highlighted in Mariposa Road, is “partly a transect of butterfly well-being across the country today” and ” illustrates exactly how conservation efforts like Fox Creek underlie the entire butterfly and biodiversity picture.”