- Flickr / NPS Photo
The Nature of Winter: Mt. Bachelor Rangers Wanted"L
oves people. Natural mentoring spirit. Active. Likes variety. Rolls with changing conditions. Doesn't mind the cold." That's how Stacey Cochran describes the ideal Discover Your Forest volunteer ranger. She's recruiting rangers for three Mount Bachelor programs: Project SNOW, Snowshoe with a Ranger and Ski/Snowboard with a Ranger. Many Benditos are familiar with "Snowshoe with a Ranger." Did you know that Discover Your Forest also provides field trips for school groups during the week in the Project SNOW program? And that you can ski or snowboard with a volunteer ranger on weekends?
These high-visibility programs require lots of volunteers, and Cochran wants you! Ranger applicants will be thoroughly trained, because, as Cochran says, "We want our volunteers to be comfortable and confident." Discover Your Forest volunteer rangers wear Forest Service uniforms, so they need to be well-prepared. Training includes a two-day Certified Interpretive Ranger course and classes with Forest Service scientists. CPR and First Aid certification are also part of the volunteer ranger training. Each ranger will develop a 20-minute talk on a topic of their choice relating to winter in the Cascades. No natural history knowledge is necessary, because the experts will teach you what you need to know. Topics in the past have included Cascade geology, tree ID, animal winter survival and snow science.
f you're a skier or snowboarder, you can volunteer while having fun on the slopes. Ski/Snowboard Rangers take two intermediate runs with interested people, adding several stops to talk about the nature all around them.
Project SNOW (Studying Nature Outdoors in Winter) Rangers visit 4th and 5th graders in their classrooms before their Mount Bachelor visit, lead the kids on their short educational hike on the mountain, and make a return visit to the classroom after their field trip. These programs run four school days each week in January, February and March.
In addition to spending a day on the mountain, benefits of being a volunteer ranger include a NW Forest Pass after a certain number of hours, natural history knowledge and ranger know-how, CPR and First Aid training, and a volunteer recognition soiree. Plus, you get to wear that cool uniform! The application for all three programs is easily accessible on the Discover Your Forest website.
Want to participate?
You don't need reservations or experience to snowshoe with a ranger, and snowshoes are provided. If your group is larger than seven, call ahead so enough rangers are on hand. Skiers and snowboarders can join ranger-led runs for free with a lift ticket.
More winter opportunities
- Explore Winter Nature with Kids
Children's Forest offers Puddlestomper programs for preschoolers and their families, and Discover Nature Days for older kids. November programs are on the Children's Forest website, and they'll be offering winter programs as well. All events are free.
- Monitor Wild Horses in the Ochoco Mountains
Discover Your Forest needs citizen scientists to help monitor wild horses in the Ochoco National Forest this winter. Monitoring will be done on horseback, and Forest staff will even teach you to ride! Call Stacy Cochran for details.
Discover Your Forest
Stacey Cochran, Community Engagement Director
- Help Restore the Crooked River
Join the Oregon Native Desert Association's first work trip of 2018 in the beautiful John Day River country at the Clarno Nursery, to prepare native plants for planting along the Crooked River. This trip is coming up in late January or early February. Check ONDA's website for the date and details after the new year.
Oregon Natural Desert Association
- Go to the Birds
Take a break from holiday craziness and spend a morning or a day with a birder. East Cascades Audubon Society members lead bird walks every Wednesday morning and host the Christmas Bird Count every December. Both opportunities are perfect for new birders!