A Successful Summer
This month The Crest wrapped up its summer programs, reflecting on what we have learned, and looking towards Outdoor School programming for the 2021-2022 school year.
Where has the time gone! This summer has been full of joy, community building, laughter, play, learning and baby goats.
This year’s Nature Day Camp program was generously supported by the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF). The Crest was awarded a large grant to increase access to our camps in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to the OCF grant, The Crest provided bus transportation everyday from Medford, Talent and Ashland to Willow-Witt Ranch. Campers also went home with a box of organic, ranch-grown veggies twice a week.
Throughout our 10 weeks of camp, we served 201 campers and distributed more than $29,000 in scholarship money.
We are so happy and proud of what our summer camp program has accomplished this year! Thank you to the Oregon Community Foundation for helping us make it a success.
The Crest will be hosting our 2nd annual Turtle Trot fundraiser 5k race starting September 22nd on the Autumnal equinox and finishing October 31st on Halloween. Funds will support outdoor education programs, classes and field trips for students from surrounding school districts. Registration will open soon so stay tuned!
This 445-acre property is home to the highest elevation breeding population of Western Pond Turtles. The ruggedly beautiful 5k course is designed for hikers and adventure runners in mind. It takes you through the rolling hills of the lower Cascades (complete with rocks to keep an eye out for), around wetlands (could be soggy even in September) and meadows filled with wildflowers, past the old homestead and over a few seasonal creeks — all the obstacles a Western Pond Turtle must navigate living at this elevation. See trail map.
This special population of turtles is the current focus of our curriculum, connecting the efforts of the turtles to survive with the climate change issues we also face — and the impacts on our own food and water — right in our own backyard.
The Upland Stewardship Corps volunteer collaboration went very well at Willow-Witt Ranch. The Crest and nearby Vesper Meadow hosted restoration-focused volunteer work parties every week on Thursdays and Saturdays from May through July.
At Willow-Witt Ranch, volunteers planted nearly 200 willow starts in the wetland meadow streams, removed a gigantic amount of invasive yellow flag iris from the Turtle Pond, nearly cleared the upper meadow of invasive Teasel and cut beautiful trail for the upcoming Turtle Trot.
Everything we accomplished was a wonderful show of community investment in this land. We are so grateful to all of our volunteers for this amazing summer.
The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) provided The Crest with a significant grant this summer to make our Nature Day Camp programs the best and most accessible they could be.
The OCF mission is to improve the lives of all Oregonians through the power of philanthropy. As a statewide community foundation, they work alongside donors, stewarding their priorities into strategic giving to support diverse communities across Oregon, creating lasting, transformative change.
The Oregon Community Foundation focuses on seven impact areas: Arts and Culture, Economic and Community Vitality, Community Engagement, Education, Health and Well-being, Housing Stability, and Land and Nature.
We are so grateful to them for supporting The Crest programs this summer!
Find more information at https://oregoncf.org/.
This summer, The Crest has had two superstar volunteers helping out with the Nature Day Camps. Amelia and Ash have collectively contributed 280 hours of volunteering while assisting with the Turtles group. They are both amazing!!
Ash decided to help while staying at Willow-Witt Ranch for several weeks with family. Amelia came up to the Ranch from the Bay Area, joining her older sister Zoey who worked as an Assistant Instructor for several weeks.
Both of these amazing people are about to enter 9th grade. I have been so impressed with their maturity, kindness and dedication to the campers. Thank you Amelia and Ash!
The birdfeeders around the Farmhouse are full of Black-headed Grosbeaks this time of year. These striking birds are particular about their forests and elevation, but we’ve got enough food for them to thrive.
Black-headed Grosbeaks feed on seeds, berries and insects. They prefer to breed in oak woodlands. Grosbeaks can be found throughout the western half of the United States and Mexico. They are related to Cardinals and Buntings.
Black-headed Grosbeaks are a precious member of our animal community at Willow-Witt Ranch. Learn more about them at audubon.org.