Gearing Up for Spring

geese walking on snow

Somehow we are already preparing for spring! Outdoor School, summer camps and exciting volunteer programs are all in the works as we look towards warmer days.

What We Are Up To

The Crest virtual outdoor school

Outdoor School

The Crest is very excited to be an Outdoor School provider as part of the OSU Extension Outdoor School program. We will be providing 18 hours of hands-on education for local 5th and 6th graders, both distanced and in-person, if possible. 

Students will investigate natural spaces at home, create nature-based art projects, build their own watershed model, analyze soil, plant seeds and much more! Hybrid programs will hopefully include a full-day field trip to Willow-Witt Ranch to experience the ranch firsthand.

A virtual version of Willow-Witt Ranch – pictured above and starring our very own Education Coordinator Laurel Cheever – will be offered for free on The Crest website for anyone to learn and explore on their own.

board member Monica Salazar reads for virtual classroom

Board member Monica Salazar reading Adelita y Las Primas Verduritas for the Outdoor School virtual classroom in the Willow-Witt Ranch cookhouse.

We are transforming the campground cookhouse into a flexible indoor  education space by adding sliding door panels and installing glass along the open rafter ceilings.
We are so excited to finally have an indoor space to offer visitors during cold and rainy weather!

nature day camps

Nature Day Camps 2021

Last summer, The Crest hosted several weeks of Nature Day Camps. Pivoting from our normal programs, the Nature Day Camps offered a fun, safe and nature-based childcare option for the families in our community. They were so successful, we are doing them again this year!

The Nature Day Camps will run for 10 weeks, 1 session per week. The program is geared towards ages 6-17, grouped by age: Turtles (ages 6-8), Owls (ages 9-11) and Coyotes (ages 12-17).

Keep an eye out for more information about registration and sign-up as we get closer to the summer months.

The Crest also hopes to provide fresh food boxes from the farm to each child for free at the end of each session.

Donate to ensure that The Crest can make high-quality, nature-based childcare and fresh, local food accessible for all.

Volunteer With Us

The Crest is excited to launch two regular volunteer programs at Willow-Witt Ranch. Starting in late April – weather allowing – join us for weekly habitat restoration work parties and monthly farmhouse gardening days.

Get outside, connect with others while staying safe, learn new skills, and contribute to your local ecosystem! 
Check out our volunteer positions and
fill out a volunteer application to get started.
volunteer habitat steward position
volunteer gardener position

Take Action, Learn More

children identifying insects outdoors

Why Kids Need Nature

We enjoyed this Scholastic Parent & Child interview with Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Louv discusses why exploration and connection to nature is essential for a kid’s healthy development and suggests concrete things parents can do to give their child quality time outdoors.

Because of this year’s changes, many of us have realized how much we allneed time outdoors to reset, reflect, and find joy.

Willow-Witt Ranch is a great place to visit with your family to explore and play outside. The Ranch is free to visit and open from sunrise to sunset everyday.

Who’s Who
at The Crest
Jayden Becker, social media manager

Jayden Becker

Jayden Becker is the social media manager for Willow-Witt Ranch, The Crest, The Forest Conservation Burial Ground, as well as the wedding & special events coordinator. They will be taking photos for us around the ranch, The Forest and during community programs.

They are thrilled to be working alongside like-minded people who care so deeply about the earth, animals, educating others, giving back to the land, and providing folks with Oregon’s first dedicated Natural Burial Ground. Outside of their work with The Crest, Jayden is an activist, multimedia artist and photographer, and hiking connoisseur. We are so excited to have Jayden on the team!

Who’s Flying?
What’s Blooming?
red-winged blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

The Red-winged blackbirds have arrived at Willow-Witt Ranch! Every winter, hundreds of these birds descend on the property, roosting in the trees around the farmyard – it’s quite a racket! 

Red-winged blackbirds prefer to live near water – ponds, lakes and wetlands. The male birds are particularly easy to spot – pure black with bright red markings on the upper wings. Female blackbirds are more subtle with a brown, streaked, sparrow-like look.

One of their favorite foods is sunflower seeds, so put some in a bird feeder at home to catch a glimpse of these common, but beautiful birds!

Get involved...

The Crest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

The Crest nonprofit organization relies on donations to support youth programs and give community groups the chance to experience the wonders of nature to learn about and feel a connection to the natural world. Please consider contributing to this natural legacy by making a tax-deductible donation.


658 Shale City Road
Ashland OR 97520

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