Getting excited for spring and summer!

winter snow at Willow-Witt Ranch

There is still snow on the ground at Willow-Witt Ranch, but we at The Crest are getting excited for all of the wonderful programs we are going to host this spring, summer and fall. Starting with a hybrid Outdoor School program for 5th graders in Talent, OR, our education and volunteer programs are going to keep us busy in the next few months!

What We Are Up To

nature day camp trail hike

Nature Day Camps 2021

Nature Day Camps at The Crest provide a fun, safe and nature-based childcare option for families in our community. Day camps will run for 10 weeks, 1 session per week, June to August. The program is geared towards ages 6-12. Groups will be in stable cohorts of 10 participants, led by a certified instructor and assistant.

We hope to make this wonderful option available to as many families as possible, regardless of financial need. Donate below to support this goal of providing free and reduced tuition for low-income families.

The Crest is looking to recruit high school students to assist with these programs as volunteers. Work with kids, learn crucial group management and leadership skills, complete your community service hours and more!

Fill out our Volunteer Application if interested.

interactive virtual classroom

Explore Willow-Witt Ranch Virtually!

The Crest is thrilled to announce the launch of our interactive virtual classroom! Built for ages 9-12, a bitmoji version of our Environmental Education Coordinator Laurel Cheever guides viewers through the inner workings of the farm, forest and wetland at Willow-Witt Ranch. Featuring virtual Fall in the Field lessons from SOU Environmental Education Master’s students, quizzes, games and a library of read-aloud books, anyone can experience Willow-Witt from home!

youth volunteering summer program

Summer Volunteer Series

Tending The Land: Upland Stewardship Corps
The Crest is excited to announce a collaborative volunteer series this summer with Vesper Meadow Education Program. Focusing on restoration, the two organizations will be hosting volunteer work parties every week alternating between the two sites – Willow-Witt Ranch and Vesper Meadow Restoration Preserve. Volunteers will build community, contribute to citizen science efforts and work to restore the beautiful and fascinating mountain meadow ecosystems at the ranch and Vesper Meadows.

Work parties will be hosted at Willow-Witt Ranch on Thursdays at 9am and at Vesper Meadow on Saturdays at 9am. This series will be offered in addition to regular Crest work parties throughout the summer.
Find more information and register for this exciting opportunity at

Take Action, Learn More

Savi Horne of Land Loss Prevention Project

Savi Horne and the Land Loss Prevention Project

This month, we want to highlight one of the many POC environmentalists changing the world right now! Savi Horne is the Executive Director of the Land Loss Prevention Project, providing legal assistance, community education and advocacy skills to farmers and rural landowners. As a non-profit based on a small rural farm, this work is particularly close to our hearts.

The Land Loss Prevention Project helps black farmers in North Carolina hold on to their land in the face of economic obstacles, gentrification, and legal challenges. They are doing essential work to keep black farmers connected to their land.

Learn more at or listen to an interview with Savi Horne here. You can find this interview on the Edge Effects podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Who’s Who
at The Crest
board member Jim Janousek

Jim Janousek

Jim is an incredibly dedicated and resourceful board member. In the past few months, he has played an instrumental role in launching our first season of Outdoor School. We are so lucky to have him!

His first experience with Willow-Witt Ranch was working as a ranch hand while he was finishing college in 2006. He is now in his sixth year of teaching culinary arts and science through a local lens at Phoenix High School. When Jim is not in the classroom, he is out experiencing nature via gardening, hiking, biking, running or surfing.

His new year’s resolution this year is to “get kids outside.” We’re with you Jim!

Who’s Flying?
What’s Blooming?
red-breasted nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted nuthatches live at Willow-Witt Ranch all year long. They are tiny, active birds who prefer to live in coniferous forests. They are bark-foragers, meaning that they search bark furrows for hidden insects. 

Red-breasted nuthatches are the only non-woodpecker species to excavate their own nest cavities from solid wood. They apply globs of conifer resin around the entrance to their nests, sometimes using a piece of bark to spread it around – an amazing example of tool use.

We just think they are darling! Red-breasted nuthatches like backyard feeders, so put out sunflower seeds, suet or peanuts to attract them to your yard.

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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