Malheur Musings
July 2022
Snowy plovers are not just on the sandy beaches of Oregon's coastline, but scattered throughout the alkali flats of Eastern Oregon. This adult and chick were spotted during a recent survey of Harney Lake.
Learn more in the Species Spotlight on snowy plovers below.
Photo by Dan Streiffert, MNWR Volunteer
The heat of summer is upon us, and everyone is feeling it. Everyone except the mosquitoes, perhaps.

It is not common for people to come into the Crane's Nest Nature Center and Store these days and exclaim that they are seeking Refuge from mosquitoes. They are often seen as a nuisance. I, however, am glad for their presence. It is a helpful reminder that every 'pest' has a purpose and is often a sign of a healthy or thriving natural system.
The added bonus for the individual seeking refuge is that they have now discovered our sweet little spot here at Refuge Headquarters. A friendly volunteer or myself is here to greet and chat with them and there is never a shortage of interesting book titles, puzzles, or games to pick up!

The Nature Store is an important part of the Friends' presence for and support of the Refuge. Our knowledgeable team is able to orient and inform visitors on recent sightings or key tips and tricks for recreating responsibly on the Refuge. Items purchased may be educational or just a small reminder of one's adventures to this corner of Oregon's Outback. And of course, revenue is used to fund programs and projects.

Lastly, this is where we make our Friends. Personally, it is the highlight of my job to meet all of you as you visit the Refuge. Whether it is your first time or your 40th annual trip there is always a story to listen to and a smiling face to tell it. So please, the next time you make the trip to Malheur - Stop in and say hi!
As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
Conservation Corner
By Peter Pearsall/ Photo by Linda Craig

The Spanish word playa means “beach”, “shore”, or “seacoast”. Somehow, in the arid West, the word has come to refer specifically to dry, non-vegetated flat areas at the lowest sections of undrained desert basins.

Because these basins have no outlet to larger bodies of water, any precipitation that falls during cooler weather often pools up on playas until warmer temperatures dry them out. Salts and other minerals, abandoned by evaporation, accumulate to toxic levels, inhibiting the growth of all but the most halophytic organisms. Read More

Traveling alongside the westward expansionist, taking root where livestock grazed the native grasses, cheatgrass made rapid inroads in supplanting sage and greasewood habitat simply by, in the words of New York Times writer Felicity Barringer, “always being first”: first to germinate, first to wick up moisture, first to burn, and—after all that—first to sprout up in the scorched earth. Read More

By Peter Pearsall
Photo by Dan Streiffert

At Malheur Refuge, this “ghost of the salt flats” nests along barren alkaline shorelines, usually within 100 yards of water, and is attracted to hyper-saline habitats supporting an abundance of shore flies. Harney Lake is their primary nesting area at Malheur Refuge, and its use depends on lake levels. 
By Julie Burchstead, Friends Volunteer
As a girl, growing up in NW Oregon, curious about all things nature, and appreciative of the diverse landscape our state has to offer, SE Oregon was always a place I hoped to visit. But life kept me elsewhere. Along the way, my cousin’s daughter and a former student both ended up working as hands on the Whitehorse ranch. As I followed them through the lovely photos of Mary Williams Hyde, the desert terrain and Steens Mountain in the backdrop beckoned more. 

Finally, when Sally Works, a friend and former colleague began to share her adventures and photos of volunteering at Malheur, I knew I could not resist much longer. Retirement brought me back west, the pandemic eased, and finally the stars aligned. And what a dazzling constellation of experience it has been.

Malheur is like no other place on earth. READ MORE

The image above is one of many fantastic original watercolors done by Julie during her month long volunteer engagement.
Membership Minute
The sustaining support of our members is more important than ever.
If you are unsure of your Membership status you can email us at today!
Current Membership Total: 985!
Check out the new 2022 HOLOGRAPHIC Membership sticker!

Not a Member? Simply visit OUR WEBSITE, close the pop-up window and fill out the online form.

You can even set your Membership to Auto-renew with just the check of a box!

Prefer to send a check? Easy. Just fill out THIS FORM and mail it to us with your dues:

Friends of Malheur NWR
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721
June's Most Popular
Every month there is excellent content on the Friends Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Here we will feature the most popular post of the month.
A curious long-tailed weasel gets its closeup at Malheur Refuge. This opportunistic mustelid preys on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and even birds, capable of subduing prey larger than itself. Photo by Dodie Goodyear Wilson
This post on Facebook reached over 59,700 people! Follow both of our pages, Malheurfriends, to see more great content like this!
Volunteer with Friends
Making plans for next year? Why not volunteer?

Needed: Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store Volunteers are needed for 2023! Individuals must be comfortable interacting with the visiting public and carrying out day-day store operations tasks such as running a point of sale system, counting and stocking inventory. Volunteers also help to maintain the ground surrounding the Nature Center including filling and cleaning bird feeders, occasional light grounds keeping, etc.

Have your own Home on Wheels? Great!
Volunteers with an RV/Camper would have full hook-ups at the volunteer RV park.
All volunteers have access to bathrooms with showers, a fully stocked kitchen, a community room with DirectTV, WiFi, and laundry facilities.
Volunteer opportunities continue to be contingent upon and will be subject to any local, state, or federal health and safety guidelines. Volunteering may be cancelled at any point.
If you wish to be considered for a volunteer position please email Janelle,
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
Friday - Monday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Tuesday - Thursday
As Volunteer Staffing Allows
Featured Book of the Month:

Northern Paiutes of the Malheur; High Desert Reckoning in Oregon Country

We are thrilled to now have this book in stock at the Crane's Nest Nature Center and Store. We hope you pick up a copy next time you stop by!
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
Monday - Friday as Staffing allows
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge | 
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721