I made the trek to the Apple Store at Washington Square shopping center and came home with a wireless keyboard. I also came home with a couple suggestions for a better word processor than the Apple Pages.

I purchased “Documents to Go Premium” office suite that allows creation and editing of documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Settings allow files to be synced with either a desk computer or an off-site cloud storage location.

The customer ratings and reviews were mostly favorable with 3 out of 5 stars from 396 ratings. The cost of this app was $14.99 and that’s a heck of a lot cheaper that Microsoft’s equivalent programs for the desktop.

We’ll see how it works.


Camas Flower

One of my favorite places is the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve located in Hillsboro, Oregon. The preserve has 725 acres of low-lying land much of which floods during the winter months. I began volunteering here over two years ago and now devote several hours a month to working there and spending time outside walking through the area.

The picture above is of a Camas which is native to the area. The roots of the plant were and are still an important food source for Native Americans. There are two main varieties in this area, Camassia quamash and Camassia leichtlinii. They grow in areas of wetlands that also have a dry season. We have three areas in the Wetlands where the plant is established and have spread seed in two other areas in an attempt to increase the populations of the plants.

I have taken on this project as my own and will be closely watching the two newly planted areas for signs of grown starting at the end of February. The plants take three to four years to grow large enough to produce blossoms and seeds. The first season they just look like grass. It will be a challenge to identify the new growth.

Visit your wetlands today, or one day soon. Water means birds, plants and mammals, as well as bugs and many other types of critters. Here in Hillsboro we have 200+ types of birds and 200+ types of plants as well as countless types of insects. And the list is a long one. We have no mosquitoes in our Wetlands. This is most likely thanks to the many insect eating birds that populate the area during the spring and summer months.

We have a resident Bald Eagle pair, several red tail hawks, over 26 Great Blue Heron nests in the rookery, goldfinches, redwing blackbirds, kingfisher, etc. All this within the city limits of Hillsboro. Imagine what you have in your area if you took the time to look?


Jackson Bottom Wetlands

As part of my volunteer work with Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro, Oregon, I have taken on the task of updating their web site and adding important documents and other resources to the web site for the benefit of all. Recently we have added two documents in pdf format that have to do with watershed and wetlands education and community involvement. These two documents are non-copyrighted and may be copied and used by anyone. We would appreciate a credit for Jackson Bottom Wetlands if you distribute the document.

The first one has the title: Watersheds, Wetlands, Forest, Streams; Learning Opportunities Next Door, Linking Schools with Natural Resources Areas. Quoting from the introduction: Almost every school in our country has a natural area very nearby. It could be that marshy place behind the school, the little stream or “ditch,” the unmowed field, or the patch of woods beside the parking lot. These natural areas are often overlooked as learning sites; of if they are recognized, they are not acted upon because we do not know exactly how to start using them. The intent of this document is to provide educators with a platform to begin natural resource programming sites near their school…

The second document is A Partnership Handbook. And from the introduction: This handbook is an attempt to provide an overview of what we understand as the dominant patterns in citizen involvement partnership and project development in the late 1990’s in the Pacific Northwest. The handbook is a mix of philosophical thinking and pragmatic advice. It is a condensation of many years of work experience in the field of community-based involvement strategies.

The links to the two documents are below:

Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve is a 725-acre wildlife preserve located within the city limits of Hillsboro, Oregon. The staff and volunteers teach classes to over 4,000 grade school children each year. These classes are coordinated with the Barbara Banister Simply Science program adopted by the Hillsboro School District.

This weekend was reserved for grunt work on my computer. I have been volunteering at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro, Oregon, for 2 years. I began in a greeter and docent position at the Preserve’s education center (which I still do) and have worked myself up to also building bird houses, planting trees and bushes, harvesting Camas seeds for replanting in other areas of the Wetlands, fund raising activities, working with the web site and newsletter (, and various other tasks.

This weekend I completed scanning a document with the title: Vegetation Inventory and Habitat Mapping, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve. This report was paid for by a grant in 2001 and I am preparing it to be up-loaded to the web site as a searchable pdf file. Then I created 177 file locations for each of the plants in the report so I can begin collection photos of each plant and so they may also be made available on the web site. Part of the pictures in this project will come from a collection about 120 herbarium specimens which I also will be scanning. As I start to collect the various photos I will be up-loading them and connecting them to the Vegetation Inventory document.

I also scanned and prepared 2 other documents for up-loading to the web site:

  1. Watersheds, Wetlands, Forests, Streams, Learning Opportunities Next Door, Linking Schools with Natural Resources Areas.
  2. A Partnership Handbook, Strategies for Authentic Community Involvement.

Both these documents are packed with ideas on involving students and adults in Wetlands studies and restoration and other environmental activities.

Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve has classes in the Wetlands for more than 6,000 school children per school year. Most are 1st – 6th graders. They also run day-camps during the summer months varying in time from a few hours to a full week.

When the documents are loaded on the web site in the next few weeks I’ll post address for them. All are worth a look.