Malheur Musings
September 2021
Marshall Pond dried up in August and now sits empty under a shroud of ever shiting smoke
from any number of Pacific Northwest Wildfires. Carey Goss, MNWR Widlfie Refuge Specialist has worked at Malheur for over 20 years and says she can not recall ever seeing Marshall Pond empty.
This photo was taken on Sunday, August 29th.
Photo by Janelle Wicks
As the solo employee of the Friends of Malheur NWR I am fortunate to have my hands in all aspects of what we do as an organization. I've mentioned before and will probably share with some frequency that one of the best parts of my job is meeting and working with our Volunteers.

This past month the Friends of Malheur worked together with Portland Audubon, as we do annually, to hold a Sod House Ranch Re-Opening Work Party. This weekend of volunteer action is vital to helping the Refuge prepare the historic Sod House Ranch Site for its August 15th - October 15th open season. Four volunteers travelled from as far as Los Angeles and Portland to camp on site for three nights while they spent their days weedwacking, racking out a gravel footpath, and more.

At the end of it all we showed our deep appreciation with a small BBQ at the Refuge HQ pavilion. This was a welcome opportunity to share my appreciation for their time and efforts in addition to that of our own stalwart volunteer of FOUR months, Linda Craig, who was about to leave our company.

Linda, and others who came to help out at the Crane's Nest Nature Store, throughout the spring including Dan Streiffert, Debby DeCarlo, Larry Hill and Cheryl Hunter are owed a great debt of gratitude. It is because of them that the Nature Store has been able to stay open since April 2nd and serving the visiting public. Through the store we are able to share our bird and wildlife viewing insights in addition to helping visitors understand how to recreate responsibly on a National Wildlife Refuge.

Now, as we welcome fall volunteers and look at winding down for the fall I am looking forward to 2022! If you have ever thought about volunteering for a month or more at the Crane's Nest please reach out!

Alternatively, if you are interested in learning more about weekend work parties such as we held for Sod House Ranch look no further than THIS newsletter from month to month. Events, such as the upcoming Barnes Springs Stewardship Weekend (more info below), are also posted on our Facebook page.

It is a great joy to meet and work with our Friends as Volunteers. I hope, someday, to meet you as well!
As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
President's Message
Greetings from Malheur as the new season is visible on our somewhat smoky horizon.

One of the roles of a board president is to hoot and squawk about various ways in which the sky is falling and why we will all soon be eaten by beetles. However, you will need to imagine those things and pretend that we are like some other organizations. We’re not. Friends of Malheur NWR is in fact financially solid, with a growing membership, appropriate reserves, a balanced budget, an excellent executive director and great new board members.

We have an expanding list of projects to help make Malheur even more successful and visitor-friendly. That’s what we do. We do it well - ask around. Come visit the refuge and enjoy the signage, trails, observation blinds and other things that we have helped with. In the next couple of years we expect to be engaged in tree plantings (and safety work on some of the very old trees that throw limbs at tourists). There are plans for picnic shelters, new trails and - take note - expanded overnight opportunities for volunteers. That’s YOU.
Thank you. We passed 1,000 members in July for the first time; congratulations to Member No. 1000, Kimberly Wilbur, who was recognized in last month's issue. Online sales at the Crane’s Nest store remained healthy during the COVID closure and drop-in sales have been good since we reopened. These factors, also known as YOU, are what keep FOMR moving forward. And yes, you will hear from us in the months ahead regarding fundraising for the coming budget year. We’ll keep you posted on the projects that are planned. Keep us in mind for the good of the refuge, the good of its birds, fish (except for carp) and other wildlife.

Enjoy the fall, wherever you may be.
Conservation Corner
By Rebecca Pickle, Lake Restoration Technician

When the winds hit the open water it displaces the sediment on the bottom of the lake and swirls it back up into the water column. Along with the wind, the waves create this vast array of chocolate milk that is in a continuous cycle of suspended sediment that creates the turbidity on the lake. So one way to monitor this conundrum is a mesocosm. One way a mesocosm is described is any outdoor experimental system that examines the natural environment under controlled conditions. Read More

NOTE: With the departure of James Pearson, Malheur NWR's Fish Biologist who left his position last month, the Refuge was in need of support to finish out the field season on this and other Malheur Lake restoration projects. The Friends of Malheur NWR are proud to have been able to respond to the Refuge's need by contributing the funds that would extend Rebecca's seasonal position with High Desert Partnership through November to complete this work. This is made possible by the generous support of our Members.
By Dale Broszeit, 2019 FWS & FOMR Volunteer

Half August
We come together
Clearing the trail for opening day~ August 15.
We imagine 100's visiting this vast Historical Wonder.
Cool morning; Hot afternoon.
Thunder heads boil the horizon,
Birds disguise their identity as silhouettes fronting the sun,
We are blinded.
Light & Beauty dazzle.
Flit, flash, flutter.
Ethereal shadows hide from our view,
on the far side of huge Cottonwoods.
Vultures are tree ornaments.
By Alexa Marinez

Western ridged mussels (Gonidea angulate) are one of three native freshwater mussels that can be found in the Blitzen waters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Not only are they one of the few native mussels found on the refuge, but Malheur NWR holds one of the oldest western ridge mussel colonies!

These mussels may not be flashy to look at or are cute and cuddly like a teady bear but are super cool in their own special way. Read More
Malheur Summer
By Linda Craig, FOMR Volunteer April - August 2021

Take the long view
toward buttes obscured by haze.
Closer, on the Refuge, Great Basin Wild Rye
proclaims its strength.

The breeze conquers
a stifling day.
Sunset brings layer on layer
of salmon and turquoise.

Grasses murmuring, insect wings, a distant Coyote.
Occasional chip of Yellow Warbler.
Later, the soft moan of Poorwill.

The total without distractions.

Not loneliness but alone.
Not quiet but still.

The feeling of solitude
at peace with time extended.  
Remembering Eric Faucher, 1949 - 2021

We have all known people that left a deep and meaningful impression on us long after we shared time and space with them. Indeed, this connection exists beyond time, space and even this Earthly plane. In his passing, I learned that in his very full and adventurous life, Eric Faucher's presence left this impression on an infinite number of people who are all better for having known him. I am better for having known him and the Friends are better for his passionate support, stewardship, and service to Malheur.

Since his passing in April of 2021, the Friends have been the honored recipients of donations in Eric's name. The most recent coming from his beloved wife, his "very heartbeat", Lynn Fox Faucher. Lynn would have me share with all of you that her donation is "in memory of Eric Faucher who loved the wide open spaces, the wind, the chilly mornings, and especially the birds of Malheur."

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!
Connecting the Dots

Last month we were joined by Landscape Ecologist, Patrick Donnelly, for a virtual presentation on the importance of developing a strategy for conserving sandhill crane migration sites.

The recording, with others, is now available on the Friends YouTube Channel!
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!
Lapsed Members: To date, there are only 93 Members who signed up or renewed in 2020, but have lapsed in 2021. If you are one of these Members, never fear, there is an easy way to renew today!
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 our THIS FORM and mail it to us with your dues at:
Friends of Malheur NWR
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721
Current Membership Total: 1017!
Welcome to the 349 NEW Members who have joined us since Jan 1, 2021
By Dan Piquette, The Mindful Birder
I‘ve been to the Malheur Refuge four times now, three in this last calendar year. I’m smitten. On my most recent visit in late July, I was returning to my Monmouth, Oregon home from Colorado where I sat with my mother, Yvonne, as she passed away. I couldn’t think of a better way to honor her life than by enjoying my own at the refuge.

Due to a dry year and being late in the season, I was advised by fellow birders that there “might not be much to see.” What a sad thought. While I appreciate the abundance of an early season and a wet year, the resident species and the vast landscape alone are worth the visit. Besides, it’s not just about the wildlife and the land. READ & SEE MORE

Thank you, Dan, for sharing your experience and photography with us.
Check out the Mindful Birder Photography Project,

Would YOU like to share your story, a memory, or some photographs
of Malheur with us? Please email
August'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.
Dragonfly (8/23): The compound eyes of dragonflies like this meadowhawk (Sympetrum sp.) rely on light-sensitive proteins called opsins to differentiate colors, just as our eyes do. But instead of our measly three opsins--which render visible light into various shades and combinations of red, blue and green--dragonflies boast no fewer than 11 of them, and some species have 30! Talk about life in technicolor. 

This post reached 10,745 people through Facebook including 581 Reactions, Comments, and Shares! On our Instagram, this same post just 45 people liked it.
Follow both of our pages, @Malheurfriends, to see more great content like this!
Volunteer with Friends
THIS MONTH: Barnes Springs Stewardship Weekend

September 22nd - 26th: In honor of National Public Lands Day Join the Friends for 1, 2, or all four days of accomplishing some much needed work at the Barnes Springs Homestead. This site, at the southern tip of Malheur NWR, could use up to 8 volunteers to remove fencing, debris, trash, and more.

Volunteers have special permission to tent, car, or otherwise dry camp at P Ranch on the nights of the 22nd-25th. Access to an outdoor water spigot is available and one at a time access to the residence will be permitted for use of the bathroom only. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own food, camp chairs, headlamps, and other camping necessities. Tools will be provided, but if you have a favorite pair of work gloves or fencing tools feel free to bring them along!

Volunteers are required to bring proof of full Covid-19 vaccination status and wear a mask at all times when inside the P Ranch residence or when congregating in a group with less than 6' distance between individuals.

Interested? Contact Alice Elshoff 541 389-3543 or
Now Recruiting for 2022!

Needed: Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store Volunteers are needed for April-October 2022! 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, occassional light groundskeeping, etc.

No RV? No Problem! Sign up early to claim a month long stay in the Friends of Malheur NWR's RV at Refuge Haedquarters!
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 facilies.
Happening NOW: Boundary Fence Mapping Volunteer(s) will be trained to assess and report Refuge boundary fence conditions. A training video and project website are available now for interested volunteers. Work will be allowed to begin by August 1st and may take place any time through the fall. Volunteers MUST have a fully self contained RV or Trailer or be able to secure nearby lodging.

All Volunteer opportunities are 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
Open Daily 8:00am-4:00pm
Subject to change based on staff and volunteer availability
Weather is shifting and we have just the thing you need to keep your ears warm while you're catching the dawn birding or out for evening owling.

This eco-blend knit cap is made with 48% RPET recycled polyester, 36% organic cotton & 4% spandex. They are locally embroidered right here in Burns, OR!
Malheur HQ Visitor Center
Open Friday - Sunday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Subject to change based on staff and volunteer availability
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge | 
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721