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Jack-Ash Trail construction work party
Saturday, Dec. 10: The Siskiyou Uplands Trails Association is soliciting volunteers to help build a new section of the Jack-Ash Trail from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Participants will learn trail-building skills and see a trail take shape. The group will meet at the corner of Griffin Lane and Sterling Creek Road and carpool a short distance to private property to access the trail. Wear comfortable hiking or work boots, dress in layers and bring gloves, water and snacks. If you have them, bring loppers, a pruning saw or a tread tool such as a Pulaski, grubber, rake or sturdy shovel. If you plan to come, email SUTAoregoncontact@gmail.com so they can plan the work party and food.
Rogue Valley Walkers
Saturday, Dec. 17: 10K Ashland Holiday Lights Walk will start in the old Safeway parking lot at the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Sherman Street in Ashland at 5 p.m. A 5K option is available. For more information, call 541-582-2607 or see www.roguevalleywalkers.com.
Outdoor Preschool open house
Saturday, Dec. 10: Registration is open for Coyote Pups — a new outdoor preschool for children ages 3 to 5 — at Coyote Trails School of Nature in Medford. An open house will be held at the school from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 10, and parents may tour the school and meet instructors. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Wednesday. The term begins Jan. 9 and continues through May 31, 2017. Learn more at www.coyotetrails.org or 541-772-1390.
Southern Oregon Nordic Club
Saturday, Dec. 17: The cross-country ski club will hold a holiday party and ski outings starting at 10 a.m. at Lake of the Woods Resort. There will be a 6-mile novice outing and a 6- to 12-mile ski tour. See the group's most current newsletter on the SONC website at http://new.onc.org/sonc/ for more information, including dates of upcoming outings.
Winter solstice at Pine Flat
Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 17-18: Spend the last days of winter on this remote section of the Illinois River with members of the Siskiyou Mountain Club. The group will backpack about six miles to Pine Flat and enjoy a hearty stew and a roaring fire. A van will leave Ashland at 8 a.m., with rendezvous options in Medford, Grants Pass and Selma. The group will return to the trailhead by 3 p.m. Sunday. Email Gabe Howe at email@example.com for details and to sign up.
Medford Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, Dec. 17: The area for the annual Medford count is a circle 15 miles in diameter centered approximately a mile west of the junction of Highway 140 and Highway 62 in White City. The circle is divided into 15 sections, and teams of volunteers, each with an experienced leader, count birds in each section. All birders are welcome to participate, and newcomers will be assigned to a group by the Medford count coordinator. Those who live in the count circle and have bird feeders can do a feeder watch and add their sightings to the count. CBC feeder-watch instructions and a tally sheet can be obtained by contacting Medford CBC coordinator Bob Hunter at 541-826-5569 firstname.lastname@example.org. CBC teams will meet from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Bobbio's Pizza, 312 Oak St., Central Point, for refreshments and to review the day's reports. All are welcome to attend, even if you did not count.
Project FeederWatch is a citizen-science program run by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, with individuals and groups making regular counts of birds that visit feeders in backyards, at nature centers and other locations throughout North America. Local counts take place every other Saturday at North Mountain Park Nature Center in Ashland and every other Thursday and Friday at Coyote Trails School of Nature in Medford. The free, one-hour watches are open to everyone, and there is shelter in case of inclement weather. For the complete calendar, see www.roguevalleyaudubon.org/Project_Feeder_Watch.html
Ashland Christmas Bird Count
Thursday, Dec. 29: The Ashland count circle is centered at the northwest corner of Emigrant Lake, so the count area includes the northeastern slopes of Mount Ashland, the western slopes of the Cascades (as far east as Little Hyatt Lake), the steep Siskiyou Mountain woodlands, extensive farmland-grassland-oak savannah habitats in the eastern section, and the entirety of the city of Ashland with its parks and gardens and riparian habitats. To participate in this year's count, email Carol Mockridge at email@example.com by Dec. 9. Teams usually meet at or shortly after daybreak and bird until dusk. Birders who wish to count the birds that visit their backyard feeders are also encouraged to join the Ashland CBC lineup. Participants, and even those who are just curious about the results, are invited to a post-count dinner starting at about 4:30 p.m. at El Tapatio, 1633 Highway 99 N., Ashland.
Rimrock, Playas, Petroglyphs and Pronghorns
Thursday, Jan. 19: Dennis Albert will focus on botanical surveys of Playa Lakes of Hart Mountain and Sheldon Wildlife refuges. He is a research professor in the Horticulture Department at Oregon State University, where his research has focused on wetland restoration and native plant marketing. Refreshments at 6:45 p.m., meeting and program at 7 p.m. at the Southern Oregon University Science Building, Room 161. Free and open to the public. For information, call Dave at 541-535-5355.
Siskiyou Velo Club
Every Saturday: Velo Melo meets at various places and rides about 20 miles at 11 to 13 mph. No one will be dropped. Call Ginny Jensen at 541-488-1398.
Every Saturday: Siskiyou Velo Slo-Mo rides begin at various morning hours from different locations. Pace: 7 to 10 mph over 12 to 18 miles on mostly flat terrain. Call Ken Kelley at 541-857-6819.
Every Saturday: Siskiyou Crank It Up rides begin at various morning hours from different locations; 20 to 30 miles. Pace 12 to 15 mph, varied terrain. No one will be dropped. Call Tom Ryan at 541-261-4757.
Every Saturday: Brisk rides begin at various morning hours from different locations. Rides include extensive pace lining at high speeds. Pace: 18+ mph over 50 to 65 miles on mostly hilly terrain. Call Dennis Cramer at 541-773-5804.
Every Monday: Coffee rides begin at 10:30 a.m. at Colver Park in Phoenix and go to Jacksonville. Pace: 14 to 18+ mph average over 25 miles with periodic pace lines on flat terrain. Call Bob MacCracken 425-512-3829.
Every Wednesday: Coffee rides begin at 11 a.m. at Rogue Valley Roasting Company in Ashland. Pace: 14 to 18+ mph with periodic pace lines over 35 to 60 miles with some hills. Call John Bullock at 541-488-7962.