OREGON ISLANDS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
OREGON ISLANDS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
From nearly every viewpoint on the Oregon coast, colossal rocks can be seen jutting out of the Pacific Ocean creating postcard images. Each of these rocks is protected as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge includes 1,853 rocks, reefs and islands and two headland areas and spans 320 miles of the Oregon coast. Public access to the coastal rocks and islands and the Crook Point Unit is closed. Spectacular viewing opportunities exist at numerous locations along the coast or visit the Coquille Point Unit of the refuge where visitor facilities will enhance your experience.
Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Viewpoint:
Coquille Point, a mainland unit of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, is a spectacular place to observe wildlife and explore the beach. The point overlooks a series of offshore rocks of every shape and size that provide habitat for thousands of seabirds and harbor seals. A paved trail winds over the headland and offers interpretive panels on wildlife and Native American history. Stairways to the beach are located on opposite sides of the headland and allow visitors to make a loop on the beach (when tide levels permit).
During spring, the volunteer organization Shoreline Education for Awareness Inc. sets up spotting scopes and provides educational information for visitors at Coquille Point. The mainland is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Thirteen species of seabirds nest on this refuge, including common murres, tufted puffins, Leach's and fork-tailed storm-petrels, rhinoceros auklets, Brandt's, pelagic and double-crested cormorants, and pigeon guillemots. Pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) use refuge lands for breeding and haulout areas.
The wildlife found on offshore rocks, reefs and islands is extremely susceptible to human disturbance, thus they are closed to public entry year-round. However, there are many sites along the coast that offer phenomenal views of the refuge.
The refuges on the Oregon coast serve as fascinating and enriching outdoor classrooms. Staff, AmeriCorps members and volunteers from the Oregon Coast NWR Complex collaborate with local teachers and students from surrounding school districts to provide practical and interactive environmental education both in the classroom and on the refuge. Our programs focus on a wide variety of activities ranging from stewardship to the creation of conservation themed art.
The refuges' bays, estuaries, offshore rocks, and abundant wildlife populations afford outstanding resources to aid in the education and discovery of the natural world. The Oregon Coast NWR is always interested in building new relationships with teachers and students. For information on how your school can get involved, please e-mail Dawn Grafe.
As more schools come to realize the value of learning outside of the classroom, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is here to help. Service learning allows students acquire new skills while applying them to various community needs. Students from all over the state come to the Oregon Coast NWR Complex to learn while serving. Assisted by Americorps members, refuge staff and volunteers, students get hands-on learning on a variety of topics. Popular activities include tree planting and invasive species removal at Nestucca Bay NWR, estuary clean-up at Bandon Marsh NWR, and wildlife research.
In just a two hour session at Nestucca Bay NWR, students learn about native ecosystems, horticulture, tool safety and local history. At the same time, they are releasing newly planted trees from the invasive Himalayan Blackberry and getting great exercise! Middle and high school students are all invited to spend a day, morning, or just an hour or two with a service learning project at the Oregon Coast NRW Complex. Contact Dawn Grafe for more information about how to get involved.
Nature of Learning:
The Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex is a proud participant in the Nature of Learning Program. This program educates students and communities about fish and wildlife resources and local conservation issues. It engages students in service learning projects involving habitat monitoring and restoration. Service learning projects can include removal of invasive plants, tree-planting or biological monitoring. Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Keystone Science Center, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nature of Learning Program gets students' hands dirty and provides them with a wildlife experience off school grounds.
The Nestucca Bay and Bandon Marsh Refuges currently offer Nature of Learning opportunities for students. These refuges maintain an ongoing partnership with the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School (JGEMS) in Salem, Oregon and Coquille High School in Coquille, Oregon, but are always looking to get more students involved in conservation activities.
For more information, or to get your school involved in the Nature of Learning program, please contact Dawn Grafe at the Oregon Coast NWR Complex.
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Coquille Point can be reached from US Highway 101 by turning west onto 11th Street in Bandon. Although the offshore rocks, reefs and islands are closed to public use, they can be seen from a number of locations on US Highway 101 and many state park viewpoints.