OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in New England any more.

Part 1: A 40-hour week of volunteering for Mother Nature

Exactly one year ago, I made a 3000-mile road trip from New England to Oregon, teardrop camper JT in tow (aka James Trailer), wondering how on earth I would cultivate new roots as I retired and transplanted myself into this unfamiliar new territory. My daughter-in-law wisely suggested I take the online Oregon Master Naturalist (OMN) course offered by OSU.It seemed a good place to start building a sense of place and community and meet kindred outdoor spirits. The course is packed with Oregon lore—geological and ecological histories, mind-blowing stories of accreteexotic terranes and eons of volcanic roiling, eight vastly different eco-regions from rain-forested coastal range to arid mountainous desert, and a flood of information about species of concern beyond my brain’s absorption capacity. Cougars and beavers and birds, oh my! ...

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