Outside of Hillsboro is a magical place of wetlands, trails and birds: Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve.
We started our field trip by enjoying the view from a 3,000-square-foot wrap-around deck. There is a central board on the back deck where visitors can share their “finds” with one another. On this day someone had spied a deer!
While the kids enjoyed their lunch, I enjoyed snapping some pictures.
The wetlands are home to many varieties of birds and other wildlife. You can walk paths around the wetlands to get a closer view. I used my zoom lens to take this picture. Unfortunately by the time I made it to this spot the birds had moved on.
The bird feeders were a source of photography inspiration. I loved watching them fly from feeder to feeder.
One thing I like about Jackson Bottom is the informational landscape signs throughout the refuge. During the summer months this is especially handy as they designate the native plantings throughout. Garden inspiration!
There are several covered areas throughout the refuge where you can observe wildlife. This particular covered area included description placards of the various birds you could identify in the wetlands.
My ever-willing child: Bear. She is always ready for me to take a picture.
Our party consisted of 2 boys, 4 girls and 2 moms. We set out to identify evergreen trees, find birds and signs of spring.
My favorite picture from this field trip. If only there wasn’t someone in the background!
Buds on a willow tree! So BEAUTIFUL! I snapped this branch about 15 times before settling on this one. It’s still not as sharp and focused as I’d like, but it works.
TREES! I love photographing trees. One thing I love about Oregon is the evergreens. They make dreary gray days like this day brighter. The only thing missing in these photos is the rain. (It showed up as we were leaving!)
When you go with 6 children, they are not usually interested in birds or trees. They prefer mud & water. We took a side trip down to the creek. The boys were disappointed when I told them they would not be going in and retrieving newts.
This is what happens when you tell the Boy he is not going into the mud, and we are looking for birds, not newts. Plus, he wasn’t thrilled that I wanted to take his picture.
So, our little group of homeschoolers traipsed back to the education center.
The education center was built in 2003. It includes a gift shop & exhibit hall ($2/person donation suggested). The exhibit hall is really worth a donation!
It includes many hands-on interactive displays (perfect for ADD/ADHD homeschoolers!). Bear loved the Energy Pyramid. Missy May 1 & 2 performed a puppet play about saving the earth.
We enjoyed a live view of the wetlands courtesy of a remote camera!
This is a real River Otter, which are Bear’s favorite animals. There were many taxidermy animals including a beaver and coyote. There were many different type of birds. They also included several animal pellets to touch and feel.
Do you know what this is? It’s a Beaver! Don’t you just love those teeth!
One of the coolest displays in the middle of the exhibit hall is the eagle’s nest. At the bottom of this display is an actual sample of the ground beneath the nest. You can see what type of items the eagle’s eat. WAY TOO COOL if you like gross things like partially-consumed fish.
About the Eagle Nest
Read about the first authentic bald eagles’ nest recovered from the wild currently on display in Washington County at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve.
I did see an eagle fly into the top of a tree while there, but could not get close enough to take a picture. After all, it’s hard to sneak up on a bird when you have six children along with you!
About Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve
The 725-acre Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve is located within the city limits of Hillsboro, Oregon along Highway 219. Providing interpretive education on wetlands and wildlife, panoramic views, water quality, weather, natural resource management, trails, bird watching, recreation, exhibits, displays and an eagles nest, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve is a treasure of the Hillsboro community.
The preserve’s trails are open from dawn to dusk. The education center is open 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Sunday.
Address: 2600 SW Hillsboro Hwy., Hillsboro, OR 97123
Know Before you Go
- There are no bicycles or dogs allowed in the preserve.
- The suggested donation is $2/person for ages 10+ for the education center.
- If you have a group of 15 or more, please call 503-681-6206 to make an appointment.
- Children must have a ratio of 5-1 Chaperone.
- You can download a checklist of birds found on the preserve by visiting the website.
- Wear good footwear. The paths are gravel and well-maintained, however, it is a wetlands and there are mud, rocks and other foot hazards.
We HIGHLY recommend this field trip for all ages!