By Kasey Hovik
The Umpqua Watersheds Outreach Committee is active and works closely with UW’s other committees, Education, Conservation, Wilderness, and Restoration, to recruit new members and participants and keep people informed. We also collaborate with multiple organizations in the pursuit of our mission. Working with our community partners helps us leverage our shared resources and maximize our impact. We continue to re-establish in-person programs and activities we participated in before the Covid-19 Pandemic.
While planning, organizing, and executing events can be exhausting and sometimes stressful because of all the things that must come together to make a successful endeavor, seeing old friends and making new ones simultaneously is very rewarding. On February 11th, we held our annual Valentine’s Day Snowshoe at Crater Lake National Park. It was a perfect day, and we were delighted that several AmeriCorps members joined the ranger-led hike.
We look forward to several upcoming events in the next couple of months. Several UW members attended the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) on March 2-5. Umpqua Watersheds participated in a Panel Discussion called “Seeing the Forest for the Trees” The presentation was about field surveying for conservation and restoration. It was recorded and can be found at https://pielc.org. We also tabled at the event. It was the first time since the pandemic that the event was held in person.
We will attend the Oregon Nonprofit Leaders Conference in Ashland in April, where there will be several useful presentations and an opportunity to connect with many foundations supporting our work.
We will also participate in Earth Day events throughout April, including on April 22, Earth Day. We are one of over 100 nonprofit organizations (the only one in Douglas County) participating in Earth Day Oregon. We are partnering with Two Shy Brewing, Oregon Serigraphics, and Medicine Flower to support our work to save theplanet. We will also be tabling at the Saturday Market 8-noon and at the Earth Day event 1-5 pm at Aviva Healthcare (next to Costco), where the Umpqua Transportation Electrification Team will provide people with the opportunity to drive several types of electric cars.
On Sunday, May 7th, Umpqua Watersheds will host the 27th Annual Banquet. Our keynote speaker will be renowned Oregon author Marcy Cottrell Houle. The theme of the Banquet will be “Ecosystems: Natural and Community – the Importance of Connectivity.” We will provide more details soon, so save the date!
We are also partnering with UNLSH and Gwen and Bruce Bury for a conference on the Ecology and Management of Amphibians and Reptiles of SW Oregon. (See the Education Update).
We’re very close to launching our full-power radio station, KQUA 90.5. It has been a very challenging project because of significant delays related to the manufacturing and delivery of our antenna. The antenna manufacturer is in Pennsylvania and delayed delivery of the antenna because of supply train problems and other issues. Our engineer and installer are testing the 700-pound antenna, and we anticipate broadcasting across the Umpqua sometime in March, so stay tuned! In the meantime, listen at 99.7 when you are downtown and anytime on the web at https://kqua.org.
Finally, I want to share some important news about a new project we are working on called the Umpqua Outback Project. Last year we had our annual banquet outside behind our building, and it was a great success, although we needed more shade because it was a bright sunny day. The Umpqua Outback Project will create a large stage and a covered balcony along the back of our building, creating sheltered seating for events and increasing accessibility. We have many organizations writing letters of support for the project, which we will use for grant applications. Much of the lumber and labor will be donated for the project, so that we will start with a significant amount of in-kind match for grants.
The Umpqua Outback Stage and Community Space in downtown Roseburg will provide various community benefits beyond just being a space for community events. Potential benefits include:
- Community Engagement: It will provide a public space for community events, such as concerts, festivals, and theatrical performances, encouraging engagement and promoting community.
- Educational Opportunities: It will be used for educational events and activities, such as science fairs, historical reenactments, and other community and educational events. It will help foster a sense of curiosity and learning and contribute to our community’s comprehensive education and enrichment.
- Economic Development: It will attract tourists and visitors to the area, boosting local businesses and promoting economic growth. It will provide a much-needed outdoor venue for downtown events and activities.
- Cultural Preservation: It will provide a venue for local artists and performers to showcase their talents, preserving the community’s cultural heritage.
- Youth Development: It will provide opportunities for youth to participate in theater, music, and other performance arts, encouraging creativity and promoting personal development.
- Accessibility: It will offer a safe and accessible venue for people with disabilities and older adults to participate in cultural and recreational activities.
- Environmental Stewardship: It will promote sustainable practices and environmental stewardship by minimizing energy use, promoting recycling and waste reduction, and incorporating sustainable design features.
- Increased Collaboration Among Nonprofits and Community Organizations: It will provide an affordable space for local nonprofits and community organizations to host events, such as fundraisers, awareness campaigns, and educational events.
- Improved Quality of Life: It will enhance the quality of life by bringing people together for community events, increasing a sense of social kinship, and fostering pride in being part of a vibrant downtown community.
If you have questions about the project or want to help support the project, please contact Kasey@umpquawatersheds.org.