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Deschutes Canyon Currents
September/October 2022
Rabbitbrush | Tom Iraci
We work to preserve and restore the wild landscapes of the middle Deschutes and lower Crooked Rivers and lower Whychus Creek through advocacy, stewardship and education.
           -FANs of the Deschutes Canyon Area's Mission Statement

Working to Save American Kestrels at Crooked River Ranch
By Karen and Mick Atwood, FANs Nestbox Monitors

Working with Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area (FANs), we currently monitor 10 American kestrel nestboxes scattered throughout Crooked River Ranch. We are part of a collaborative group, including East Cascades Audubon Society (ECAS) and the American Kestrel Partnership, working to understand the demographics of kestrels as their numbers are declining. 

Starting in December/January we visit each of the boxes, clean out old nests and fill the boxes with clean cedar chips. In mid-May, we again visit our boxes to check for signs of nesting. We are always hopeful we will find kestrel eggs. There are occasionally other birds using the boxes, usually mountain bluebirds or northern flickers. We welcome those visitors; however, the European starlings, an invasive bird introduced from England has to go! 

Some years are bountiful, and we may have 4 to 6 boxes with kestrel eggs. Other years have been a bust. Once we have a box with kestrel eggs, we will follow up about every 2 to 3 weeks, checking the status of the eggs and nestlings. When the nestlings are between 14 and 21 days old, Ken Hashagen, a bird bander with ECAS, visits the box with us to take measurements, determine gender and band the leg of the chicks. We start all over again in December/January.  We love what we do and are happiest when we have success. Click here for additional photos.

The following photo was taken on July 5th at Box 41 on the property of Marilynne and John Keyser. Their box has fledged 21 kestrel chicks since 2010.


Below are some additional photos taken on August 14th,
from the latest Kestrel hatch known in Oregon.
Location is South canyon rim of the lower Crooked River

*NEW* September and October Lens on Learning Programs 

Why is Your Well Going Dry?

By Jeff Rola

September 17, 2022, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Juniper Room, Crooked River Ranch

Seating is limited in the Juniper Room, so registration is required. 
CLICK HERE to register now on eventbrite. 

Why is your well going dry?
Presented by Jeff Rola, a 40-year resident of Central Oregon who has been involved in natural resource conservation work for most of that time. Jeff served as Secretary of the Coalition for the Deschutes and the first president of the Deschutes River Chapter of Trout Unlimited (mid-1980s). He is also a small acreage farmer and water user in the Tumalo Irrigation District.
From 1999 to the present, Jeff served as the manager and then as an elected Board Member of the Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District. Jeff continued his water stewardship by participating in several basin wide strategic planning efforts and studies, as well as implement several water conservation projects that have restored stream flows in the Deschutes and its tributaries.
Although Jeff is not a biologist, hydrologist, or holder of an advanced natural science degree, he has significant experience with the natural and political processes that over time have contributed to the current water crisis in the Deschutes River Basin.
Topics which may be covered include: geology of local aquifers; the connection between groundwater versus surface water; Oregon water law; environmental policy, and ways to prepare for climate change.

The session will be interactive. Bring your experiences, observations, knowledge, and questions to this examination of water and what it means for our future.

The events are free for FANs members. A $5.00 donation is appreciated from non-members. 

*Exclusive!* October Lens on Learning
A summary of the golden eagle - a 10-year study in Oregon

by Rick Vetter and Frank Isaacs

October 15, 2022, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Juniper Room, Crooked River Ranch
Seating is limited in the Juniper Room, so registration is required. 
CLICK HERE to register now on eventbrite.
(Registration opens 30 days before the event)


This is a special event and not to be missed. Two Golden eagle experts from Oregon will talk about their experiences and research over a 10-year period. Rick Vetter, is a retired biologist, who had a diverse 35-year career with BLM, FWS, and USFS as a range specialist, fish and wildlife biologist and wildlife refuge manager in California, Utah, Idaho, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon. Currently he works for the Oregon Eagle Foundation monitoring golden eagle nest sites across southeast Oregon. Frank Isaacs, is cofounder of the Oregon Eagle Foundation and leads a statewide golden eagle nest survey in Oregon with many volunteers monitoring nests throughout Central Oregon.  

During the talk, a power point slide show will be presenting some the best and strangest occurrences while field camping during the 10-year study. All the scenery, misfortunes and encounters with wildlife will be on display for your viewing pleasure.   

BONUS feature - presenters will reveal how to cook gourmet field dinners in the dark. 
Followed by an Interactive session Q and A on nest monitoring. 
The events are free for FANs members. A $5.00 donation is appreciated from non-members.

Female (Mom) and two chicks

Rick Vetter and his eagle spotter Poncho

Field gear in the desert is very important!

Join us for two more hikes in 2022!
By Cindy Murray, FANs Membership coordinator

If you missed hiking with Marilynne Keyser on the Steelhead Falls Wildflower/Native Plants Loop, there will be one more outing on Saturday, September 17, 2022. The hike starts at 9:00am and ends about 1:00pm. This four-hour hike will focus on native plants including late summer wildflowers. Of course, the incredible cascade views from the rim, the geological marvels and Steelhead Falls itself will also be highlights. Our hike will take us up to and along the Deschutes canyon rim, then back down to the river at the site of FANs Monarch Waystation. We will hike upriver, stopping at Steelhead Falls, before we return to the parking lot.  Click Here to register.
Our last hike will be on Thursday, October 6, 2022. The Alder Springs Autumn Colors hike will take you across Whychus Creek to the confluence of the Deschutes River. This hike starts along a scenic ridgeline and steeply descends into the Whychus Creek canyon. Walking sticks can be helpful for hiking and wading the stream. After crossing the creek, the trail will follow Whychus Creek to the confluence of the Deschutes River. The confluence offers classic scenic views of the typical volcanic ash-lava flows with very colorful layers built into the canyon walls and Autumn colors should be spectacular. Click Here to register. 


 Steelhead Falls

Alder Springs 


FANs Booth at Sisters Farmers Market
By Robin Galloway, FANs president

Robin Galloway (left) and new FANs member Leslie Grelle (right) 

The Sisters Farmers Market provides a booth for non-profit community organizations. On
August 7th, FANs filled that spot with an educational hands-on activity for youth. Rubber animal tracks could be stamped onto a piece of paper so the child could learn about wildlife living in the Deschutes Canyon Area.

New FANs member Leslie Grelle, and president Robin Galloway were the volunteers staffing the booth. They also informed the public about the organization, accepted new members, and sold the book Common Weeds of the Deschutes Canyon Area written by Penny Radtke (FANs weed coordinator) and Marilynne Keyser (FANs native plant coordinator). Go to our website at for more information.

FANs Presents the Weed of the Month
Weed of the Month:  Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
By Penny Radtke, FANs Invasive Weed Consultant

Common Purslane, aka little hogweed, is a prolific summer annual which flowers through September. Each plant can produce as many as 240,000 seeds which can persist in the soil for up 40 years!  It is edible and has a reputation as being extremely nutritious, but that doesn’t mean it tastes good!  Apparently, it is slightly sour and salty, but I will leave that up to you. It thrives in moist areas, like your garden, but also forms mats in the driveway.  Its succulent red stems radiate outward from the center taproot bearing fleshy teardrop-shaped leaves. Tiny yellow flowers appear at the leaf axils. Hand pulling can be effective but be sure to get the taproot. Uprooted plants and stem fragments may root again, so make sure to completely remove and dispose of them. For large infestations, tarping with clear plastic can be effective and prevent seeding. Common purslane is classified as an “obnoxious” weed, meaning it is so plentiful that unfortunately there is little hope of eradicating it completely. 

If you have questions about weeds or would like to schedule a consultation to sort out the weeds and native plants on your property, email me at  Also, our new book, Guide to Common Weeds of the Deschutes Canyon Area, is available on our website at, and at local bookstores.

FANs Night Sky Exploration Event was Worth the Wait!
By Eric Hanson (FANs Trail Monitor/Hike Leader)

After 5 years of cancellations, postponements, fires and Covid, FANs Night Sky Exploration Event finally took place on August 20th.  As Pine Mountain Observatory volunteers, Jeff Scheetz (FANs member) and I decided to try an educational evening of observing the night sky. This inaugural event came together in a spectacular way, as we wowed 30 FANs members and friends who were willing to shorten their nightly sleep to explore the canopy of celestial objects.

Pictured below, participants were able to explore the night sky with three different types of astronomical telescopes (Refractor, Reflector and Catadioptic).



As the evening progressed, we discussed the importance of dark sky preservation ( and viewed wonder after heavenly wonder. We identified over a dozen constellations and asterisms. This is a partial list of our observations…

Visual and Binary Double Stars…  Albirio, Mizar, Alcor, Polaris
Globular Star Clusters… M4 Scorpius Cluster, M13 Hercules Cluster, M22 Sagittarius Cluster
Open Star Clusters… Perseus Double Cluster
Planetary Nebula… M57 Rig Nebula
Diffuse Nebula… M8 Lagoon Nebula, M20 Trifid Nebula
Galaxies… M31 Andromeda Galaxy, M32 Dwarf Galaxy, M110 Companion Galaxy, M81 Galaxy, M82 Cigar Galaxy , M51 Whirlpool Galaxy and companion , Milky Way (our home galaxy)
Planets… Saturn with its rings, shadow, and moons. Jupiter with equatorial banding and its moons

By the end of the evening, everyone was excited and awestruck by the experience. Participants agreed that tonight's event was worth the wait, and asked about having another “star party” next year!

Clear skies to you all and don’t forget to look up.

Your Membership Keeps FANs Strong

FANs has remained strong and focused through the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are excited to move forward in 2022 and beyond. Your membership, participation and financial donations are vital to the health and success of FANs…. your local conservation organization!

FANs membership begins at $10 per person per year.  We are grateful to have so many FANs members that generously give more.

To renew, print this form and mail it with your check to:

FANs,  P.O. Box 2127,  Terrebonne, OR 97760

Or visit our website,, to donate online and complete an online membership form.  

If you have membership questions, please contact Sue Combs, FANs Treasurer and Database Manager, at 541-604-0280 or

Support FANs with
Tru Earth
Eco-Friendly Products


FANs members can now order from Tru Earth, a provider of ECO-FRIENDLY LAUNDRY DETERGENT STRIPS.... and MORE.  If you are interested in reducing plastic waste and using earth-healthy products, check out Tru Earth supporting FANs website.

FANs receives 20% of the retail sales price whenever you order from this website.  You can access it by clicking on the Get Involved and Support FANs Through Purchases tabs at


Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area
is proud to be a part of

Friends Grassroots Network


Board Meeting Schedule

Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area board meetings are usually held on the second Sunday each month. Copies of the agenda are available before the meetings. Public comments are welcome at the end of board meetings.

Our next board meeting will be September 11, at 5:00 p.m. at Marilynne and John Keyser's house.  Please email if you would like to attend this board meeting.


FANs Board of Directors
Our all-volunteer Board of Directors focuses on our mission: Preserve and restore the wild landscapes of the middle Deschutes and lower Crooked Rivers and lower Whychus Creek through advocacy, stewardship and education. 

You can read more about our Board of Directors and Leadership Team by clicking here.


FANs is a 501-C-3 Nonprofit Organization  EIN #45-4986167

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Our mailing address is:
Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area
PO Box 2127
Terrebonne, OR 97760
541.771.FANS (3267)

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Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area · PO Box 2127 · Terrebonne, OR 97760-2127 · USA

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