Crow students roll through semester on skateboards they made themselves

7 06 2017

crowskate

Crow students spent months building their own skateboards. They tested them out at Washington Jefferson Park in Eugene Tuesday, May 6, 2017 with help from the City of Eugene River House Outdoor Center skateboard instructors.

Crow Middle/High School is incorporating skateboards into classes.

Students are celebrating the end of a semester-long project with a ride at Washington Jefferson Park.

Teachers said the project used techniques from math to art to teach kids how to create their own skateboard.

“It’s pretty cool that we get to, like, make them in school and stuff ‘cause most schools don’t have the opportunity since they’re so big they can’t do the classes like these,” said Olivia Clark, a ninth grade student at Crow Middle/High School.

They said since the project began, more than 20 students have been staying longer in class and skipping lunch to put together their project.

The project was made possible by a grant from the Oregon Country Fair.

“Doing math and science and they don’t even know it. It becomes part of the thing; that’s the way real life is and you can’t fake it with these kids,” said Tina Dwoarakowski, a teacher at Crow Middle/High School. “You know they know when you’re giving them busy work. They know that it’s got to be the real deal; it’s got to be authentic.”

Teachers said they plan to continue this project for years in the future.

From: KVAL 13 news broadcast

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Dog Water Sport Gear List

6 04 2017

written by: @lifewithmutts

Original Article Here

Spring is here! It’s really starting to warm up in the South and for our pack that means we’re heading back out on the water. Time to dust off the cobwebs on the kayaks and stand up paddle board that have been sitting idly in the garage all winter.

For those of you who have never tried a water sport with your pup, you may have questions about what kind of gear you need. After years of kayaking and SUPing with my dogs, I have a pretty solid list in my head of what I need when we pack up and head to the lake or the river.

Here are our must-have items:

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 **Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that if you buy one of the suggested products using the links provided,  we will make a few cents to help keep our blog up and running, at no cost to you.

1. Watercraft (Kayak, SUP, Canoe)

Obviously in order to spent time ON the water, you need some sort of watercraft. Our favorites are kayaks and stand up paddle boards. You don’t have to go out and purchase an expensive kayak or board to try the sport though. Canoe and kayak rentals have always been pretty abundant, but as the sport of SUP continues to grow, there are now a good amount of options to rent them too, many of which are dog friendly. Just make sure you call ahead and let them know that you’re bringing your furry friend!

(Also, don’t forget your paddle. Sounds like a no-brainer, but believe me it happens!)

2. Life Jackets

If you’ve ever rented a kayak or even canoed at scout camp as a kid, bringing a life jacket for yourself when you’re on the water is probably a no-brainer. In fact, many towns and parks mandate that you wear a life jacket on the water, or at least have one with you on your boat/board. But what about your dog? Even if your dog is a great swimmer, if they are new to water sports, they may fall in accidentally and be caught off guard. Better safe than sorry! My dogs can swim and are paddle pros, but I always make sure they’re wearing a life jacket when we kayak and SUP, just in case.

For the last year, we have been using Alcott Mariner Life Jackets,which are a super affordable option at only $26.99. You can read our review here. We are now testing out the new Hurtta Life Savior, which is a more premium jacket. We will post a full review for that shortly as well. (So far we absolutely love them too!)

3. Floating Lead

Another safety precaution that you may want to consider is a floating lead. We always bring one on trips down the river or for open-water paddles, anywhere that has a current or that may be choppy. Even good swimmers can get in over their head in choppy conditions or fast-moving water, making a safety line a really great idea. This will allow you to grab your dog if they fall in the water or swim too far away and get stuck in the current.

Look for a floating lead with a carabiner hook on the end, so you can hook and unhook your dog easily. Never tie a rope to your dog’s collar! If they get tangled on a fallen limb or if the rope gets wrapped around theirs legs, this could be a dangerous situation. You need something that you can detach easily. Also, never use a regular leash or long line that. If you use something that doesn’t float, it adds extra weight as well as increases the chance of your dog stuck on something as the leash drags behind them underwater. We use this 20-foot floating lead from Sport Lines.

4. Water

This is one of those things that may sound like common sense, but it’s easy to forget to bring water when your’e going TO the water. Bring enough for yourself AND your dog(s).  Dogs get hot and dehydrate quickly when you’re out in the middle of a lake, river, or ocean with no shade and sun reflecting off the water.

5. Collapsible Dog Bowl

Don’t forget a dog bowl too! Bringing water for your pup is pretty useless if you end up wasting half of it trying to use your hand as a bowl! We use this small collapsible silicone bowl from Dexas. It ‘s small and lightweight and can be clipped onto your board or kayak with the attached carabiner.

6. Dry Bag or Dry Box

It’s always smart to keep a phone on you in case of emergencies… if you get lost or stranded, injured, etc, it’s important to have a way to tell people where you are. BUT phones are expensive and most of them do not do well when wet, so it’s important to bring a dry bag or a dry box to keep your phone, keys, and any other personal items dry and secure. I picked up this inexpensive dry box a few years ago for under 10 dollars and it’s still going strong. For longer paddles or when I want to bring more than just a phone and keys (snacks, money, dog treats, camera, etc) I use this dry bag from H2Zero.

7. Waterproof Camera or Phone Case

Spending time with your dog on the water is fun. It’s an activity that is sure to make some great memories. Be sure to bring either a waterproof camera like a GoPro or for a cheaper option, pick up a universal waterproof phone case to keep your phone dry so you can capture the highlights!

8. Snacks & Treats

Paddling is a great workout for you and your pup. Bring high-protein snacks like granola bars or trail mix to keep your energy up. Don’t forget treats for your pup too! They need energy just like we do, and they’re also great for training if your dog is new to water sports!

9. Cheap Sunglasses & Flip-flops

You will lose them. Maybe not today, but someday, and you will thank me. Leave the Ray-Bans and Rainbow sandals at home and grab no-name brand shades and shoes, just in case. You’ll care a LITTLE less if they float away (or sink).

Fun extras:

In addition to our must-haves, here are some other ideas to make your day on the water even more fun. A fetch toy that floats is great way to keep your dog entertained while burning off some of their energy! The Ruffwear Lunker is a floating toy that is sure to be a big hit with your water-loving pup. You can also bring a small cooler and find a cute little beach or riverbank to pull off and have a picnic. Also, don’t forget sunscreen! Remember that you aren’t only getting the rays from the sun directly, but also reflecting back at you off the water.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to stay safe and have fun with your pup!

Want to SUP or Kayak with your pup but don’t know where to start? Check out our “SUP with your PUP” post.

Do you have other gear that you bring on the water with your dog or questions about the gear we use?

Thanks for reading!

Debbie & Roxie

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7 Wonders in Winter

17 01 2017

An Oregonian’s guide to the 7 Wonders during the chilly months

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SMITH ROCK: Here’s a little secret about Smith Rock State Park: It’s typically warmer and drier than the rest of Central Oregon. The volcanic tuff spires of Smith Rock and their location in the high desert create a bit of a microclimate. This makes winter a perfect time to hike here. Crowds have thinned, trails are in great shape, and the rock walls absorb sun that is reflected back as heat. I like to hike up Misery Ridge and over the backside, to return around the base of the cliffs along the Crooked River. This route offers a great combination of epic views of the Cascade Range from the top and awe-inspiring views of the red-green-brown spires of Smith from the trail below. (Photo by Ben Moon)

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THE WALLOWAS: To me, winter in the Wallowas is contemplative. One of the most beautiful, remote and peaceful parts of the state becomes even more so as the chill sets in and snow blankets the landscape. The Wallowas have 18 mountain peaks over 9,000 feet, and Hells Canyon is the deepest in North America. Simply put, it’s big country. The intrepid ones among us venture into the backcountry in winter; the rest of us are content to simply hunker down somewhere welcoming and cozy with friends and family, gazing at the massive, snowy beauty of those mountains. Do so from the Outlaw Restaurant in Joseph, the recently reborn Lostine Tavern, or Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise, with a frosty, locally brewed IPA in front of you. (Photo by Leon Werdinger)

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CRATER LAKE: Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and one of the snowiest inhabited places on the planet, with an average of 44 feet of snow annually. That means a visit to Oregon’s only national park in winter is a visit to an incredibly unique landscape in its most extreme season. I love the ranger-guided snowshoe trips offered daily on winter weekends at Rim Village. On this two-hour tour, learn about how animals, plants and people survive such harsh winters. From here, the sight of the caldera swathed in snow contrasted with the surreal blue of the lake is simply magical. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures. (Photo by Ian Shive / TandemStock.com)

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THE OREGON COAST: I grew up on the Oregon Coast. And while some people shy away from visiting in winter, for me, a windy and rainy day at the beach just feels like home — and if you visit during these more meditative months, I think you’ll agree. The more rugged, rockier South Coast is my favorite winter destination, where the energy of a stormy sea meets high cliffs in crashing, splashing glory. Great vistas for winter wave watching can be found in Gold Beach, in Coos County at Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago, and around the wee town of Yachats. But up and down the Coast, you’ll find that nothing tops the energy of the shore in winter — you’ll feel it in your bones and your soul. (Photo by Dennis Frates)

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PAINTED HILLS: Confession: Some wintry nights, I dream about the pie at the Sidewalk Café and More in the town of Mitchell. There’s something particularly satisfying about finding a great little eating establishment in the middle of the high desert, and for me, Eastern Oregon is about taking in incredible outdoor vistas in between visits to authentic, down-home diners. Hike the Painted Hills on the Overlook Trail or the Carroll Rim Trail to achieve a great view of the multicolored volcanic ash of the hills while earning your pie in advance. After the exertion, enjoy a home-cooked meal at Sidewalk. Then continue east to explore more of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, or venture west into Prineville for more authentic western dining at hot spots like Barney Prine’s Steakhouse & Saloon or Club Pioneer. (Photo by Tyler Roemer)

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THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE: In winter the Gorge calls for a road trip. I like to pack some provisions and warm, comfortable clothes and head east from Greater Portland on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Visit Crown Point Vista House for 30-mile views of the Columbia from 700 feet above. If you’re lucky, it’ll be my favorite kind of Oregon winter day, with skies clear, wind whipping and clouds tearing by overhead. You’ll get back in your car feeling totally invigorated. Head on down the highway for short hikes without crowds at Latourell, Bridal Veil, Multnomah and Horsetail falls. End in Hood River for a late lunch at Full Sail Brewing Co. or Celilo Restaurant and Bar, followed by a little small-town boutique shopping before the journey back to Portland. Perfect day trip! (Photo by Alamy Stock)

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MT. HOOD: A few years ago, I spent a winter weekend at Timberline Lodge. Not being an alpine skier, I wondered what I’d do with my time. The answer was: Explore the iconic, historic lodge, from the hand-carved newel posts in animal motifs to the exhibit about The Shining in the lobby. Snowshoe up the flanks of the magnificent mountain under a shining winter sun. Sip hot drinks in the cozy Ram’s Head Bar with a breathtaking view of snowy Mt. Hood through the expansive windows. Soak in the hot tub with the smell of subalpine fir and snow on the breeze. Sleep peacefully under a warm, wool Pendleton blanket in a room built from great Oregon conifer trees. Finally, leave rested, happy and with a fresh vision of the beauty and wonder of my home state. (Photo by Timberline Lodge)

For more fun Oregon outings check out Travel Oregon!

Author: Kim Cooper Findling

Source: http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/itineraries/7-wonders-in-winter/

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The Edge of Impossible

1 12 2016

First Quadriplegic To Ever Heliski – The Edge of Impossible from HighFivesFoundation on Vimeo.

In the spring of 2014, the High Fives Foundation gave a Winter Empowerment grant to provide the team with the tools and travel necessary for Tony Schmiesing to accomplish “The Edge of Impossible” trip to Points North Heli-Adventures in Cordova, Alaska!

This uplifting and truly inspirational video was produced to showcase the human spirit and allow Tony to accomplish the life-long goal of experiencing the weightlessness of pure Alaskan powder skiing.

Get ready for your own winter skiing adventures and pray for snow.  In the words of Tony,”If you don’t try it, you’ll never know if you can can do it or not.”

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Where’s the Challenge?

27 12 2010

The answer is different for everybody.  In the River House Outdoor Programs, and at the heart of other great outdoor programs, we operate under a philosophy of “Challenge by Choice.” A phrase coined from challenge course practitioners (Project Adventure), who adapted phrasing from adventure educators, who adapted phrasing from educational philosophers.  On the surface, and what is predominately shared with others through words, actions, and program designs, is that you decide your level of challenge.  No one else gets to choose how, and in what ways, you push yourself.

How high do I climb?

How far will I go out?

Am I willing to try this new skill?

Do I even get in the boat?

The answer arrives from a variety of routes and it is different for everyone.  Past experiences, abilities, one’s own self-efficacy, and a host of other factors work to frame your answers to these questions, but in the end, it’s your choice.

We mostly think of this choice as having to do with some sort of physical challenge, and it makes sense. After all, most of the programs that we offer are physically challenging.  We do not want people to go to a place where the experience is overwhelming or unmanageable.  However it is equally important to shed light on the emotional and social challenges that exist.  The challenge of how we speak, act, and treat other people.  The choice to offer an encouraging word is as real as the choice to take up climbing.  The choice to change how you treat someone is the same as deciding to attempt a new skateboarding trick.  Treating others with compassion in the future, when you may have attacked or blamed in the past, may be as hard and fearful as attempting a roll in a kayak while in a rapid.  Surely to take up, and face this challenge can be difficult, and to repeat myself, it’s your choice.

So how do we get there?  How do we face these emotional or social challenges?  Well, how did we get to the place of going down a steeper run, a higher element, or a bigger wave?  The answer is simple, start small.  On the challenge course we do not jump off a 20’ pole to catch a trapeze directly after stepping off of a bus.  There’s a process, a sequence, and a plan to making such a challenge the next logical step.  The challenge to invest and support the ones you love, and the ones you don’t, is arrived in much the same way.  Start with something small, get comfortable, and then challenge yourself to go to the next logical step.  Make a plan, be committed, and ask for help when you need it. 

This is why I love recreation.  It has everything to do with how it teaches me to interact with you.  It provides settings that not only challenge us to learn a new skill; additionally it pushes us to be supportive, to hear from others, and gives us real examples in being compassionate.  This inspires me to also be compassionate in other areas.

So I ask the question, “Where’s the Challenge”?

Remember, facing it is your choice and you get to choose your level of challenge.

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