in the news (3)

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august 2016 | by cory schott | show project

It’s the hottest day of the year, but I’m shivering. I’ve just emerged from the Yamhill River, wet and muddy. As I stand in the sun trying to warm up, I spot two bleached ribs from a deer slowly dissolving in the slightly alkaline water. I was told they would be there. However, as my eyes scan the 3 inches of water I see a familiar shape. It’s also a bone, sort of like the shape the makers of dog treats try to make their products, but it’s one that is thousands of years old.

We get to meet all sorts of interesting people in the course of our work. For over a decade, Sea Reach has worked with the City of Tualatin, Oregon to plan, design, and fabricate exhibits that interpret the area’s Ice Age past. During this time we’ve teamed up with a number of experts to ensure that our materials incorporate the latest research and are historically and scientifically accurate.

One such expert that we’ve relied upon is Mike Full, Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project Founder. When our most recent project (Tualatin ArtWalk Extension) wrapped up, Mike graciously offered to take Linda (our senior designer) and myself on a fossil-hunting expedition along the Yamhill River.

It was there—only a few miles from my house—that I found a metacarpal of a Bison antiquus calf. The bison antiquus, the ancestor of the bison, was massive, weighing around 3500 pounds when fully grown.

We found several other fossils that day, including ivory, part of a mastodon or mammoth jaw, and a piece of a skull (not sure of what yet!). Each piece we found became part of the Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project’s collection. GPS coordinates, extensive photo documentation of the fossil in situ, and other metadata was collected before we took it out. When the fossils are stabilized, Mike and his team will follow-up the field identification with a more thorough evaluation.

It was an experience of a lifetime and I know both Linda and I are excited to try it again!

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march 2016 | by susan jurasz | show project

We take for granted the trails and greenspaces that either exist or are being created in our neighborhoods, and for many of them, perhaps all of them, we owe a huge thanks to the people who had the foresight to begin planning them — ten, twenty, thirty years ago.

The Tualatin Greenway in Tualatin, Oregon just had its grand opening. It’s one more link in a chain of regional trails… but this trail segment offers a trail experience that stands out. For a section of this trail, users step back in time to walk across footprints of prehistoric megafauna—giant sloth and mastodon—and see fossils of giant salmon or saber-tooth tigers. You can even touch erratics that traveled hundreds of miles, carried by the catastrophic Missoula floods (evidence of the Ice Age). The concrete path is embedded with granite bands marking some of the land-shaping events of the valley over the past 20,000 years.

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january 2013 | by heather julius | show project

My friends and I are out at dinner trading war stories. Er, work stories. I've got a good one: "Imagine," I say, "a giant ice dam blocking a river in the panhandle of Idaho around 18,000 years ago. A glacial lake containing 10 times the flow of all the rivers in the world forms behind this dam. Then, the dam breaks, and the resulting flood, filled with boulders the size of houses and 60-ton icebergs roar at speeds of 65-miles-per-hour over16,000 square miles, across four states, including Oregon, in a thick slurry of mud. Gouging and scouring the land as it speeds by."

My friends don't believe it. But it's all true! And that's not all! This all happened during the time when Ice Age mammals, like 10-foot-tall sloths, roamed the area.

Our challenge is to connect people with a past too wild to believe - one that took place in our backyards. The Tualatin Ice Age Discovery Trail, designed to be a local and pedestrian-friendly complement to the National Park Service "Ice Age Floods Geologic Trail," is in the planning phase. As Sea Reach's research and writer, I am becoming a believer.