Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn Oakley and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Friday, April 24, 2015

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Loving Spring

Over the past week, the kids and I have managed to find a few moments to get outside, into nature, and enjoy this lovely spring we are having. There are flowers everywhere! The camas and rhododendrons have just bloomed and Portland is a rainbow of color.

We made it to the Camassia Nature Preserve last week, and for any of your Portlanders, it is just the perfect short hike for little kids.

How is your spring?

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Portland Eco-Film Fest

This month I was lucky enough to be able to attend one night of the Portland Eco-Film Festival and had a chance to see two brand new environmental documentaries.

The first was titled The Breach, and is about the plight of salmon and all of the obstacles that have impeded their survival. From dams that block river passageways, to rivers so polluted that salmon can't survive in them. The onslaught of diseases, sea lice, and competition for food brought from farmed salmon, and the threats from mining operation.

The European salmon population has already been gone for about 100 years. The Atlantic salmon populations of the United States are endangered and many local runs have gone extinct. Pacific salmon are doing a little bit better, but their populations are drastically lower than they were 100 years ago, and much of their native habitat is no longer available to them.

One of the last remaining salmon populations that is truly thriving is in Bristol Bay, Alaska. And now this population may soon be threatened from a huge mine. The Pebble Mine has been proposed to come in and mine out large quantities of low-grade gold and copper. Gold and copper are important metals, to be sure, but they are available in many other less pristine places. Proponents say that the mine would bring much needed jobs to the area... however, the salmon are the life-blood of the culture in Bristol Bay, providing thousands of jobs, as well as food for humans and nutrients for the ecosystem. The potential threats from the mine are just too risky for this important salmon haven. To learn more, or to take action, go to:

The second documentary was Monsoon, all about the rains of India and how they bring life as well as destruction. The film was beautiful, and showed why water is so very important, for all of us. This hits home now in Oregon, where much of the state is suffering from a drought. Most of our mountains have no snow, and water shortages and forest fires will likely be commonplace this summer. in India, it seems that children are raised being taught the importance of the rain, the life that water brings. Here, in the U.S., it seems less so. Water is something to swim in, often a nuisance when it rains. Our water comes to us in pipes, regardless of whether it rains or not, and groceries stores will have food as well. Most of us don't feel the effects of drought like someone in India would, and we therefore take water for granted. This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, and want to make sure that my children revere water for the life-bringing power that it has.

Both films were wonderful and worth watching. Have you seen either one?

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Last week, Finn didn't have school on Friday, so the kids and I headed up to Washington to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. We went up to the refuge once before, last May, and I have been itching to go back ever since.  It is amazingly beautiful there.
The refuge is basically like a safari, but for birds and small mammals. You slowly drive a loop in your car, and can spot lots of wildlife along the way. There is a hiking trail (or maybe two), but they are closed each year until May or June, so we were limited to driving the hour-ish long loop.
We saw lots of birds. Highlights were red winged black birds, great blue herons and egrets. We also saw a lot of nutria, an invasive (and quite large) rodent from South America. Most people can't stand them, but I think they are sort of cute (see the third picture down)-- however, they come in and displace the native animals, so for that reason I do feel sad when I see so many. We also saw a deer that had multiple tags on it, so apparently it was a well researched deer.
But, the best part of the whole loop was near the end. I saw a bunch of small animals running back and forth through a field and assumed they had to be nutria. However, as we got closer, I saw that they were river otters! A rare treat, especially running through a field in a whole group!
Anyways, I love this place. I have plans to go back again in the fall and see how different things look.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along .

Still working on knitting one of these for Miss Phoebe. It's moving forward slower than I expected, but I supposed there is no rush, as it will require much warmer weather before she can wear it!

Right now I have a ginormous stack of library books on my bedside table. I am still reading Toxin Toxout, the sequel to Slow Death by Rubber Duck. It is full of good information and so far I am enjoying it. I also just started reading Matched by Ally Condie. It's the first in another young adult sci fiseries. I just can't seem to get enough of those... ;)

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Monday, April 13, 2015

A Mama's Retreat

Sunday morning, one of my best friends and I headed to Breitenbush Hot Springs, a resort about two hours from Portland. We shared a cozy little cabin and spent Sunday hiking, soaking, doing yoga, walking the labyrinth, and simply just being. There is no cell service, no wireless, and a whole lot of peace and quiet. I didn't even realize how much I needed that day away (from everything) until I was there.
Our hike was fabulous. We saw lots of different types of fungus, calypso orchids, trilliums, and several woodpeckers. We were surrounded by giants, crossed several rivers, and saw only a few other people. The kids and I hike quite often, but we take short and simple hikes. Taking longer hikes is much more rare for me.... and such a wonderful treat.
We woke up this morning with a silent soak in a thermal pool overlooking the river. If only every morning could start that way..... And after breakfast and some quick yoga, we headed back to reality.
I feel so lucky to have had a mama's night away and I hope I can get back there again soon... hopefully for two nights!

I wish I had more photos to share, but since we were often wet, I didn't carry my camera with me. I made sure to take plenty of mental photos though!

And, I have much to blog about from my past week, I just haven't had time to sit down yet with my thoughts. More posts to come later in the week.

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