View from the Board

July 2018  - Sue Braastad

The Pollinator Garden

Most people come to Camas National Wildlife Refuge in hopes to see the deer, elk, cranes, owls, ducks etc.  You know, the critters that you need binoculars and big scopes on their cameras to see well.  There is another world to see and appreciate at the Refuge Office.  We are in the process of building and enhancing a Garden that attracts the LITTLE wild creatures of the Refuge – the bees and butterflies and hummingbirds. 

This garden is also a demonstration garden and is divided into three different areas of water usage.  Plants are picked for each area according to their water needs.  The Arid area (directly west of the office) will be watered about every 2-3 weeks.  The Semi-arid (approximately south-west of the office) will be watered every 1-2 weeks.  The Mesic area (south of the office) will be watered every 2-3 days.  This is depending, of course, on weather and if we are establishing plants.

There are also raised beds for milkweed to attract Monarch Butterflies.  There are two species in these beds – showy and swamp milkweed.  Monarch Butterflies are such a highlighted species these days and you can read more about them at

How do you turn a large lawn into a huge garden?  It ain’t easy.  It takes lots of planning and lots of volunteer hours.  Idaho Master Naturalists and Friends of Camas have donated hundreds of hours to the project.  You start by killing the grass and planning where the structures and paths go (a gazebo is coming!).  Then plan the flower beds from there.  You plant and weed and mulch and plant and weed and mulch and weed some more.  To help control the weeds, cardboard was put down where the plants did not spread, shrubs, etc.  And then you weed some more.  We are still experimenting and learning.  For example, the lovely water feature is giving us a challenge with algae growth.

Are all the plants native plants?  No, not all.  In the Arid and Semi-arid areas, the native plants definitely are the preferred species as they can survive in those conditions.  In the Mesic area, a few non-natives are included because of their known ability to attract bees and/or butterflies. 

We started to see the payoff last summer.  The planted areas were buzzing with bees and a-flitter with butterflies and darting with hummers.  It was a joy to see and to listen to, but you had to get down and close, that is where the action is.

The next time you come up to Camas – bring your magnifying lens and macro lens for your camera and visit the garden!!

To view the previous View from the Board, click here.

What's New - 2018

Peregrine Webcam is up for 2018!

Join in the Fun! The third annual Bucks for Birds Birdathon is scheduled for May 26-28 with a potluck celebration on June 9. This is fundraiser for Friends of Camas and Snake River Audubon Society.  Both organizations strive to support birds and their environment and will split the net proceeds 50:50 to be used for environmental education, conservation, and scientific study. Click here to find out more.

For more information and a donation/pledge form contact: Pam Johnson -


Friends of Camas is hosting
the 2nd annual photo contest. 
Click on the image below
for more information.

Photo: First Place 2017 by Sue Braastad

Click here for more information
and for the entry form.

Fred Meyer Rewards Program

You can help Friends of Camas NWR earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!

Fred Meyer  donates over $2 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, based on where their customers tell them to give. Here’s how the program works:

  • Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Friends of Camas NWR at:

  • You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number 85837.

  • Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Friends of Camas NWR earn a donation.

  • The great thing is that YOU still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points and Rebates, just as you do today.

  • If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Custome Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.

For more information, please visit 

Refuge Notes

June 21, 2018

After an early start to flows in Camas Creek I find it amazing that we are still receiving water into the Refuge to date.  Spring rains have kept the ground moist enough to allow runoff and that has been fantastic.  All major Refuge wetlands still have water in them and are looking good.

It is that time of the year when new life is all around.  Many of our nesting bird species can be found with newly hatched broods.  A drive around the marsh will allow you to see many of these sites.  The Canada geese may already look half grown by now, but most to the ducks and grebes are recent additions.

In addition, deer fawns and elk calves are also new to the area this time of year, so pay attention when you see an adult female as there is a good chance a young one is close by.

The Friends of Camas continue to improve upon the pollinator garden around the office and there are plenty of colorful plants providing a nice view.  When you visit the Refuge stop by and check it out and look for butterflies, especially in the afternoon.  There are also some bird feeders in the garden and they are being frequented by mourning doves, black-headed grosbeaks, gold finches, lazuli buntings and some magpies.

Camas Refuge is also hosting the Xerces Society event about Monarch butterflies on Saturday June 30.  The workshop is family orientated and wants to promote citizen science.  If you would like to know more feel free to call the Refuge Office at (208) 662-5423.

Plenty of wildlife to see at the Refuge and a nice weather morning is a perfect time to make the trip.  All the rain and water has produced plenty of hungry insects like mosquitoes so be prepared with bug spray if you need it.

Brian Wehausen, Refuge Manager

To view previous Refuge Notes,
click here.




Friends of Camas NWR Inc. 
2150 E 2350 N
Hamer, ID 83425