September 04, 2001 11:00 pm

Got an interest in birds, and want to hang around the place where thousands of them call home for at least part of the year?

Then bird enthusiast and expert Jim Ward has just the organization for you. Ward is organizing Friends of Ladd Marsh, a group aimed at increasing public involvement at the wildlife area, three miles south of La Grande.

Ward sees Friends of Ladd Marsh as a core group of volunteers to participate in marsh work projects including habitat plantings, bird banding and nest box construction. Ladd Marsh has needed a support group for some time, and will greatly benefit from it.

Group members also will participate in putting on guided tours for the public at the marsh and will attend planning and informational meetings related to the area.

Hunters and non-hunters alike will find a place within Friends of Ladd Marsh, Ward says. The membership fee is nominal: only $5 for the year.

Unlike large flocks of birds flying in formation overhead, Ward does not want Friends of Ladd Marsh to have much structure. The group will not have officers or a board of directors, he says. What it will have, however, is a special purpose.

Friends of Ladd Marsh is a group whose time has come. Ward is hoping many birds of a feather will come together to create an organization committed to making Ladd Marsh one of the Northwests best habitat areas, not only for the birds and other wildlife, but for everyone who stops by to observe nature at work.


The Observer does not get any great joy out of publishing stories about peoples cruelty toward one another. Such was the content of a disturbing story in Tuesdays paper about seven teen-agers arrested in Aumsville over the weekend after a girl reportedly was sexually abused at a party.

The 15-year-old Salem girl had come to the party with a male acquaintance, The Associated Press reported. She was taken to Salem Hospital for treatment of injuries associated with a sexual assault after police received a call at 1:45 a.m. about a female in distress. No parents were present at the party.

Its not surprising that young people would get together for an end-of-summer party. Teen-agers, on the threshold of independence, want to enjoy as much time together, away from the watchful eye of adults.

But what about the alleged gang rape activity at this party? Whats surprising is that no one in the group apparently was willing to step forward and try to stop such abhorrent conduct early on. Are parents messages going unheeded? Have sex education efforts failed?

Society may need to take a fresh look at its sex abuse prevention programs and determine how to make sure the events that reportedly occurred last weekend are never repeated.