Wallowology membership drive a success

By Steve Tool

Wallowa County Chieftain

Published on October 17, 2017 2:53PM

Kathleen Ellyn/Chieftain
Wallowology is a fixture on Main Street in Joseph.

Kathleen Ellyn/Chieftain Wallowology is a fixture on Main Street in Joseph.

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Wallowology, a Joseph-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing public interest of the ecosystems of eastern Oregon has finished its first-ever membership drive. Organizers are pleased.

James Monteith, the organization’s executive director, called the drive an unqualified success. For a donation of as little as $20, individuals could become “founding member.”

Wallowology is located at 508 N. Main. St. in Joseph.

“We went over our goal. I think we’re at $27,000,” Monteith said.

One aspect of the funding drive included different Wallowa mountains peak heights to match monetary donations. The idea was the brain child of Wallowology’s director of art and exhibits Joan Gilbert.

“I think every peak in the mountains got covered,” Monteith said. “We’re still not done yet. People are still responding.”

Gilbert said one of her visions for the future is expanding the size of Wallowology. The lot behind the building belongs to the organization. Additional space could be used for subjects that require intense focus.

“We don’t have a lot of room for really getting into the nitty-gritty of information,” she said. She added that the pollination garden could expand to the back lot as well.

Although the founding member group pool is closed, those who missed out on the opportunity can join as regular members. Gilbert mentioned other ways for the public to help.

“People can become members, and people can volunteer,” Gilbert said. “There’s also exhibit staging, maintenance in the pollination garden and greeting visitors. There’s plenty of volunteer stuff.”

Gilbert said that Wallowology is looking for exhibit donations, including skulls and a limited number of stuffed animals in addition to what she called “unique stuff.”

“We have a discovery room, that’s a hands-on room,” she said. “We’re trying to make a collection of nests and skulls, teeth –– stuff like that. It would be neat if we could get some more collections of things kids like looking at.”

Gilbert said that since Wallowology is a natural history museum, she just returned from a visit to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to attract some of their outreach programs into the county.

“They build interactive exhibits, which is something we can’t do because we don’t have a workshop,” she said. “Key on the wish list is some retired guy or lady who is a woodworker and has an electronics background to construct these wonderful ideas we have.”

Although Wallowology is closed for the winter, it will host groups of school children by appointment while still holding its monthly meetings, as well as a Halloween party on Sunday, Oct. 29, in conjunction with Wallowa Lake Lodge.

“We’ll have our regular party at the lodge 2-5 p.m., with bobbing apples, bingo and lots of fun games,” Gilbert said. “The lodge has wanted a haunted house forever ... the kids and families can go upstairs to the haunted house. At 5 p.m., Karen Antell, a professor from Eastern Oregon University, is doing a presentation on creatures of the night. It’s going to be cool.”



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