Farewell Field 2017

By Nadav Mouallem with contributions from fellow NPSO/CR interns Abbie Harold and Lucy Keehn When the entire season feels like a never-ending highlight reel, you know it has been a good one. Whether it be sighting owls at dusk atop of Table Rock, whales at sunrise overlooking Coos Bay, or a bobcat in the Tillamook […]

Going loco searching for LOCO!

–By Lucy Keehn

We have had many adventures during our Native Plant Society of Oregon internship.  In the first week of May, our crew rapidly expanded from the usual 5 to a lively 16, as we were joined in the field by our Executive Director, Tom Kaye, and 10 volunteers from all over Oregon, in order to monitor the population of the endangered Cook’s Desert Parsley (Lomatium cookii), also refereed to as LOCO. Cook’s Desert Parsley is closely related to Lomatium bradshawii, which is an endangered Apiaceae found only in the Willamette Valley. The Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) has been involved with monitoring the species, habitat, and community at this location for more than 20 years, in partnership with the Medford Bureau of Land Management (BLM) District. It was exciting to be able to contribute to such a long-lasting project that so many people have invested much time and care.

IAE/NPSO Interns, Lucy and Nadav, monitoring Cook's desert parsley at Reeve's Creek.

We worked in the Illinois Flats, one of the remaining two population centers of the endangered Cook’s Desert Parsley (the other is north of Medford Plains) (Kagan, 1994). Cook’s Desert Parsley is a small and inconspicuous plant when not flowering; its leaves are narrow and compoundly divided, easily hiding among surrounding vegetation.

The vegetation can be so hard to find, it often means monitoring on your hands and knees with your nose almost in the soil. Sometimes it would take waiting for a small breeze to reveal the hidden Cook’s lomatium, which dips and bends in the wind in contrast to the shaking grasses. Besides being glad to see healthy reproductive plants, we were happy that the creamy yellow umbels made the plants much easier to spot! Thankfully, the icy Illinois River, Deer Creek, and the Cave Junction Dairy Queen were nearby to reward the hot search with a cold treat!

We took a field trip one evening to see the Darlingtonia californica in bloom at 8 Mile Mountain; definitely a highlight of this summer. These incredible carnivorous plants grow in the slowly flowing water of the fen and source nutrients from the rotting insects that fall into their hollow stalk. The insects are lured into the hood by the light shining through the translucent “windows” in the ceiling of hood. Confused by the light, they tumble into the stalk where small downward-pointing hairs prevent them from escaping. The flower of the Darlingtonia is one of the most menacing I have ever seen- the drooping dark purplish-red petals enclosed by large yellow sepals definitely looked the part of a carnivorous plant!

This trip was a great opportunity to tap the impressive collective knowledge of the volunteer crew; we learned from the birding expertise of Marcia, Marisa and Sandy, about Oregon botany from Cindy and our BLM partner Julie, about distance biking in Oregon from the power-couple Wendie and Mike, and about the power of enthusiasm and good vibes from Don. Of course, we also all learned about how to relax at the Siskiyou Field Institute like a true “Duke” from the John Wayne cutout! Thanks to all of the volunteers who endured the heat with us, and to the Siskiyou Field Institute for hosting us at such a beautiful base-camp!

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The Land of Milkvetch and Honey bees

–By Nadav Mouallem For the ninth week of our Native Plant Society of Oregon internship (June 5-9), the Conservation Research field crew traveled to Vale, OR, to monitor Astragalus mulfordiae (we refer to it as ASMU), or Mulford’s milkvetch. Although we were already a seasoned field crew at this point, this trip was like no […]

Adventures of an IAE/NPSO Intern

— By Abbie Harold As a Native Plant Society of Oregon Intern with the Conservation Research Program at the Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) we travel to remote corners of Oregon that are home to rare and endangered plants, some of which are endemic to Oregon. Many of the locations we visit are areas of […]

Welcome 2017 Conservation Research Interns!

On April 9, Conservation Research welcomed our new crew of interns: Lucy Keehn, Abbie Harold, and Nadav Mouallem! We have already put them to work, and they have gained valuable experience planting Kincaid’s lupine in Douglas county and monitoring Bradshaw’s lomatium in the West Eugene Wetlands. Lucy graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in […]

Mulford’s milkvetch research update

It takes a full day of driving from western Oregon to reach the closest populations of Mulford’s milkvetch (Astragalus mulfordiae) in the Owyhee Uplands of Malheur County.  This rare species occurs in scattered populations in rangelands of Oregon and southwestern Idaho, mostly on sandy soils on rolling hills, flats and near the Owyhee and Snake […]

Lupine in the high desert

  A couple of weeks ago the Conservation Research field crew traveled out to Unity, Oregon, to monitor Lupinus lepidus var. cusickii.  Also known as Cusick’s lupine, this small, perennial plant is listed as endangered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, “special status” by the Bureau of Land Management, and a Species of Concern by […]

Seed Collection in Oregon’s Remaining Coastal Prairies

Starting in 2015, IAE was awarded an opportunity to engage in collecting seed of a diversity of plant species from remnant prairies on the Central Oregon Coast. The project will support ongoing restoration efforts for the Oregon silverspot butterfly (OSB) at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge near Pacific City, and will benefit other restoration sites […]

Bartonberry outplanting in Hells Canyon

Over the last two years, the Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) has been developing propagation protocols to grow Bartonberry (Rubus bartonianus) from seed and cuttings, so that it may be reintroduced to the historic range, to maintain its historic global distribution. In addition to IAE staff, Matt Bahm, Erin Gray, Denise Giles-Johnson, and Meaghan Petix, […]

A Day in the Dunes

Last week the Conservation Research team headed out to the central Oregon coast for one of our first trips of the 2016 season! We met up with one of our partners, Marty Stein (USFS), and went to four sites within the Suislaw National Forest – Tahkenitch, Overlook South, Overlook North, and Siltcoos (from south to […]

Welcome 2016 IAE/NPSO Interns!

This past week we welcomed our new crew of IAE/NPSO interns: Liza Holtz, Sarai Carter, and Ari Freitag! Liza is absolutely thrilled to be a Conservation Research Intern with IAE! She received a B.S. in Natural Sciences with an emphasis in Biology from the University of Puget Sound (2013). During her undergraduate studies she researched […]

What do Taylor’s checkerspot caterpillars eat?

This has been a boom year for Taylor’s checkerspot, an endangered species in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  The two remaining populations in the state have both shown great numbers – over 1000 butterflies each – and at least some of this appears to be due to strong land stewardship by Benton County Natural Areas and Parks […]