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By Michel Wiman
In a standing-room-only crowd of Institute for Applied Ecology supporters, IAE staff shared innovative projects and stories from their field season on a recent fall evening at the Corvallis Arts Center. This year’s Stories from the Field was a special Annual Meeting for IAE, celebrating the accomplishments of 20 years of restoration, research and education work.
IAE Executive Director Tom Kaye kicked off the event, telling stories from two decades of work in some of Oregon’s most imperiled habitats and sharing milestones from IAE’s twenty-year timeline. IAE has expanded our footprint into conserving native species and habitats across the western US, particularly in New Mexico and Arizona, but also in Sage Grouse habitat in many states, especially Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. We’ve made great strides in habitat restoration for Taylor’s checkerspot, Fender’s blue butterfly, and Oregon silverspot over the years, as well as in bird and pollinator habitat conservation. Success stories included restoring threatened native plant species like the golden paintbrush and Nelson’s checkermallow. Tom also talked about the 175+ people that started their careers with an internship at IAE, many of whom have become successful scientists, educators, and restoration practitioners.
Conservation Research Program Director Matt Bahm then told of restoring habitat and attracting the endangered Streaked Horned Lark to nest this season at Herbert Farm and Natural Area, something not yet achieved anywhere else. IAE Education Coordinator Tyler Knapp shared his experience working on an innovative twin schools project with a cultural and ecological education exchange between school children in Oregon and Mexico. Displays around the Arts Center gallery invited guests to learn about IAE’s Sustainability in Prisons projects, and the process of collecting and producing native seeds to restore habitats.
Contributing to the celebration was a special appreciation of Tom Kaye’s 20 years of service to IAE as founder and Executive Director. The IAE Board of Directors presented him with a 20 year anniversary lapel pin, and spoke of their pride in IAE’s work for our natural areas and community, and recognized Tom’s dedication to IAE’s mission of conservation in Oregon, New Mexico, and beyond.
Dedicated local artist and biologist Frances Stilwell also said a few words about her Oregon's Botanical Landscape Collection at the event. Ms. Stilwell shared the history of a collection of prints she generously donated to IAE, in hopes that funds raised will help support IAE’s mission into the next two decades. A sample of these prints can be viewed on IAE’s website - click here to view.
We need your support in the next 20 years, perhaps more than ever. With you, we can continue our work restoring healthy and diverse ecosystems, increasing the quantity and quality of native plants for habitat restoration, growing the next generation of citizen scientists, and continually researching and improving best practices for ecological restoration. Please show your support by becoming a member of IAE, with a one time or recurring monthly donation. Thank you for taking action!