Earth Day 2017 Accomplishments: OSU Volunteers vs. Scotch Broom

It can be difficult to wake up early on a Saturday morning, especially if it is cool and rainy, but on Earth Day, April 22nd, thirty-five volunteers from Oregon State University got up bright and early to pull Scotch broom at Beazell Memorial Forest. The volunteer event was coordinated with the help of the Diverse Perspectives in Forestry Group and the OSU Center for Community Engagement, and included a mix of OSU students, both undergraduate and graduate, alumni, and OSU staff.

The Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) is very grateful for the help. Scotch broom removal is an important step in restoring and improving meadow habitat at Beazell, which is home to the endangered Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly that has only two remaining populations in Oregon. IAE aims to continue expanding butterfly habitat by planting nectar species for adult butterflies and host species for caterpillars. However, large shrubs, like Scotch broom need to be removed to prepare the site. This work can be a very time and labor intensive, but our enthusiastic volunteers made quick work of it, clearing a large portion of the meadow in a matter of two hours.

We are super excited about the progress made by the group and very thankful for their help! It was a great way to spend Earth Day!

A student shows off a Scotch broom that was particularly difficult to pull

Anna demonstrates how to use a weed wrench to pull large Scotch broom

Rebecca looks up from pulling Scotch broom

Smaller shrubs were pulled by hand

Using a weed wrench is often more efficient as a team effort

Despite the drizzle the site provided a scenic backdrop

Before: A volunteer poses in front of a particularly dense patch of Scotch broom

After: The group finished clearing the patch in the last few minutes before they had to leave.

Piles of Scotch broom were removed from the prairie and left in the woods to decompose

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