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By Lisa Schomaker, Mary McKean, and Michelle Yasutake
With the many crews we have going this summer, it can get tough to keep track. We have crews focused on conducting surveys for Willamette daisy, Streaked horned larks, as well as crews conducting surveys for a variety of species throughout Oregon. There are lots of great conservation projects going on this season!
On April 2, Conservation Research welcomed Lisa Schomaker as a new crew leader to take over for previous CR crew lead extraordinaire, Meaghan Petix, while she leads her own project in Lakeview, OR. Just two weeks later, two new NPSO interns arrived to round out this season’s field crew. Their first assignment will take them to the West Eugene Wetlands for a week of Bradshaw’s lomatium (Lomatium bradshawii) population monitoring. Read on for crew introductions!
Lisa is a native Seattleite and has a strong affinity for the ecology of the Pacific Northwest. In her quest to become a well-rounded naturalist, she enjoys spending much of her time botanizing and birding. She completed her undergraduate degree in biology at Reed College in 2011 and immediately flew to Alaska to count migrating salmon for the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association. That internship grew into a job and she ended up spending four field seasons in and around Lake Clark National Park and Preserve working on research projects ranging from water quality monitoring to endangered lichen seeking. Lisa recently completed her M.S. in Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison documenting the spread of an invasive moss in a Hawaiian cloud forest. She is very excited to continue her career in ecological research at IAE and to explore some new parts of Oregon.
Mary is a Massachusetts native with a passion for exploring and conserving natural areas. Since graduating Ithaca College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies in 2015, Mary has been a field educator for the High Trails Ranch in Florissant, CO, and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program in Flagstaff, AZ. Mary worked on a 1,600-acre farm and wilderness preserve in Los Altos Hills, CA, from 2016-2018 as Community Programs Coordinator for the educational nonprofit organization Hidden Villa. She is an incoming M.P.A. candidate at Cornell University, and hopes to make the Lorax proud through graduate coursework in environmental impact investing and conservation biology! In her free time, Mary loves hiking, river-wading, and grooving to live music. She is stoked to be part of the IAE field team this season!
Michelle Yasutake earned a degree in Environmental Systems with an emphasis in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from the University of California, San Diego in the fall of 2015. During her time in school, Michelle had the opportunity to conduct habitat restoration work with the San Diego River Park Foundation, where she developed an interest in conservation ecology and the preservation of natural habitats. From there, she went on to work with Cabrillo National Monument, where she completed her senior thesis looking at the impacts of human visitation on the abundance of various intertidal species. Upon graduation, Michelle obtained a job working as a logistics manager for the UC-Wide California Ecology and Conservation field study course, where she found herself immersed in the world of ecological field research. After two years of traveling around the state with college students helping to facilitate their research, and a brief period of teaching outdoor education to 5th and 6th graders, Michelle felt it was time for a new adventure, and found herself moving up to Oregon to work with IAE. In her spare time, Michelle really enjoys birding, cooking, slacklining, reading, good beer and quality sunsets. She is looking forward to learning more about botanical research and contributing to the data sets of some incredibly cool studies of many different Oregon natives!
During weeks 3-4, the Conservation Research crew headed down to Cave Junction, OR to monitor Cook’s Desert Parsley (Lomatium Cookii) on BLM property and at Illinois Forks State Park. We were joined by an awesome crew of volunteers during week 1, who put in long days to help ensure every last plant was accounted for. Our team was greeted by beautiful weather each day (mid 70s and sunny!), and enjoyed many memorable meals together at the beautiful Siskiyou Field Station. It’s a distinctly satisfying feeling to have contributed to this study, which has been repeated each spring since 1994.