IAE Education team offers lecture series to inmates

Our education team has been busy presenting interactive lectures and presentations at participating SPP prisons throughout Oregon and Idaho.

Our Great Basin Sagebrush Project is part of the greater Sustainability in Prisons Project.  We work closely with the Department of Corrections, Bureau of Land Management, and the SPP network to provide unique and meaningful ecological activities to incarcerated men and women with the goal of restoring sagebrush habitat for the greater sage-grouse in the great basin region through a six state grow out initiative.

Jessica Brothers, IAE Education Coordinator, visited eastern Oregon and western Idaho in June to present on the unique differences between dirt and soil, and why healthy native soil is important to the sagebrush ecosystem (and all ecosystems for that matter!)

Inmates tested a variety of everyday household liquids with pH strips, including baking soda and lemon juice, and observed the acidic and alkaline differences between a variety of soil profiles from across Oregon. The presentation also focused on the unique ecological strategies of different sagebrush species and their preferred soil types and geographical landscapes.

Inmates gained a better understanding of the pH scale and some of its useful applications. They also learned about the largest living organism and tested porous soil as a filtration system. There were many “AH HA!” moments, wonderful questions, and inquisitive discussions among the inmates.

Jessie visited four OR & ID prisons in June and will be visiting Montana Women’s Prison and Warner Creek Correctional Facility (WCCF) in southern Oregon in July.

Stacy Moore, IAE Education Director, visited WCCF and presented on native prairie restoration and the current influences and threats on our remaining native prairies. She also hosted a viewing of the Oregon Public Broadcasting movie called “The Sagebrush Sea”, which the inmates thoroughly enjoyed. Stacy will be following up at our western Idaho prison partners and eastern Oregon partner in July.

Recent updates from our prison partners in Oregon and Idaho:

SRCI in Ontario, OR: The adults in custody are currently growing milkweed for local refuges for the Monarch Butterfly and sagebrush for Vale BLM.  They currently have 9500 healthy milkweed starts and approx. 38,500 healthy sagebrush starts.

ISCC in Boise, ID: The adults in custody are currently growing 60,000 sagebrush and bitterbrush for BLM.  The quality of the plants are excellent and they are now thinning and fertilizing them.

SBWCC in Boise, ID: The adults in custody are currently growing 30,000 sagebrush plants (two different species). The quality of the plants are excellent and they are now thinning and fertilizing them.

WCCF in Lakeview, OR: The adults in custody are doing a wonderful job of propagating bitterbrush and two species of sagebrush for BLM’s in Klamath Falls, Lakeview and Alturas, CA. They have a total of 29,200 seeded conetainers and have been thinning and fertilizing their plants and re-seeding as necessary.

Both Jessie and Stacy, along with our awesome regional SPP staff, will continue to visit correctional facilities throughout the year to present new and exciting topics relating to the sage grouse habitat to both the inmates and DOC staff.