by Christina Partipilo and Camille Eckel, IAE 2017 Interns The Willamette Valley is home to small pockets of native prairie habitats. Among these native prairie species is the threatened golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta), a species with glowing golden bracts. This once-abundant prairie wildflower was deemed “nearly impossible to cultivate,” and difficult to grow from seed. Since 2003, IAE has […]
In June, a golden eagle named Jackhammer paid a visit to the Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) in Ontario, OR. Jackhammer and her handlers, Joe and Cordi Atkinson of Vale, were there to teach inmates about one of the top predators living in the sagebrush-steppe. The Atkinson’s presentation was one of several interactive lectures that […]
The Institute for Applied Ecology and the Lovelock Correctional Center Sagebrush Crew would like to thank The American Legion Sean M. Ward Post 519 group for their help in restoring greater sage-grouse habitat for our Sagebrush in Prisons Project. They have volunteered many hours helping us thin out the sagebrush containers to our target goal […]
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 […]
–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.
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!
Outdoor Education Program for High School Students Utilizes Native Plant Curriculum for New Mexico With the recent completion of the Native Plant Curriculum for New Mexico “From Ponderosa to Prickly Pear” in January 2017, IAE’s Southwest Program was in the perfect position to pilot a new summer educational program in the Santa Fe National Forest […]
–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 […]
— 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 […]
It’s finally summer and butterflies are in flight. Butterflies are probably the most loved of all insects, but as native plant habitats decline due to invasive weed spread, agricultural and urban encroachment, some have become threatened. Their needs are simple: 1) Nectar for food, and 2) refuges for egg laying/nesting. In turn, they provide us […]
Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE)’s Sagebrush in Prisons project has inmates caring for seedlings and discovering ecology at 11 prisons in 6 western states, including the Warner Creek Correctional Facility in Lakeview, Oregon with support from the Bureau of Land Management’s Plant Conservation Program. This spring at Warner Creek, inmates are busily caring for 30,000 […]
This year, Willamette Valley biologists waited, waited and still waited longer for our favorite prairie pollinators, Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly and Fender’s blue butterfly, to emerge. Not one, not two, but almost three weeks late! Cold and rainy conditions delayed both plants and butterflies this year. These two endangered butterflies are the driver for much of […]
If you rode your horse or walked through western Oregon grasslands on a late May day 200 years ago, chances are you would have seen checker-mallows aplenty among the many wildflowers. Today these grasslands are few and far between, but in some habitat remnants checker-mallows still make a showy spring bloom. There are over 20 […]