Tending the Wild is what we call our restoration projects. Often in collaboration and participation with other people and organizations, we offer hands and hearts to Earth, helping restore natural habitats as we learn and practice working together, educating ourselves and others in the process.
Your donations help fund this important work. Scroll through to find out about some of our projects. Hope you'll join us.
October 2015: Creek Restoration, South Fork Crooked River
Camping out with Great Old Broads for Wilderness and Oregon Natural Desert Association, volunteers planted 7,500 plants along the banks of the Crooked River. Historic overgrazing had eroded the stream bank and killed plant life that was the foundation of a healthy riparian ecosystem. The stream is now too warm for most fish and no large woody material is available for beaver to use for lodge materials. The beaver now live in bank dens, but without their lodges, there are no slow deep pools necessary to so much aquatic life.
Our crew planted willow wattles, Cottonwood, and Alder, which will grow to shade the stream, build the soil, and provide for the beaver. The river’s floodplain was planted with Nootka Rose, High Bush Cranberry, Bitterbrush, Currant, and other natives of the region.
“This is the most satisfying work I’ve ever done,” said Suzan after a morning of planting.
April 2016: Monarch Waystation planting at MillerHill Farm
Monarch butterflies depend on the milkweed plant for laying their eggs and feeding the newly hatched larvae. As the Willamette Valley has become increasingly agricultural land, milkweed--along with other plants that are deemed “weeds”--have been mostly eradicated. Establishing even small plots of milkweed helps the butterflies make their way along their migration route.
Our 10 x 20 Waystation was tilled, the soil amended, and milkweed planted on Sunday, April 3, 2016. Donated nectar plants surrounding the milkweed include Bee Balm, Black-eyed Susan, Echinacea, Lavender, Yarrow, Mexican Sunflower, Shasta Daisy, Salvia, Sunflower, Blanket Flower, Cosmos, Jopi, and scattered wildflower seed. The goal is to support butterflies, bees, birds, and other pollinators by providing nectar plants blooming from early spring through late fall.
May 2016 - Ecoblitz at Sandy River Delta
NatureConnect joined the National Park Service and the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council on a citizen science birding walk in conjunction with the Sandy River Delta Ecoblitz. We walked the lesser-used trails of the woods and recorded our findings, which were to be combined with other birders who would be surveying throughout the day. Ecoblitzes are citizen science projects. The Sandy River Delta effort will establish an initial inventory of flora and fauna for use in restoration and conservation.
Our explorations into Tending The GLOBAL Wild
Join us as we learn, study, gather, conserve, restore and become ever-better stewards of Earth. Our work revolves around our Cascadia Watersheds and engages us with many other people and organizations devoted to caring for and tending Earth together on behalf of the future of life. Begin here, with a short video about tree mystery and magic. More to come!
From Diana Beresford-Kroeger, a Canadian Elder raised in Ireland, comes a new world of understanding and valuing the forests of Earth. Find out more at Call of the Forest on Vimeo, or check your public library for her breakthrough work and deep understanding of the infinite wisdom of trees. You want this education!
October 2017 on the South Fork of the Crooked River: Beaver & River Restoration
At a site historically known as Jakes' Place, I returned for the third time. Now held by a conservationist, these 1200+ acres of mixed grazing, grasses, river shore and junipers is undergoing a slow change. It will take years of recovery before the grazed land can once again hold water, seed, native grasses and become a thriving place for deer, beaver, fish and people. It's a blend of the desecrated and the sacred, like so many of our wild places.
I've been learning about beaver analogs, a method of catchment built into the river to hold branches, sticks, and slow the stream, encouraging the cottonwood that beavers must have for food and for building dens. I've been learning about patience, as spring floods carry off the native plants we put it two years ago. Begin again. What else shall we do? That's what the beavers do every time a den is destroyed. Begin again. We could take lessons. Perhaps we are.
This trip with the Oregon Natural Desert Association was a good mix of willing, if mostly older, men and women. Cold mornings made us appreciate the hot coffee, and eventually the warmer mid-day encouraged us to enjoy the hard work. I'm going back again; maybe you'd like to come too. Enjoy the glimpse of our three days in this video done by one of the volunteers, Joe Walicki.