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 species of checker-mallows, all native to western North America. Read more
Forest Bound Launches at IAE Southwest!
With the recent completion of the Native Plant Curriculum for New Mexico “From Ponderosa to Prickly Pear”, our Southwest Program was in a perfect position to pilot a new outdoor educational program in Santa Fe to field test lessons. Funders for the program, called “Forest Bound: A Window into Native Plants,” include the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Native Plant Society of New Mexico. Read more
The Butterfly Effect, Earth Island Journal
Six women sit on overturned crates tending to seedlings inside a greenhouse in Wilsonville, Oregon. Light filters through the clear plastic roof, and a break in the clouds sends streaks of sunlight over an open end of the structure. Birds call out, interrupting the peaceful scene as the women focus on harvesting leaves from early blue violets planted in rows of black plastic containers. Read more
Restoring habitat and hope
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. This spring, inmates are caring for 30,000 sagebrush and bitterbrush seedlings. They will be used to restore greater sage-grouse habitat in the fall. Read more
What do our pollinators need?
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. Read more
Volunteer update: OSU 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, thirty-five volunteers from Oregon State University got up bright and early to pull Scotch broom at Beazell Memorial Forest.
Better Late Than Never: Patience with a Delayed Butterfly Season
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 the prairie habitat restoration IAE tackles on a year to year basis in collaboration with partners like the US Fish and Wildlife Service. They are quite near and dear to our hearts, hence the anxiety over their late appearance.
Beyond its handful of locations in Washington and British Columbia, Taylor’s checkerspot only occurs in two locations in Oregon, both in our own Benton County. IAE works closely with Benton County Natural Areas and Parks, and a local landowner, to enhance habitat at both sites. A big part of habitat restoration for this butterfly is seeding native nectar flowers, like rosy plectritis, for the butterfly, and working to control nasty invasive plants, like false brome and hawthorn. Fender’s blue butterfly is also an endangered species, relying on Willamette Valley prairies with Kincaid’s lupine (or occasionally, spurred or sickle keel lupine). This is the second year IAE has coordinated ten surveyors (including two IAE staff) to monitor Fender’s blue butterfly populations across the valley, on public and private lands, from West Eugene and Coburg Hills all the way up to Hagg Lake. Like Taylor’s checkerspot, Fender’s blue’s worst enemies are invasive plants, especially tall oatgrass, blackberry, and Scotch broom! Habitat restoration and regular maintenance are essential for populations of the butterfly to persist.
The season is winding to a close, and data are coming in - fingers are crossed that both Taylor’s and Fender’s weathered this year’s stormy spring and laid plenty of eggs for next year’s butterfly season! A huge thanks to all our butterfly surveyors: Dana Ross, Greg Fitzpatrick, Duncan Thomas, Paul Hammond, Paul Severns, Lee Bennion, Gary Pearson, Jock Beall, and IAE’s own Carolyn Menke and Lindsay Willrick!
The Invasive Species Cook-Off will be held Saturday, August 19th from 5:00-8:30pm in Corvallis, OR. This annual party and fundraiser will have live music, roasted pig, invasive species dish and beverage competition, raffles, kids' activities and more. Do your part to take a bite out of invasive species! Invasive Species Beverage Tasting & Social (Members-only) at 4:30 pm before the Cook-off! Click HERE to become a member!
Teachers - join us August 23-25 for an outdoor education workshop! Learn how to propagate seeds, collect riparian data, and kayak the Willamette river (beginners welcome!) to investigate declining freshwater mussels. Leave with tools to help get your students outside! Contact: Stacy Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-753-3099 ext. 305 or Kathleen Westly, email@example.com, 541-758-7597. Download a flyer.
Become an IAE volunteer by joining our volunteer email list. We will send you occasional opportunites to help IAE in the field or indoors with conservation projects, and with our fundraising outreach events. Click here to sign up.
Our Wish List
Items that we could really put to work:
4WD pick-up truck or SUV for restoration projects
Potting soil (new, in bags) for propagating endangered plants with students.
Gardening gloves, hand trowels and pruners.
Upgrading your iPad or tablet? We'd love to put your old one to work while you take a tax deduction.
Thank you to all of you who have given time and funds to our programs and to our partner organizations. You ensure that we can continue to rescue our native species and habitats. Click here to donate or become a member!
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Become an IAE volunteer by joining our volunteer email list. We will let you know of great ways to help in the field or indoors with conservation projects. Click here to sign up.
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Our Mission: Conservation of native species and ecosystems through restoration, research and education.
Our Dynamic Board of Directors: Ken Bierly (President), Cary Stephens (Vice President), Steve Smith (Treasurer), Deborah Clark (Secretary), Sarah Greene, Laurie Halsey, Bob Hansen, Brandy Humphreys, Hilary Hunt, Carol Savonen, Debbie Johnson.