Thursday, April 16, 2020

City Nature Challenge: i-Naturalist Tutorial




Don't forget to join in the fun, this weekend for 
the City Nature Challenge: Backyard BioBlitz!


Follow this link, provided by Middle Fork Watershed Council,
to learn how to use the i-Naturalist tool at home:


https://bit.ly/2yYZFsv


For more tips on finding backyard specimens for the bioblitz, explore this PDF:

https://citynaturechallenge.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Exploring-Nature-in-and-around-your-home.pdf

As a reminder, since sightings are reported from our own backyards, make sure that you mark the observation as "cultivated" or "captive."

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, organizations across the Upper Willamette watershed invite you to join your community in documenting our local nature during the 2020 City Nature Challenge!

As we stay home and stay safe to stop the spread of COVID-19, we can still observe and document the natural world in our backyards, on our sidewalks, and even in our homes!

The City Nature Challenge is a community science bioblitz with the goal of observing and identifying as many species as possible in urban communities. Participants from more than 200 cities worldwide will contribute and so can you!

You may be wondering - what is a BioBlitz? ‘Bio’ means ‘life’ and ‘blitz’ means ‘to do something quickly and intensively’. Together they make ‘BioBlitz’, a collaborative race against the clock to discover as many species as possible, within a set location, over a defined time period. Plants, animals, fungi, it all counts! Even tracks and other evidence of a species can be recorded.

Find out the name of that mystery plant growing nearby with iNaturalist, a free and easy to use app and website with a community of experts helping you identify what you found. If you are in the Eugene-Springfield CNC area and you make an observation on iNaturalist from April 24th-27th, it will automatically contribute to our total. How many species can we find?

Please follow all travel and social distancing guidelines as we bring technology and nature together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Discover the nature around you during the City Nature Challenge!



Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Lomatium Meditations: A Virtual Wetland Wander Experience


Long Tom River
BLM Long Tom Site
In the spirit of WREN’s Wetland Wanders held the second Tuesday of every month, I recently embarked on a West Eugene Wetlands adventure with two of my BLM colleagues, Forestry Technician, Colin Sayre, and Plants Biological Technician, Christine Calhoun as well as BLM’s GIS Specialist and Acting Assistant Field Manager, Bernie Hoffman. Our journey took us to a spacious, 5-acre, mixed oak savannah and wet prairie nestled along the Long Tom River between the towns of Cheshire and Veneta where we settled in to monitor the recently down-listed species, Bradshaw’s lamatium.

Brandshaw’s lomatium, or Bradshaw’s desert parsley, is a low lying, perennial species that grows from a slender tap root. Its pinnate leaves are reminiscent of delicate carrot fronds and its small, yellow flowers are arranged radially in clusters called umbels. Bradshaw’s lomatium is generally found in wet habitats where the soil is clay-rich, near creeks or small rivers. Threats include habitat loss due to agriculture, commercial and residential development, encroachment by shrubs and trees, and competition from weedy invasives.
(Above) Christine and Colin mark the 'x' axis of the plot
(Below) Colin records the number of leafing and flowering plants



The best time to survey and monitor this species is from mid-April to May when the plant is in flower. I learned from experience that this is due to the fact that the short, delicate carroty leaves can easily be overlooked or confused with any number of plants that make up the green, vegetative expanse of the wet prairie. We began by finding one of the four, 30+ square meter plots on site with a GPS. Then, Colin and Christine attached a large tape to one end of the transect point and unrolled it to the other end of the transect line to mark an ‘x’ axis. Two additional measuring tapes were used on the ‘y’ axis to create a system of monitoring the plots one square meter at a time. Searching for the Bradshaw’s lomatium brought to mind memories from childhood spending hours meticulously looking through a field of clover for the one with 4-leaves. The process was slow and meditative, allowing the observer ample time to appreciate the other Spring wildlife that inevitably appears when one is patient and looking closely, such as young Northwest garter snakes, small orb weavers and crab spiders, voles, eagles, and Pileated and Acorn woodpeckers. One can’t help but appreciate in these moments all that Spring has to offer! After the data has been collected, it is recorded on a series of sheets used by Technicians to input into Long-term data files and will provide evidence for restoration measures.


It wasn’t very long ago that Bradshaw’s lomatium, or Desert Parsley, was listed as an Endangered species. A number of factors are required in order to reclassify a species from Endangered to Threatened. Most importantly is evidence to support that the species population is growing and that it has  high quality habitat to support its growth. Yearly monitoring is the best way to document how well a plant species is doing so that a plan for protection and management can be put into place. This requires the dedication of restoration ecologists who have an interest in protecting these important resources and a supportive community. Plant monitoring programs, such as the one I experienced this Tuesday with my BLM colleagues, help us allocate land management resources and plan restoration efforts. Monitoring efforts also give us an understanding of the occurrence, distribution and status of plant populations in vital wetland units. The data collected through plant monitoring helps make sure that threatened and endangered species receive continued protection and assistance and ensure species biodiversity.

Thanks to monitoring programs and the efforts of my colleagues and other Wildlife Technicians, the West Eugene Wetlands is now down to three threatened and endangered species; the Fender’s Blue butterfly, Kinkaid’s lupine (the nectar plant for the Fender’s blue butterfly), and the Willamette daisy. After participating in monitoring efforts, I see the value in the work and have renewed hope that, with continued efforts and support, all of our West Eugene Wetlands species will be considered common, once again.

Article by WREN Program Coordinator, Laura Maloney

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

City Nature Challenge: Backyard Bioblitz

City Nature Challenge: Backyard BioBlitz
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, organizations across the Upper Willamette watershed invite you to join your community in documenting our local nature during the 2020 City Nature Challenge! As we stay home and stay safe to stop the spread of COVID-19, we can still observe and document the natural world in our backyards, on our sidewalks, and even in our homes!
The City Nature Challenge is a community science bioblitz with the goal of observing and identifying as many species as possible in urban communities. Participants from more than 200 cities worldwide will contribute and so can you! You may be wondering - what is a BioBlitz? ‘Bio’ means ‘life’ and ‘blitz’ means ‘to do something quickly and intensively’. Together they make ‘BioBlitz’, a collaborative race against the clock to discover as many species as, within a set location, over a defined time period. Plants, animals, fungi, it all counts! Even tracks and other evidence of a species can be recorded. Find out the name of that mystery plant growing nearby with  iNaturalist , a free and easy to use app and website with a community of experts helping you identify what you found. If you are in the Eugene-Springfield CNC area and you make an observation on iNaturalist from April 24th-27th, it will automatically contribute to our total. How many species can we find? Please follow all travel and social distancing guidelines as we bring technology and nature together to celebrate the   50th anniversary of Earth Day. Discover the nature around you during the City Nature Challenge!


Friday, March 27, 2020

A Spring of Some Significance



This Spring has been a season of historical significance in more ways than one.  With local, governmental authorities asking citizens to distance themselves socially, school children on an extended leave from school, and many others in isolation, we are challenged to rethink how we can continue grow and be involved in our community. We also recently experienced the earliest first day of Spring in 124 years. At the equinox, where the hours of daylight are equal to that of the hours of dark, nature reminds us that it's cyclical rhythms will continue to turn and to pass even in evolutionary challenging times. We are also entering into a period of increasing light where the days are becoming longer than the nights. In the spirit of all that is happening, I am excited to share a plethora of resources to keep you engaged in hope  that you remain happy, healthy, and in good spirit.

Warm Regards,

Laura Maloney
WREN Program Coordinator

FREE Self-Guided Activities and Resources

Self-guided Bike Tour of the West Eugene Wetlands:
In celebration of Spring time and in the spirit of health and modified community involvement, I mapped out a bicycle adventure through the West Eugene Wetlands and captured some signs of Spring for you and your families to enjoy. CLICK HERE to access the 12-mile, self-guided, interpretive bicycle tour. I hope that you enjoy the adventure as much as I did!

Sensory Scavenger Hunt:
Spend an afternoon outdoors exploring the sites, sounds, and smells of nature in this Sensory Scavenger Hunt friendly for younger children and families. 

Dragonfly Learning Activities:
Dragonflies are engineering marvels! Learn about the dragonfly life-cycle, dragonfly flight, and design your own dragonfly in these learning activities suitable for upper Elementary and Middle School students. Bonus dragonfly mask craft! You can access the learning materials, craft templates and activity instructions HERE

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE!




To learn more about WREN's mission, history and programs, visit WREN's new website at 






We are currently seeking volunteer board members, volunteer Environmental Educators, and a Social Media volunteer. If you are interested in helping out and would like to learn more about one of the opportunities, please contact us at info@wewetlands.org