Monday, December 8, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The second photo he sent is of a green heron apparently doing yoga! Thank you Steve!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
By Carrie Karl, WREN Education Assistant
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Weather: A canopy of clouds and light rain.
Matt Benotsch, from The Nature Conservancy, lead eleven people along a fire break in the Willow Creek Natural Area during this Wetland Wander. As we travelled Matt narrated the battle unfolding before our eyes between forest and prairie. The struggle for space is constant. Humans have played a deciding role in this battle beginning with the Kalapuya thousands of years ago. The Kalapuya used fire to cultivate food sources and the plants we see today now depend on fire for survival. Without fire, the Tufted Hair Grass would ebb away and the Oregon Ash would dominate. As this battle is waged there is considerable beauty to behold. As we looked out over the prairie we watched a Northern Harrier swoop low hunting for a mid morning snack. At prairie edges we glimpsed Pacific Green Tree Frogs, a Rough Skinned Newt and a Southern Alligator Lizard hidden amongst the grasses and fallen leaves. Restoration technicians today utilize fire to help the prairie and forest to maintain their space. As areas are burned or mowed, a mechanical way to mimic fire, there is balance and a forging of habitat for a diversity of life.
Friday, November 7, 2008
by Carrie Karl, WREN Environmental Education Assistant
The change of seasons is upon us, fall is in full swing and this year it brings a myriad of color. Our palette of vibrant summer greens has given way to brilliant oranges, yellows and reds. The three pigments that are the main characters in our fall play are chlorophyll, the greens, carotenoids, the yellows and oranges and anthocyanins, the reds and purples. Chlorophyll and carotenoids are always present in the leaf of the tree. Anthocyanins are produced during the fall.
As fall begins in the West Eugene Wetlands temperatures decrease and nights grow longer signaling to plants the approach of winter. Plants reflect this change in season by beginning to seal off their leaves via swelling of a special layer of cells at the base of the leaf called the abscission layer. As this layer swellschlorophyll and carotenoids, are trapped. The ensnared chlorophyll continues the process of photosynthesis producing a build up of sugar in the leaf. Sugars combined with bright light produce the anthocyanins. As the chlorophyll is exhausted the carotenoids and anthocyanins are exposed painting the landscape with bold strokes of color.
Many factors influence the brilliance of fall color. However, the best color occurs after a period of dry, warm sunny days with cool crisp nights. The nights must remain above freezing to allow for a slow swelling of the abscission layer which prevents the sugars from moving out of the leaf. The more sugar in the leaf, the more brilliant the anthocyanins. Carotenoids, however, are always present in the leaf and as a result are usually the same from year to year.
The beauty of the fall colors persist beyond the tree. When the nights cool enough to allow for the abscission layer to swell completely, the leaf is then forced off the tree. The tender leaf tissues would not survive the winter so the tree must shed them. These cast offs will decompose providing nutrients to the soil or food for organisms. The color will eventually fade exposing the tannin, browns, that lie beneath.
The drama of the fall play lies in the passing splendor of the colors, and yet, the real story is the leaf. It sustains the tree while it graces its branches during the summer producing food for survival. As fall begins the leaf radiates its inner brilliance and with the start of winter it falls to the base of the tree replenishing the forest floor and the place, the tree calls home.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Volunteers began to gather shortly before 9 a.m. enjoying coffee and pastries and chatting.
Tania Siemens with the Nature Conservancy came out and informed participants about invasive species in the WEW and talked about the new Early Detection Volunteer Initiative.
The young ones checked out the animal pelts, tracks, and fake scat at WREN's table.
Full of hot beverages and pastry, the eager group assembled and listened to a welcome from Eugene BLM District Manager Ginnie Grilley.
Matt McRae with the City of Eugene Stream Team and Holly McRae with WREN then laid out directions for the work ahead. Raring to go, the volunteers split up into several groups to slice up the work load. There were the camas bulb planters and blackberry removers, the litter clean-up crew, shade cloth installers, and bird blind constructors and painters.
They huffed and puffed...
And when we were all done, we had plenty to show for it! Here is what we accomplished:
The exisiting bird blind was revamped, and made more inviting for visitors.
Over three truck-loads of trash were removed from the site.
Over 300 camas bulbs were planted on the oak knoll.
Over 2400 sq.ft. of shade cloth were installed to attack reed canary grass.
A lot of litter cleaned out-satisfying!
Shade Cloth laid out and pounded in with stakes
Brand new Bird Blind after completion
Volunteers lunched on burritos and shared their successes.
Thank you so much to everyone who came out and made this day so successful. Congrats to all the partnering agencies who sponsored and individuals who came out from the BLM, City of Eugene Stream Team, WREN, Sierra Club Many Rivers Group, and REI, and Adam DeHeer on behalf of the Institute of Culture and Ecology, who led the camas bulb planting. We hope to see all you volunteers out in the wetlands again soon. Afterall, volunteering is contagious, and there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year. Come out to Stewart Pond Natural Area on October 14 at 9 a.m. for a Wetland Wander so we can admire all this hard work!
A solitary wasp (~3/4" long). This one, a Great Golden Digger Wasp, feeds on nector. The female digs burrows and provisions chambers with insects such as grasshopper and Katydids. Insects are stung and placed in chambers where a single egg is laid.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Students grades 1-5 contributed the unique drawings on the tiles. There are deer, herons, aquatic insects, upside-down bats, fish and flowers of every color imaginable and even a squirrel driving a four-wheeler!
The Prairie Mountain PTO funded artist-in-residence Kay Irish who helped the kids create the mural. Many of the tiles were fired in the school’s kiln before Kay put them all together over the summer.
Many generations of students will take pride in this mural that illustrates the wetlands around them that they explore and enjoy each year.