Monday, October 4, 2010

National Public Lands Day 2010 with WREN

National Public Lands Day 2010 with WREN, BLM and REI was a wonderful success September 25th! Trash was collected by local high school students and community members, loads of bark spread to create and maintain trails, and native seed spread on a restoration site. Our friends at WEEDIN joined us as well to educate folks about invasive plants. Stewart Pond Natural Area was rejuvenated for sure!

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Willow Creek Natural Area

June 2010- Wetland Wander
Photo Credits: Carrie Karl
This month the Wetland Wander explored the Willow Creek Natural Area. Rick Ahrens, WREN volunteer and area naturalist, lead our group through a world of flowers, pollinators and pools. Mules Ear, pictured above, added sunshine to the overcast June day.

A male Lazuli Bunting, a striking bird with a deep blue head, reddish upper chest and white belly was first identified by sound then spotted high atop a tree along the trail. For some in our group it was the first they'd seen!

As we warmed to the beauty of the wet prairie that surrounded us, the butterflies began to warm to activity. This Field Crescent, pictured above, was still slow enough for me to snap this picture. The abundance of flowers, Camas, Nootka Roses, Popcorn Flower and Mules Ear, made it a lovely day to explore this amazing wetland habitat.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

About the Wetlands, May 7, 2010

A beautiful day in the wetlands brought out some dragonflies and damselflies including Common Green Darner, a meadowhawk, and Pacific and Western Forktails. The Yellow-rumped Warblers seemed to be everywhere.

Goslings were trying out the water....

Killdeer searching the shoreline....

Long-billed Dowitchers busy feeding......

Pacific Forktails pairing....

Western Wood-pewee flycatching over Grimes Pond.......

Warbling Vireo.....

Western Forktail female.....

Yellow-rumped Warblers ornamenting the trees........

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Open Spaces

Open Spaces

I’ve never been good at standing in lines
or the confines of a crowded room,
and don’t get me started on malls or box stores.
I value open spaces as I age:
the clean surface of a table top,
the uncluttered corner,
mountains with a view to the horizon,
a lake bordered by granite cliffs and bluffs
rather than one with forest to the water’s edge.
I value larger trees whose shade
keeps seedlings and brush at bay
and whose bark is rough and patterned,
rather than thickets of smaller trunks
crying out for room to breathe.
Let me scan the hillsides and meadows
without a sign of straight lines
indicating human action.
Have you noticed most of nature offers only curves?
I value immediate and open conversation
or the companionship of silence and
am not interested in your opinion if
it’s too lengthy or confined
within a box that has no lid.
On this March day let the sun come and go,
the daffodils sway in the wind,
the bare branches of deciduous trees reflect from vernal pools.
Let hail sting your face with its round hardness
and flowering tree petals drift like snowflakes,
outlasting the hailstones in a carpet on the ground.
Appreciate the silver-gray softness of willow catkins,
present just long enough,
before being replaced by yellow flowers.
Later in the day tree frogs will chorus
from the waterway,
voices gradually fading
and then silent--
the space of silence.
After a time, one will offer tentative song,
then another, and soon the ensemble will fill the air,
uncluttered and focused in a celebration of spring.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

World Wetlands Day February 2

World Wetlands Day is Tuesday, February 2! How will you celebrate the wonders of wetland environments on that day?

For my part, I intend to spend time outside, walking and observing how, even in the midst of damp and cold winter weather, local wetlands provide much to celebrate: protecting shorelines and streambanks from erosion; slowing the flow of water across floodplains, providing places in the landscape for sediment settling; enhancing water quality through the uptake of water-borne minerals and chemical compounds; and providing habitat for aquatic and terrestrial creatures, from the now-chirping chorus frogs to the hunting Northern Harrier (aka Marsh Hawk). We are fortunate to live in a place where the seasons change so distinctly, and these changes are reflected dramatically in our local wetlands, many of which vary from flood to drought conditions, rapid vegetative growth to dormancy, green to brown with elements of spectacular blooms mixed through much of the year. The more time one spends in this landscape, the more sensitive one becomes to the subtle (and not-so-subtle!) changes that occur.

My suggestion for February 2 is to put on your rain coat, a good hat and gloves, and as tall boots as you may possess, and go for a good hike. Take your camera because I am certain there will be something of interest!

The view of our floodplain wetlands along Coyote Creek from our gazebo