Tuesday, September 30, 2008

National Public Lands Day 2008 -from bird blinds to burritos

An old Native American proverb says "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." Perhaps this past Saturday, on National Public Lands Day, people around the country repaid a little of the interest on that loan. Here in Eugene, nearly 80 community members rolled up their sleeves to help clean-up and enhance the Stewart Pond Natural Area in the West Eugene Wetlands.

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 dug...

and pounded...

and scraped...

and posed...

and yanked


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!

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