**This outing has been filled** Take a walk with Greenbelt Land Trust and OSU lichen researchers and experts Elisa and Joe DiMeglio at Lupine Meadows, where we will investigate and learn about the fascinating world of lichen. We will take an easy stroll through this sensitive property that is only open through select tours like this, exploring lichens, their habitats, and ecology. Learn a few names and enjoy the moist winter air which makes the Pacific Northwest such a great place for lichens to grow!
The Beers Made By Walking series returns for a second year of botany and brews!
Join Greenbelt, brewers from Sky High Brewery, and botanists for a special walk at Lupine Meadows– an incredible upland prairie site we’ll explore at the peak of wildflower season. Let’s celebrate and toast the natural areas and beers of the mid-Willamette Valley! This event is part of the 8th Annual Natural Areas Celebration Week.
Beers Made By Walking
This program invites local brewers to go on nature hikes and imagine beer inspired by edible and medicinal plants found outdoors. We discuss the brewing process, learn about the edible and medicinal plants we see along the way, and gain a greater appreciation for the land that inspires and flavors local brews. Since 2011 over 1,000 breweries in five states have participated with local environmental organization to produce hundreds of different beers, each inspired by the land around the participating breweries. Natural elements used in beers and meads have included: lemon balm, elder flower, yarrow, mustard seed, honey, and fennel.
This walk is free and family-friendly. Lupine Meadows is accessed through GLT-guided tours only, so sign up today to explore this unique conservation area! For more information and to sign-up (spaces are limited), email Jessica.
The Walking Continues….
I first encountered the term “plant blindness” when I was teaching Intro Botany for biology majors (more…)
**This Walk Has Been Filled** Take a walk with us and naturalists Don Boucher and Lisa Millbank at Lupine Meadows, where we will investigate and learn about the fascinating world of lichens, as well as other naturalist aspects of the property. We will take an easy stroll through this sensitive property this is only open through select tours like this, exploring lichens, their habitats, and ecology. Learn a few names and enjoy the moist winter air which makes the Pacific Northwest such a great place for lichens to grow.
To sign up and obtain details for this walk, email Jessica McDonald.
Just before noon one day in late October, Claire, Jessica and I jumped into my 22 year-old Subaru and drove to Lupine Meadows, a 58 acre property bordering West Hills road at the south end of Bald Hill Farm. Jeff Baker, the Greenbelt Stewardship Manager, had just called to say “it” was to begin. The “it” was a prescribed fire that Greenbelt was coordinating on part of Lupine Meadows to enhance the native upland prairie habitat. The Greenbelt Land Trust purchased the Lupine Meadows property in 2005 to protect the existing populations of endangered Fender’s blue butterfly and its host plant, Kincaid’s lupine.
Willamette Valley prairies and fires are like floods and floodplains…there are long histories of connections, expectations and dependencies. The Kalapuya people in the Willamette Valley ignited local fires to maintain favorite foods such as tarweed, camas, biscuitroot, and yampah. They also burned some prairies in late spring and fall to create lush meadows of succulent grasses with wonderful names such as blue wildrye, Roemer’s fescue, and Lemmon’s needle grass for elk and deer. In 1826 the great Scottish botanist/explorer David Douglas traveled for 15 days through the Willamette Valley on his way to the Umpqua River and complained that there was “not a single blade of grass except on the margins of rivulets to be seen” because all was burned. He worried that their horses had little fodder and game animals had abandoned the Valley.
Jessica, Claire and I park along the edge of the small hill that forms the northern end of Lupine Meadows and head toward the white wildland fire trucks that ring the lower end of the hill. Jeff with his yellow hard-hat, fire-proof trousers and yellow thick long-sleeved shirt is stalking the parameter. A half-dozen wildfire specialists from the Grand Ronde Tribe and USFWS are scattered across the burn site. They mowed a 10 foot strip around the fire zone. Several men in the interior of the fire line use back-pack drip-torches to ignite the dried grass and flower stalks. Another man follows a truck holding a hose snaking from a large water tank on the back of the truck and waters the perimeter to keep the fire from leaping into an adjacent area. We are the tourist photographers, trying to stay out of way but fascinated with the event and determined to record all we can. The fire crew is working uphill and as they get closer to the top more of the prairie catches fire…..flames create large columns of white smoke that rise high above the hill. I take a picture of Jessica as she snaps a shot of Jeff. Claire is crouched down below the grass stalks trying to get ground level photographs of burning grass. I look across the road worried that the smoke might disturb the neighbors or obscure the road. A yellow school bus drives by, the school children staring out the windows at the smoke with open mouths.
We, like our ancestors, have a love-hate relationship with fire. Stephen J. Pyne, my favorite fire historian, notes that the “Earth is a uniquely fire planet, and Homo sapiens a uniquely fire creature” who have “literally set about slowly cooking the earth.” He believes that “many aboriginal tribes consider a land unburned a land uncared-for.” However, industrial societies fear fire in part because we build our homes and schools in areas that evolved with fire and created vast forest plantations that exclude fire. My father often stalked the rooms of our house late at night sniffing the air and worrying about smoke….remembering a friend who died in a dormitory fire when he was a cadet at Marion Military Institute. Looking over our small fire on Lupine Meadows, I reflect on the way Pyne describes fire as a “creation of life” with a shared co-evolution. For the past 1.5 million years fire has been intertwined with humans and their histories. So maybe with our little Lupine fire we are just doing what comes natural to our DNA; clearing the land of last spring and summer’s remnants and starting anew with a desire to see new life and growth in the spring.