Oregon White Oaks – A Naturalist Walk **FILLED**





This mix of Oregon White Oak woodland, meadows and riparian forest is a haven for wildlife and native plants. Join local naturalists Lisa Millbank and Don Boucher on an exploration of this hidden Willamette Valley gem.  We’ll have the chance to see a diversity of wildlife such as Blacktail Deer, Western Gray Squirrels, woodpeckers (including Acorn Woodpeckers and many other common species), White-breasted Nuthatches, Hutton’s Vireo, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier and more! We may also spot signs of Bobcat, Coyote and Gray Fox!

We hope you can join us for this inspiring walk through Owen’s Farm.



Owens Farm History & Nature Walk

Join Greenbelt Land Trust as we go back in time and explore the fascinating history of Owens Farm. We will discuss the Knotts-Owens family, their influence in Benton County, uses of the farm over time, and Greenbelt’s restoration efforts and vision for the landscape. This property is rich with cultural history and accessible by guided tours only. This is a free and family-friendly walk.


For more information or to RSVP, please email Rebecca. Additional details and directions will be provided upon registering.

Beers Made By Walking- Owens Farm Walk

The Beers Made By Walking series returns for a second year of botany and brews!

Join Greenbelt, brewers from Mazama Brewing Co., and botanists for a special walk at Owens Farm– an incredible mix of meadow and oak forest at the peak of wildflower season.  Let’s celebrate and toast the natural areas and beers of the mid-Willamette Valley!

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. Owens Farm 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….

On Saturday, May 13th we will be holding a Beers Made By Walking outing with Sky High Brewing at Lupine Meadows. Click HERE for more details.

**FILLED**Owens Farm History & Habitat Walk

*This outing has been filled* We will discuss the intriguing history of the Knotts-Owens family, their influence in Benton County, uses of the farm over the years, and Greenbelt’s restoration efforts and vision for the landscape. This is a fascinating property, rich with cultural history. To sign up for this fun and family-friendly walk, RSVP to Jessica.

Tortoises & Human History

In 2006, Harriet, one of the few remaining members of the Galapagos tortoise subspecies Geochelone nigra porten, died in Australia.  The history of Harriet is a little vague but some suggest she was collected by Charles Darwin in 1835 during his great voyage on the HMS Beagle and taken back to Great Britain and eventually transported to Australia.  It was thought that Harriet was about 5 years old when she was abducted from one of the barren rocky shores of the Galapagos Islands. So that made Harriet 177 years of age when she passed away from heart failure in 2006.  She was miscast as Harry for 124 of the 177 years before they determined she wasn’t a male.  She lived through extraordinary world times.  Harriet was a young mature tortoise of 35 years when Lee road up to Appomattox Courthouse to effectively end a war that cost over 618,000 American lives.  When Royal Prince Ferdinand was shot down in the streets of Sarajevo in 1914, in an event that eventually precipitated a world conflict and claimed 15 million lives, Harriet was a middle-aged tortoise of 84 years.  She munched on greens and other vegetables and lived on as war raged across the globe a second time from 1939-1945, men walked on the moon in the late 1960s, and the Soviet Empire broke apart in the early 1990s.  She almost lived to celebrate the 200th birthday anniversary of her captor Darwin who died in 1882 when she was 52 years of age.  Harriet spent her last few years at the Australia Zoo where they celebrated her birthdays with a massive tortoise-shaped cake.

Harriet the Tortoise

Tui Malila, a radiated Madagascar tortoise, was apparently 188 when he/she died in 1965. Tui Malila was collected by Captain Cook in the 1770s and given to the royal family of Tonga. Adwaita, a male Aldabra giant tortoise, was a pet of General Robert Clive in India during the 1750s and died in 2006 at the age of 255 (or so).  He was a young tortoise of 32 years when the Treaty of Paris, that ended the American Revolution, was signed and over 80 when Harriet was stowed away on a British sailing ship visiting the Galapagos Islands. The giant tortoises mentioned above are monuments to an astonishing range of human history including Oregon’s early settlement history.  In 1835 when Harriet was taken from her Galapagos rocks, the Willamette Valley was entering into the very early history of Euro-American settlement with retired French Canadian trappers (Metis) and their native-American wives establishing small agricultural communities in the Valley.   


However, human history in Oregon stretches considerably beyond the life span of ancient tortoises. While excavating Fort Rock Cave in 1936, an archaeologist, Luther Cressman, found dozens of sandals that were crafted 9-10,000 years ago. The sandals were made of sagebrush bark fiber and finely crafted to fit individual feet, with flat close-twined soles composed of fine warps and ankle ropes.  Tom Connolly of the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History said that the sandals are “traces of human lives, with worn heel pockets, charred pinpricks on the toe flaps (from feet warming too close to a fire?)….an assemblage of sandals here, those big and worn, small and child-size, those caked in mud.”  The illuminations of these intimate details remind me of the 35,000 year old hand print found in the Chauvet Cave in France with the distinctive crooked middle finger and the child’s footprint dating from 27,000 years ago also found in the Chauvet cave and perhaps imprinted on the floor just prior to a landslide that covered the entrance of the cave for 27 millennia until re-discovered in 1994.  

Sagebrush bark sandals from Fort Rock Cave

Given the Willamette Valley’s 10,000 year history of human occupation it is common to become engaged with parts of that history.  Once while walking along the edge of a marsh with Dr. Dave Brauner (an OSU archaeologist) on a bluff property (at the confluence of the Santiam, Luckiamute and Willamette Rivers) I almost stepped on a small stone projectile point embedded in the bashaw clay soils that compose this wetland. I crouched to peer at the fine fluted edges and imagined an ancient hunter stalking the marsh for waterfowl or shorebirds.  Dave suggested that the point was 1500 years old.   It is also common to encounter living relics of great age in the Willamette Valley.  The Valley of the Giants near Fall City is a legacy of once dominant ancient Douglas-fir forests that covered the Coast Range of western Oregon.  I remember walking through this 40 ac ancient forest and touching 600 year giant fir trees that were young saplings when Henry V’s Welsh and English archers decimated the French nobility with their yew long bows at the battle of Agincourt. 

While mucking about Owens Farm, I stopped to count the rings of a massive Oregon oak tree that had fallen and someone had cut in-half.  I stopped at 250 rings and thought about how this tree lived through the entire industrial age and was a mature oak when Lewis and Clark’s company paddled down the Columbia River. When I walk under the massive spreading branches of 400 year old white oaks still scattered across the Willamette Valley, I am in awe of their ancient age and the events that they witnessed. The Valley is rich with human histories.  Every time you walk along a pathway, you are connecting to the stories of those many hundreds of generations of humans who left their footprints embedded in the soils of the Willamette Valley.

– Michael Pope

Owens Farm