The Notion of Nowhere

Where, exactly, is the middle of nowhere? What is it? “Not in or to any place; not anywhere,” if we’re to trust Google. Also: “a place that is remote, uninteresting, or nondescript.” And that’s the key—distance from ourselves. To say somewhere is “the middle of nowhere” says nothing about its intrinsic properties—”nowhere” doesn’t exist on maps1—but it does speak to its human properties. We dismiss a place as “nowhere” when we don’t see our values or history or influence in it. Land isn’t “of a place” (somewhere) or “not of a place” (nowhere)—only we are. If we understand conservation as an effort to re-value natural Read More

Oceans of Blue Camas

Blue camas (Camassia spp) is a tall elegant lily that blooms during the spring in the Pacific Northwest.  Meriwether Lewis on June 12, 1806 noted that “The quawmash is now in blume and from the colour…as a short distance resembles lakes of fine clear water, so complete is this deseption that on first sight I could have swoarn it was water.” Vast camas meadows were common features of wet prairies in the Willamette Valley bottomlands prior to the arrival of Euro-American settlers.  They were an exceptional, highly nutritious food crop for the Kalapuya people in the Valley who harvested and roasted the bulbs in earthen Read More

MUD 101: Outdoor Ed & Life Lessons

Greenbelt has partnered with Marys River Watershed Council, the Institute for Applied Ecology, and elementary schools in the Corvallis School District to provide 140 3rd-graders with hands-on environmental education- all at the perfect outdoor classroom location at Bald Hill Farm! Read on as Greenbelt’s own Elizabeth Records (Stewardship and Volunteer Specialist) reflects back on one of her favorite moments from last month’s education field days … “I fell in the mud!” The little boy was crying loudly, though he was less dirty than his classmates who had just trooped back from sampling macroinvertebrates in Mulkey Creek. “Just leave him be” said his teacher who was used to this Read More

And 3,000 miles later …

When I first entered Corvallis, the city’s population size sign was one of the first things to greet me besides the beautiful panorama. The sign says 56,535, but as of this week, this number can be increased by a whopping… wait for it…one! During a seven-day adventure from Connecticut to Corvallis, my dog Grover and I encountered an assortment of interesting obstacles and stunning scenery, including pronghorn antelope, the occasional free-ranging cow, a blizzard over a mountain pass, what felt like hurricane-force winds (creating white-knuckled driving and relentless mirror checking to insure the gear strapped to my car was not sprawled across the highway behind Read More

The WHY of conservation

Oftentimes I run into people who do not know what a land trust is – maybe it’s a distant family member or a high school acquaintance that I’ve run into over the holidays. Back in 2009 when I first started at Greenbelt Land Trust I remember fumbling my way through the description, watching eyes glaze over as I explained what a conservation easement was, or how we work with private landowners on voluntary conservation. I quickly realized that this wasn’t the way in for people to connect to our work. As I struggled to frame a definition of the work of conservation, I realized that Read More