(Indian Ford Meadow Preserve | Photo by Tyler Roemer)
While this week is reminding us that winter is still here, spring is just around the corner! We’ve even begun to spot the very earliest of the spring wildflowers in our high desert home. Staff have shared their collective delight in spotting goldfields and phlox, while also enjoying the bright colors of lichen on junipers. Many of us also took advantage of last week’s warm streak with long walks, paddleboard excursions and cross country skiing without so many layers. What signs of spring have you noticed recently and how are you connecting with the outdoors?
Join us for Nature Night with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer
The final Nature Night of the season is coming up next week!
Join us for our March 17 Nature Night from 7-8:30pm as we learn from acclaimed author and scientist Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer. This talk on restoration and reciprocity will trace the evolution of restoration and consider how the integration of indigenous knowledge can expand our understanding of restoration. Reciprocal restoration includes not only healing the land, but our relationship to land. In healing the land, we are healing ourselves. Learn more about traditional ecological knowledge in Dr. Kimmerer’s writing, then register today!
The Deschutes Land Trust is seeking an Executive Director
We are looking for a collaborative, mission-driven Executive Director to lead us in pursuing our vision for strong and healthy natural and human communities — where we work together to conserve and care for the lands that make Central Oregon an incredible place to live, work and grow. Our office is in Bend, but more than 17,500 acres of land are entrusted to us throughout Central Oregon.
Are you interested in joining our team? Do you know someone who would be a great fit? Here are more details. Application deadline is March 31.
Virtual Walks + Hikes Now Available
The Land Trust’s virtual Walks + Hikes have returned! Join us online to learn about the nature of Central Oregon from local experts and volunteer naturalists. Registration will be required for our virtual events and will open one month in advance. Here are some upcoming highlights:
- Get your birding fix with Beginning Birding and Ten Spring Birds of Central Oregon
- Learn what is starting to bloom with Early Spring Wildflowers of Central Oregon
- Find calm with Nature Journaling and Earth Day Yoga
- Discover the Trees of Central Oregon
What to expect on 2021 Walks + Hikes
We’re gearing up for in-person Walks + Hikes at our Preserves! The Land Trust will resume in-person Walks + Hikes when Deschutes County enters a Moderate Risk Level as assessed by the state. Once hikes can officially resume, here’s what you can expect:
- We’ve planned a different, but incredible calendar of free, naturalist-led Walks + Hikes for this year. What you can count on is our same excellent volunteer naturalists creating one of a kind outdoor experiences on a variety of topics at a wide range of our protected lands!
- All outings will have new safety guidelines. Participants will be asked to sanitize their hands, maintain physical distancing, and wear a face covering.
- All participants must pre-register online, and all outings will have limited capacity (6-8 people). Since we will have fewer spots available this year, register quickly and please be patient if you find full hikes. We will do our best to work through our wait list and get you on something!
Learn more about what to expect for this year’s Walks + Hikes program. Then, please check our event page on April 1 for a list of our hikes or an update on when hikes might begin.
Golden Eagles Nesting at Aspen Hollow Preserve
The Deschutes Land Trust is happy to report the golden eagle nest at Aspen Hollow Preserve is active for the 12th consecutive year! Resident golden eagle couple Rocky and Petra are currently incubating their 2021 clutch.
Aspen Hollow Preserve is closed during golden eagle nesting season, allowing the large raptors to nest without human disturbance. You can still see this natural wonder though! Follow along at goldeneaglecam.com, believed to be the only golden eagle camera in the United States. Learn more.
It’s Time to Plant Milkweed!
As spring draws nearer by the day, many people in Central Oregon start to get eager for the resumption of warm weather and springtime habits. For some, gardening tops that list and they jump the season by starting garden seeds indoors. Why not add a few native milkweed seeds to help out our local monarch butterfly population?
Planting more milkweed in Central Oregon can help the iconic Western monarch butterfly survive into the future. Monarch butterflies, like many butterflies, rely on certain host plants as food sources and for egg laying and rearing. Milkweed is the host plant that monarchs use for egg laying and then for providing the food young butterflies need once they emerge as caterpillars.
What can you do to help? Plant and grow ONLY native milkweed — showy and narrowleaf. Get your milkweed seeds and seed growing tips from us and buy your milkweed plants later this spring at a native plant nursery. Learn more.
Resources from our February Nature Night
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our February Nature Night on The Importance of Insects! What a fascinating and engaging presentation! Check out our website for more resources, including:
- A video recording of Dr. Tara Cornelisse’s presentation;
- What you can do to help insects, like keeping your yard messy and turning off your lights;
- More on lightning bugs and Douglas Fir glowworms in Oregon.
In Memoriam: Norma Funai
It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Norma Funai.
A long-time neighbor of Indian Ford Meadow Preserve, Norma joined the Land Trust as one of our earliest supporters in 1997 and then started volunteering in 1999. Norma was a retired teacher and a long-time champion of environmental education who saw a need in those early days for sharing the Land Trust’s mission with the broader community.
In 1999, Norma gathered other volunteers to plan a natural history tour program that would offer tours of Land Trust protected lands to the public. Norma would become one of our first outing leaders and continued to lead tours for the Land Trust until 2014. Read more.
Taking Care of Our Muddy Trails
As Central Oregon’s winter and early spring go from cold and frozen to warm and rainy, muddy trail conditions begin to appear. For the protection of our beautiful lands, please remember: if you leave tracks, turn back. Let’s take a look at why this is important:
Going around muddy spots on the trail widens the trail and erodes the trail. Widening trails kills or harms fragile plants along the trail. It also turns lovely small trails into wide roads. This in turn requires time and money to repair.
Going through muddy spots on the trail seems like a better option, but better doesn’t mean good. Your footprint indents the soil, and many footprints create ruts and large depressions. These also require time and money to repair. If these ruts form on slopes, they become water channels, funneling rainwater and snowmelt down the center of trails and leading to trail erosion.