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 NNRG Newsletter | April 2020 
 

 SUSTENANCE WHILE
DISTANCING

LOVING FORESTS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

As I’ve walked through the forests near my home on Vashon Island over the past couple of weeks, the Douglas-fir, western redcedar, and alder have been my only reliable companions besides my immediate family. In a world contorted by the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been grateful for living beings besides my wife and son to bring inside my bubble of isolation. 

One of the great gifts of the forest is the perspective they offer. While the news rolls in from Milan to Manhattan, the bright unfurling leaves of skunk cabbage and Indian plum are signs of the continuing cycles of Nature, heedless of the viral waves crashing on our personal shores. With lifetimes potentially spanning centuries, forests remind us of a timeless fabric that is much bigger than any of us—one that needs only our care as its stewards for the moment, until we hand it off to the next generation. 

During these uncertain times, NNRG continues to help forest owners and managers do just that, working from home offices, truck cabs, and log landings while staying at a safe distance from each other and our clients and partners. Although we have had to put off scheduling new workshops and other group gatherings for the time being, we look forward to the time when this disruption has passed and we can once again mingle in the forest to share its gifts together. 

In the meantime, here's something we can share from a distance: tracking the progress of spring across our region. When you first notice bud-break among the Douglas-fir in your area, please click here to let us know and be included in our citizen science pursuit of the emergence of spring.

 
Seth Zuckerman
Executive Director
seth@nnrg.org

 

DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE


One thing I’m very grateful for during this time of social distancing is that I have 200 acres of family forestland to find sanctuary in when my clan needs to get out of the house. We have a cabin on our “homestead” property near Oakville, WA that provides a welcome refuge and basecamp for endless adventures in the woods. With spring in full swing, our latest activities have involved foraging for wild edibles that are rapidly emerging throughout the forest. 

One of my greatest accomplishments as a father is that I’ve raised two kids who can recognize most of the common edible plants on our land. Not that these young humans necessarily relish eating everything that’s edible (and they readily point out which plants are palatable versus just edible) but at least they know what’s what. I frequently remind them of a quote from an old friend, Michael Pilarski, who is a professional wildcrafter: once you know everything that’s edible in the woods, it’s really hard to starve to death. My kids may challenge that assumption (as I’m sure they would attest that attempting to survive off of thimbleberry shoots, miner’s lettuce, and stinging nettle is probably a fate worse than a quick death) but Michael’s point is a good one. 

During a foraging class I hosted many years ago, with Michael’s assistance, we identified more than 80 native plants in the forest that have either edible or medicinal qualities. I’m constantly fascinated that both a grocery store and a pharmacy can be found amidst Nature’s abundance. 

So if your family is looking for a safe activity to get you out of the house and away from crowds, you might pick up a copy of Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast or Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, get out in your woods, and try your hand at identifying this natural cornucopia. 


Kirk Hanson
Director of Forestry
(360) 316-9317
kirk@nnrg.org

UPDATES FROM NNRG

Eat the Woods (At a Distance From One Another)

Forests provide a range of valuable services, but none are so fun to make use of as forest foods! 

We’ve put together a long list of recipes that draw from the bounty found in Pacific Northwest forests—both wild and urban lands. 

Where it is safe and legal to forage your own ingredients from a forest or a backyard at a distance from others, we recommend doing so for the freshest taste. If you can't get into the woods safely at this time, look for the asterisk symbols next to the plant names for species that are often found in backyards. Or, put a pin in these recipes for later this year when it’ll be a easier to do some foraging either in a forest near you or at your local farmer’s market.


See all of the recipes on NNRG's website!

Adaptive Restoration for Pacific Northwest Forests

Growing the forests of the future takes careful planning. 

NNRG is working with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Seattle City Light, and Seattle Public Utilities to transform a 154-acre property near Duvall, Washington into a forest resilient to a changing climate. 

This restoration project offers valuable insights into climate projections, seed sourcing, assisted migration, and long-term monitoring. We've pulled together details of the project design and a list of lessons learned to assist others interested in climate adaptive reforestation.

Read more about this case study in adaptive restoration on NNRG's blog.

Call for Wildlife Cam Photos & Videos!

Do you have any great wildlife cam shots you've been holding on to?

We'd love to see them! NNRG is compiling critter cam photos and videos from forest owners and managers around Oregon and Washington. We plan to share the album on NNRG's social media pages and blog, and we'd love to include some of yours. Because
browsing cute, strange, and unexpected animal photos might be just the distraction some of us need right now.

So, if you're searching for something to do while self-isolating, how about digging through your critter cam photo files? Send the ones you love to alex@nnrg.org. We'll only use them with your permission and, of course, always provide attribution credit.

Don't have any of your own critter cam photos to peruse? Check out this collection of funny and occasionally strange shots from a Field and Stream wildlife cam photo contest. 

Photo by Hailey Lehrer.

NEWS

How a College Final Became a Lesson in Survival. A moving piece by a Stanford professor whose last assignment for his winter quarter psychology students turned into an exercise in finding connection with others and with the natural worldat a time when such connection is difficult to come by.
Will Covid-19 Have a Lasting Impact on the Environment? "Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen across continents as countries try to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Is this just a fleeting change, or could it lead to longer-lasting falls in emissions?" From the BBC. 

RESOURCES FOR STAYING ENTERTAINED AT HOME

Social distancing may be leaving some of us feeling a little blue and bored right now, especially if we're used to getting a daily or weekly nature fix. 

Live video streams of nature may be your next-best option for getting outside. We've listed a few of them below, but there are many more to be found online, particularly at Explore.org.

Keep a webcam streaming on a second monitor if you're working from home—you never know what you might see!

 
Farallon Islands Live Webcam
Craggy seashores, gorgeous sunsets, and seabirds abound. And you can 'get in line' for a turn to control the camera from your own home!
Channel Islands Live Ocean Webcam 
Try not to fall into a trance watching kelp fronds slow dance while fish drift past the screen. 
Great Horned Owls at the Rogers' Place 
This camera is focused in on a great horned owl nest atop a beautiful pine. At the time of this writing there were two sitting in the nest.
Redwood Forest River
A peaceful live video feed from a river in California's Redwoods. The camera pans around every now and then so you experience a change of scenery.
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Header image by Matt Freeman-Gleason
Copyright © 2020 Northwest Natural Resource Group, All rights reserved.


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