Actions to help bees, butterflies, and other pollinators
View this email in your browser

Director's Message

I recently cleaned out my honey bee hive and set it up to, hopefully, attract a swarm of honey bees this spring. My previous colony of bees died last fall for unknown reasons. It’s the third time in the past five years that I’ve lost a bee hive to mysterious causes. From all appearances, the bees have seemed healthy. They’ve routinely filled the hive with comb and honey, then at some point in the late fall or winter, they simply abscond – mysteriously disappear without a trace.

Every year new research comes out that presents discouraging news about the fate of pollinating insects, in particular honey bees. It seems our society has developed a very toxic amalgam of agrochemicals, radio waves, habitat loss and other factors that does not bode well for a broad range of insects that provide the essential function of pollinating both domesticated and wild plants.

As a conservation-minded forest owner, I’m compelled to look for strategies to improve pollinator habitat on my land. The Xerces Society says that providing wildflower rich habitat is the most significant action you can take to support pollinators. Oregon grape, vine maple, cascara, Nootka rose, Pacific ninebark, salal, spiraea and ocean spray are all common forest shrubs that provide superior habitat for pollinators. If your forest is lacking in understory diversity, you can plant these species either in the understory or along forest edges. If you have open spaces, you may even want to consider planting “pollinator patches” of native flowers, such as lupine, meadowfoam, clarkia, selfheal, goldenrod and aster. If the cost of acquiring and planting these shrubs and flowers is prohibitive, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program actually has a cost-share option specifically for supporting the enhancement of pollinator habitat on your land. I encourage you to visit the Xerces Society website to learn more about what you can do to improve conditions for pollinating insects. Many of our common forest plants, and indeed our food supply, may depend on this kind of proactive conservation work!

Kirk Hanson

Forestry Director
Northwest Natural Resource Group
(360) 316-9317

Upcoming Events

Tree & Shrub I.D.
April 11, 2018
Redmond, OR

Forestry Current Use Taxation Seminar for King County Property Owners
April 12, 2018
Covington, WA

What's Killing Your Trees?
April 14, 2018
Coos Bay, OR

Small Woodlands Program: Taking Logs to Market Panel with 3 Buyers
April 19, 2018
Central Point, OR

Managing a Family Forest: Now and in the Future
April 21, 2018
McCleary, WA

Thinning Young Stands - A Field Workshop
April 21, 2018
Salem, OR

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning
Mondays starting April 23, 2018
Aberdeen, WA

Measuring Timber and Woody Biomass in San Juan Forests
NNRG Event!
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Lopez Island, WA

SAWW Training Course
May 4-5, 2018
Leavenworth, WA

Invasive Weed Control Field Practicum
May 5, 2018
Bellingham, WA

Precision Tree Felling - SAWW Chainsaw Training Levels 1 & 2
May 5 & 6, 2018
Leavenworth, WA

Silviculture Basics
May 9, 2018
Myrtle Point, OR

GiveBIG 2018
May 9, 2018

Restoration of a Small Private Woodland
May 12, 2018
Shady Cove, OR

Upland Ecology and Management: Making Thinning Decisions Based on Your Goals
May 12, 2018
Prinville, OR

Thinning, Pruning, and Fuels Reduction: Machine Mulching Demonstration
May 12, 2018
Beavercreek, OR

Climate Change: How should we manage our forests in the face of uncertainty?
May 23, 2018
Corvallis, OR

Invasive Weed Control Field Practicum
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Kent, WA

How to Manufacture Biochar from Woody Biomass
NNRG Event!
Saturday, June 30, 2018
San Juan Island, WA

Featured Stewardship

Oregon Native Bee Atlas

Bees need our help. Just five years ago Oregon saw a major bee die off, and pollinator populations continue to decline around the world. “We have more species of bees in the Pacific Northwest than all the states in east of the Mississippi,” says Andony Melathopoulos, a pollinator ecotoxicologist with OSU.  “We really want to protect that endowment.”

The Oregon Bee Project, a partnership bolstered by OSU Extension, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and Oregon Department of Forestry, is hard at work to prevent another die-off. The program engages communities about their local bees, provide diagnostic services for beekeepers to recognize emergent diseases, and provides training to pesticide applicators about best practices to protect bees while spraying – 1,500 applicators were trained last year. “What we’re trying to do,” says Melathopoulos, “is really shore up all the initiatives that are happening already in the state to protect pollinators.”

One of the project’s groundbreaking efforts is the compilation of the first-ever atlas of Oregon’s bee species. The size, diversity, and distribution of Oregon’s bee populations is still not fully understood. Up until now, monitoring at three sampling sites has been used to characterize bee populations across Oregon state. OSU has trained volunteer citizen scientists around the state to collaborate gathering data to complete the Oregon Native Bee Atlas, starting this season. This atlas will be an essential and continued tool to characterize the health, abundance distribution, and diversity of bees in the state. Periodic samplings will reveal population trends over time and empower smarter management and conservation.
One Bee Atlas volunteer is Jeanie Taylor, an avid naturalist, horticulturalist, and owner of 20 acres of forest replete with Oregon White Oak and Douglas-fir in Yamhill County that is FSC-certified through NNRG’s group certificate. Taylor is part of a Bee Atlas team that will be collecting bees every two weeks during the dry season in Yamhill County, to create a local reference collection and add to the statewide atlas. Taylor reports that during their first excursion last Thursday, flowers were still scarce but some bees were collected, allowing the team to practice netting, sampling, and pinning techniques.

As Taylor puts it, “it's important for farmers and gardeners to know how to protect and benefit native pollinators for ecosystem health and pollination services.” There are many little things we can all do to protect struggling pollinator populations:
  • Start learning to identify native Northwest bees.
  • If you live in Oregon, report any anecdotal bee sightings to the bee atlas through the iNaturalist app.
  • Reduce or avoid pesticide applications, especially insecticides. If unavoidable, always spray or inject herbicides when plants are not flowering. Consider alternate weed and pest control methods.
  • Create nesting habitat for bees – you can bundle up hollow stems in a PVC pipe and mount them, or drill holes in a block and line them with straws for easy cleaning. You can also buy bee nest boxes. Be sure to maintain nesting habitat and keep it clean – bees in groups are particularly susceptible to disease, parasites, and predators.
  • Plant native seedlings that pollinators love and need, including plants that bloom at different times so there are flowers from spring to fall. Plant caterpillar host plants appropriate to your site.
Left: Jeanie Taylor’s hedgerow provides habitat and diverse flowers to sustain diverse types of pollinators. Right: Bee nesting boxes that Taylor made herself provide low-cost and effective habitat, especially when properly maintained to prevent disease.

Studying Climate Resilience

We're excited to be working on a restoration project along Stossel Creek with the City of Seattle to study how to manage forests for climate resilience!

Skokomish Foresty Program

NNRG is honored to partner with the Skokomish Tribe to help steward their forestlands - learn more about the program on page 9!

Inventory Workshop

Join us Saturday April 28th on Lopez Island for a workshop jam-packed with tools and skills to calculate volume and value of timber and woody biomass!

GiveBIG to NNRG!

GiveBIG 2018 is on May 9th! Check out the other great charities and consider donating to support our work for Northwest forests!

FSC-Certified Northwest Forests

Check out this new map of FSC®-certified forests in the Pacific Northwest!  More than 144,000 acres certified through NNRG’s group certificate appear in dark blue.

How do we value forests?

An interesting piece on how estimating the value of carbon sequestered by forests undervalues other ecosystem services they provide. Many functions of forests are essential to our world.

Learn more about insects and pollinators with these resources! 


Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Northwest Natural Resource Group
2701 1st Avenue, Suite 240
Seattle, WA 98121

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences