Winter-Spring 2020 Projects
Although ELP students weren’t able to go in the field this term, they applied their research, communication and technological skills to complete important work for their community partners and make a positive difference in challenging times!
CONSERVATION SCIENCE IN ACTION PROJECTS
The Thurston Hills Natural Area is home to a variety of habitats including conifer and mixed forest, oak woodlands, grasslands, and more. Oak habitats are ecologically and culturally important but have dramatically declined since European settlement. In partnership with Willamalane Park and Recreation District and Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council, this team analyzed past oak data, researched ecological restoration methods, designed an oak restoration project and wrote a draft grant proposal to fund their vision. You can learn more about their work by visiting their website.
Riparian Restoration 2020
Whitewater Ranch is a sustainably-managed blueberry farm, diversified with forestry and Christmas trees. Since 2014, ELP teams have been improving conditions for Goose Creek with the overall goals of providing shade for the stream and habitat for pollinators within the context of a working farm. This team researched pollinator conservation methods within the context of a working farm, evaluated and made recommendations on certification programs for “pollinator-friendly” farms, and wrote a pollinator conservation plan that next year’s ELP team will help implement. You can learn more about their work by visiting their website.
Hendricks Forest 2020
Hendricks Park is Eugene’s oldest park, and its 60-acre Douglas-fir forest serves as a gateway to Eugene’s Ridgeline park system. A Forest Plan created almost 20 years ago has guided management of the forest and will soon be updated. While the removal of invasive species has improved plant diversity and habitat conditions in the understory, the overstory has been damaged by storms, drought and insects. These effects are likely related to climate change and will intensify over time. In partnership with City of Eugene Parks and Open Space staff, this team conducted research and made recommendations on how to incorporate climate change into the revised Forest Plan. The team evaluated forest risks and adaptations, wildlife habitat and rare species, revegetation strategies and constraints, and public involvement and outreach. You can learn more about the project by visiting their website.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROJECTS
In partnership with Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and Adams Elementary School, this team helped elementary school children cultivate a lasting, personal connection to nature, based on reciprocity and respect. This team gained experience in the development and implementation of engaging learning experiences that are both scientifically sound and age-appropriate. Activities focused on Coyote Mentoring methods such as journaling, with a focus on native flora, fauna, and natural history. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they taught lessons remotely to kindergarten-5th grade students. They also developed new curriculum for the 5th grade. You can learn more about the project by visiting their website.
Majestic Trees Team 2020
The Pacific Northwest is home to some magnificent old-growth forests. Unfortunately, many local children have never had the opportunity to explore this enchanting ecosystem first-hand. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many students may have experienced a disconnect with their local environment. To stay connected with the natural world, the Majestic Trees Team created and delivered online lessons for local middle school students. In partnership with the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, this team taught about local ecology and the impacts of climate change on these systems, continuing to foster awareness and a connection with nature. You can learn more about the project by visiting their website.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROJECTS
Trails Team 2020.
The Trails Team conducted accessibility-focused research guided by the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusivity. This team gathered trail data that will allow their community partner, Travel Lane County, to update and expand their website’s list of trails, with the overarching goal of improving the experiences of people seeking the right trail for their needs. This team also created new web content by writing 14 professional blogs on topics ranging from outdoor etiquette to tips for solo female hikers. You can learn more about the project by visiting their website.