After lengthy negotiations and a large fundraising campaign, The Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship purchased 175 acres on Central Whidbey Island from the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies. This campus, a gateway to the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, is composed of forest, rare prairie, abandoned agricultural fields and educational facilities. The Pacific Rim Institute has been managing the property since 2009 with the intention of purchasing it from Au Sable. With the help of generous contributions of many individual donors, a no-interest loan and a discount on the selling price from the Au Sable Institute, the purchase was completed on December 15, 2014. The Au Sable Institute and the Pacific Rim Institute, with their closely aligned missions, plan to continue a strong partnership. In particular, six of Au Sable’s college courses will continue to be offered at the Pacific Rim Institute. In this program, college students travel to Whidbey from across the US and Canada to take intense, field-based ecology courses for five weeks. For more information about these courses, you can visit www.ausable.org.Successfully purchasing this amazing campus was critical to the future of the prairie on the property. It ensures that PRI can continue to restore and expand the prairie on site, without threat of losing the lease. Plans are now underway to secure a conservation easement for the property that would put another layer of protection on the open space and the prairie.
Thank you again to all those that have donated this year and in previous years. Your funds are continuing to be put to work to save this beautiful place, this rare prairie and to use it as a tool to educate students of all ages.From all of us at the Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
This summer began like most summers here at the Pacific Rim Institute with clouds in the sky and anticipation for the arrival of a new group of interns. Each year, we hold a competitive application process for young adults to come and spend the summer on Whidbey Island learning the ins and outs of restoring native prairie habitat. Despite this being an unpaid internship, we receive many applicants each year that are eager to gain valuable field skills. This year, we had a top-notch team join us. Catherine Welke joined us for the month of May to assist with a specific research study on prairie restoration. Catherine recently graduated with a B.S. in Biology from The Kings University College in Edmonton, AB, Canada. She spent every day going out into the field with representatives from the University of Washington to collect valuable data from a collection of research plots. This data will add to out understanding of what methods (mowing, fire, herbicide, etc) are most effective for restoring native prairie to abandoned agriculture land. Catherine says, "This internship will allow me to gain field research experience that will help me get into a school for graduate studies". Mark Tyson is currently working on an Environmental Studies degree at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. Rocio Jacobo just finished a B.S. in Biology from Azusa Pacific University in California. Mark and Rocio spent almost three months here on the prairie gaining experience in every aspect of the restoration process, including: managing native plants in our greenhouse, collecting and cleaning rare native seed, managing volunteers, controlling non-natives with mowing, herbicide and weeding, collecting research data, and developing an implantation plan for a new native berry patch. Mark says, "I chose to come here so I could work outside and help to restore the native prairie". Rocio says, "I wanted to intern at PRI to explore restoration and habitat management, as well as develop invaluable research experience and skills". Between the three interns, over 1,000 hours were invested into the prairie. The educational value of our internships is key to the success of our prairie restoration endeavors. Your investments are not only saving northwest prairie, they are preparing new generations to save native habitats all around the world. Thank you for your gifts! If you every have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. (360) 678-5586 Pacific Rim Institute Office
Hello Everyone,I am excited to share with you news about our new partnership. A local gentleman will be leasing about five acres on our property in order to plant heirloom grains using his horses. Not only does having sustainable agriculture on site meld with our mission (to equip people and communities to live sustainably and care for Creation), it will also benefit our prairie restoration efforts.This is how: Out of the 100 acres that we plan to eventually restore to prairie, the majority of it is still abandoned agriculture land. This means that it was once worked for agricultural purposes and what remains are non-native and invasive plants that have taken over.When a farmer starts working a piece of land, they have to get rid of these invasive species in order to protect their plots. Since we do not plan to start planting native prairie in some of these spots for many years (restoration is a long process that takes lots of time and money), the big benefit of having a sustainable farmer on the land is that when he leaves, the land will already be void of all the invasives, thus cutting out a step for us that can take anywhere from 2-5 years.
We continue to seek our partnerships that embody our mission and values and further our work in a sustainable way. Thank you for all your financial support, it has allowed us to make these powerful partnership and continue the critical work of saving one of the endangered ecosystems of the Northwest. If you find yourself near Whidbey Island over the next two months, please come and visit us! The prairie flowers are beginning to bloom. Our 5th Annual Prairie Open House will be held from May 8-10, 2014. There will be daily FREE naturalist tours at 10am, 4pm and 7pm. On Friday (May 9th) we will have native storytelling with Lou Labombard at 8:00pm. On Saturday (which is also the day of Coupeville's Penn Cove Water Festival with Native American Canoe Races), we will have a special tour at 2:15p with guests from the Sammish nation who will share why the prairie was so critical to the Native Americans for thousands of years.Any other time that you come, you can walk the trails or request a tour for your group. We now have tours of the prairie with our CEO on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 5:30pm.If you live closer to the Olympia area, there is another opportunity to see prairie work with several of our South Sound partners. Their Prairie Days celebration is also on May 10th and you can find more information here http://prairieappreciationday.org/The prairie in bloom is a beautiful site to see.Thank you again for all your support!
Seth Luginbill, our Land Steward, completed the sowing of native Roemer's fescue seed across eight acres adjacent to our 5 acre prairie remnant last week! For four years we have prepared this land for this moment by clearing tons of debris (with amazing volunteers!) mowing, burning, and weed control. Most of this work has been funded by the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service and individual donors (LIKE YOU). Seth has done a wonderful job in overseeing this entire process.
Our work is far from finished, but it is a wonderful thing to celebrate these landmarks. If restoration continues to go well on this new plot, our total restored prairie will have been tripled!
We continue to raise funds and apply for grants to cover the costs of managing weeds on this new prairie plot and then planting native flowers next year. If enough funds come in, the colors that will emerge in 2015 will be incredible!
If you are near Northwest Washington, consider joining us in May for our Prairie Open House to get a first-hand look at all the progress being made.
Hello Everyone,I have some great news to share regarding our Golden paintbrush recovery (a vital piece to our overall prairie restoration). After this past summer's successful count of flowering plants, we only have 2 more years to go till our population is considered fully recovered. Not only that, but our population is currently the largest recovery population in Washington! We have just recently been awarded an additional year of funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue to improve and increase our population, as well as several populations around the Puget Sound. We are grateful that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife trusts us with government funds, and we hope you will continue to trust us with your support as well. There is still much to be done!Warm Regards,
Hollyp.s. If you live in Western Washington, we are holding our 4th Annual Whidbey Raptor Day event. September 21, from 1pm - 3pm. Get up close an personal with these beautiful hunters of the air. There are many, many other wonderful events happening on Whidbey Island that same weekend, so a trip over would be well worth it! (Kit Festival, Tour de Whidbey race, Whidbey Island Farm Tour, and more).
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