Save the Northwest Prairie!

 
$2,625
$22,375
Raised
Remaining
Aug 21, 2014

Interns help prairie and gain valuable skills

Rocio, Catherine, Mark
Rocio, Catherine, Mark

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

Apr 21, 2014

New Sustainble Farming Partnership Helps Prairie

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!


Links:

Dec 19, 2013

8 Acres on way to restored prairie

Seth spreading native grass seed by hand
Seth spreading native grass seed by hand

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.   

Sep 9, 2013

2 years to go for Golden paintbrush recovery

Golden paintbrush starting to bloom
Golden paintbrush starting to bloom

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,

Holly

p.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).

Summer interns & staff counting Golden paintbrush
Summer interns & staff counting Golden paintbrush

Links:

May 10, 2013

The prairie is blooming!

Golden paintbrush starting to bloom
Golden paintbrush starting to bloom

Hello Everyone,

It has been a very busy spring and we have been met with many challenges and many blessings.

Last month, we found out that three of our grants with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have been approved.  All these grants relate to conserving and studying the prairie.  Grants cannot cover all our costs and needs for saving the prairie, but the are certainly an important piece.  Support from individuals allows us to continue the work between grant projects, apply for new grants, and sustain our work year round.

In other exciting news, Pacific Rim Institute is months away from finally purchasing our property from the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies.  We have been leasing and managing the property for four years now and Au Sable has been very generous in giving us time to come up with funds needed to purchase the property. 

Several donors have already stepped forward to pay for the actual transaction costs for the land (which Au Sable is giving us an extremely generous price for - since they want to see the land protected as much as we do).  We still have approximately $300,000 to raise within the next year.  Any support that you can provide will be a great help!

Next week, we are hosting a Prairie Open House.  Last year we had over 100 people come and take tours of our native prairie. This year, I hope to see 150 people come through.  Naturalists will take visitors off the trail and into our special research and restoration areas that are typically off limits to the public.  Once a year, we provide this opportunity so people can get up close and personal with the work being done.

If you live on or near Whidbey Island, we hope you will join us for a tour! You can find more information on our website.

Thank you again for supporting our efforts to save prairie in the Pacific Northwest!


Links:

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Project Leader

Holly Kress

Coupeville, WA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Save the Northwest Prairie!