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).
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!
I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and a great start to your year.
I have some exciting news to share. Within the next few weeks, our Habitat Management Plan will be completed and published. We have been developing this document for over a year and to have it almost complete is a great feeling.
This plan will guide all our work on the prairie for at least the next five years. It documents the priority areas on our 175 acres, what the next steps are for those areas, and what resources we need to accomplish our goals in each area.
For example, this plan will include a detailed chart that shows which native seeds and how much of each seed we would need in order to re-plant one acre of prairie. With this type of information documented and laid out, we will be able to more effectively and efficiently restore native prairie to our Whidbey property.
We have received input from over 12 experts in related fields on this plan. Many thanks go to the writers, Seth Luginbill (PRI Land Steward), Robert K. Pelant (PRI CEO), Randy Van Dragt (PRI Board Chair and Restoration Ecologist), and Peter Dunwiddie (Prairie Restoration Expert and Consultant).
Thank you so much to all of you for your support of this rare native habitat. Did you know that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has said that the prairie ecosystem is the FASTEST disappearing ecosystem in Washington State? Your funds are directly helping to reverse this.
We will make our plan available electronically to anyone who is interested, so please let me know if you would like to see a copy when they are finished.
You are receiving this update because at some point in the last year or so you have generously donated funds to the Pacific Rim Institute so we can protect and restore native northwest prairie.
I wanted to share with you some very exciting news. Recently, a donor stepped forth to fund necessary improvements and additions to our Native Plant Center. Their $12,000 gift will allow us to make necessary repairs and improvements to our greenhouse. Funds will ALSO allow us to build a much-needed shade house.
If we are to meet our current goal to increase our prairie remnant from 5 acres to 12 acres by the end of 2014, we are going to need a lot of seed and a lot of plants - and more space to grow and keep them. These improvements to our native plant center will increase our capacity to grow-out native plants which are then planted back into the prairie.
Currently, all our native plant seed is collected right off our own prairie, or off nearby prairie that landowners let us collect from. We then store this seed till we are ready to plant and grow it in our greenhouse. When the plants have had a good start, we then transfer them either to our propagation beds or straight back into the prairie. Plants can also be sold to other conservation groups.
Your gifts have allowed us to continue this exciting work - and the growing support helps us inspire other larger donors to give as well. Thank you!
If you live near Whidbey Island, we are going to be having a big event on September 15, 2012. Our 3rd Annual Whidbey Raptor Day will be in partnership with the Whidbey Farm Tour, this year. Please be our guest and learn more about hunters of the air, prairie restoration, and farms of Whidbey Island.
Until Next Time,
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