Oak Savanna Woodlands Restoration Project 2018-present
On the west hillside was a dying stand of 200-year-old oak trees. The Friends initiated a partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Sutherlin FFA Chapter. The project began in 2018, when the students collected acorns and began growing trees at the school’s greenhouse. In 2020, the Friends and the students planted 25 acres with 400 seedlings. In September 2021, the students began Phase 2 by collecting acorns and growing trees. The remaining 25 acres will be planted in December 2023. This restoration project is funded by the USFWS Partners for Fish & Wildlife, The Roundhouse Foundation, and Cascade Community Credit Union
For this project, the Friends spent four years clearing the hillside brush, revealing young oak and madrone trees, ferns, and wildflowers.
Thank you to Big Wrench Media and The Ford Family Foundation for the production of this video.
The students shared their thoughts on the benefits of this hands-on education in the February 2021 issue of Ruralite:
The Friends are assisting the USFWS on a project to protect the rough popcornflower (Plagiobothrys hirtus), a federally-endangered plant species found exclusively in the northern region of Douglas County. As part of the recovery plan to downgrade the plant’s status from endangered to threatened, the east side of the pond received seeding in 2021. The Friends are assisting in removing non-native plants. Another small population can be found on the south side of Ford’s Pond, located away from the pond loop path. The annual herb blooms in May and June.
In May 2023, the Friends planted showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) in support of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species. Monarch caterpillars feed almost exclusively on milkweed, while adult butterflies consume nectar from the flowers to fuel their fall migration. Over 200 plants were donated by the Elkton Community Education Center’s Native Plant Nursery thanks to funding from the U.S. Forest Service’s “Wings Across Americas” program for Western Monarch Conservation in Oregon. The plants will spread their seeds via wind disbursement.
Caring for the Park
Our volunteers mow the paths, clear brush, pick up litter, and weed the landscaping. Your donations help with safety gear, tools, equipment rentals, fuel, and providing pet waste bags-3,000 bags per year!