Botany, Backpacking, & Birthdays – Oh My!

July has been a BUSY month! With seed collection beginning, backpacking trips, birthdays, and National Park visits, I feel overwhelmed with information, news, and experiences.

Nolan and I were finally able to start collecting seed here in the Umpqua (YAY). From the tiny farewell to spring (Clarkia amoena) and bluehead gilia (Gilia capitata) that required hours of crawling on hands and knees to the elongated pea ponds of slender goldenbanner (Thermopsis gracilis), we’ve collected roughly pounds of seed with much more to go!

Botany crew memebers from Tiller and Diamond Lake Ranger Districts

The Diamond Lake botany crew met up with trail and botany crews from a neighboring district to tackle non-native invasive species in a wilderness area of the Forest. Our trip was a 4 day backpacking trip to Fish Lake. While there we treated hundreds of canada thistle along with himalayan blackberry. Between the two botany crews, I think I was in the running for most miles hiked- around 22 miles (give or take). This was my first backpacking trip and overall I very much enjoyed the experience!

Pheromone packet

This month I also turned 25! I spent my birthday visiting Crater Lake National Park – potentially my favorite Oregon destination… I started with a nice sunrise hike up the Watchman Peak Trail. My love for Crater Lake stems greatly from the large of amount of White Bark Pines that I can see there. While on my sunrise hike, I saw a great number of the pines and even noticed a few pheromone packets nailed to the trees. These packets are used as a short-term treatment to protect individual pine trees from mountain pine beetle attack. These beetles naturally produce pheromones that disperse other beetles away from colonized trees. AKA the patch you see in the photo above communicates to the mountain pine beetle that this tree has no vacancy, protecting it from colonization. Happy to see the efforts being made to protect these special trees!