On the north side of the path, students planted milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants at the site of a pollinator “waystation” installed in 2018 by Lomakatsi in collaboration with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and other partners. Such waystations are located along Monarch butterfly migration paths to provide them with a source of food during their journey, with added benefits for local wildlife. Robert Coffan, Chair of Western Monarch Advocates, spoke with students about pollinator ecology and restoration projects to restore Monarch habitat.
The event stemmed from a long-standing relationship between Armadillo Technical Institute and United Way of Jackson County, who have been supporting local students and providing career coaching. A focus of Saturday’s even was to give the students an opportunity to make a difference stewarding the local ecosystem while they learned about natural resource career paths.
During the workday, Senator Jeff Golden, who represents Ashland and District 3 in the state legislature, stopped by to offer words of encouragement to students. “What we’re doing here is starting to build the workforce that we need for the 2020s, 2030s and 2040s” said Sen. Jeff Golden, “if Oregon is to be a safe, healthy forest and fish state again.”
In addition to the work done on Saturday with the high students, over the past two months Lomakatsi has planted 5,000 native trees and shrubs near Ashland Ponds in partnership with The Freshwater Trust, to help establish a healthy streamside forest. In the fall, Lomakatsi will continue work on the broader Ashland Ponds project with restoration and tribal partners, restoring habitat and making the area more resilient to wildfire while incorporating ecocultural plantings that have cultural and beneficial uses to tribal communities.