Published July 1, 2022

This week the Lomakatsi youth crew applied the foundations of ecology that they learned last week to lower fire hazard and restore vegetation and habitat in the Ashland Watershed. They started high in the mixed pine and hardwood forest stands by lopping madrone sprouts to reduce highly flammable ladder fuels in areas previously treated by The Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project. Then they spent another day with Lomakatsi’s restoration forestry professionals, helping to evaluate previous ecological thinning and burning treatments by measuring the remaining trees and recording valuable data. The crew had a strong finish to the week in the lower part of the watershed, along Bear Creek, where their invasive plant eradication was the latest effort in our decade-long history of streamside restoration and community engagement at the site.

Chris Chambers, Wildfire Division Chief with Ashland Fire & Rescue, joined us to discuss fire ecology and why the crew’s maintenance work with madrones matters to AFR, the City, and the important assets it stewards, including drinking water. Plant Pathologist Josh Bronson and Forest Entomologist Laura Lowrey with the U.S. Forest Service- Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest also visited the crew to talk about the role of insects and diseases in forest ecology and the science that informs how we can manage forests facing drought and changing climate. Then Lomakatsi’s Restoration Ecologist Rob Strahan and our team of restoration forestry technicians trained the crew on forestry tools of the trade, so they could help collect forest data and practice research and teamwork skills. To close out the week, Jaime Stephens, Science Director with Klamath Bird Observatory, joined the crew at Ashland Pond to lead a fascinating ornithology lesson and discuss birds as important indicators of forest health.

This week was a great opportunity for the crew to hear from several scientists about how they decided which path to specialize in, and what it’s like to be a scientist for a federal agency or nonprofit organization. We look forward to the coming weeks when the crew members will work just as hard with their hands on the land and learn even more about career options in forest science and stewardship.

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