Bark returns pollinators to Mt. Hood

 

Today I have a happy story to tell you. It’s a story where with just a few hundred dollars, Bark turned a good idea into a victory for Mt. Hood National Forest.

After a disturbance like fire, broadleaf lupines restore nitrogen to the soil, which helps trees thrive. But without a pollinator like the Western bumble bee, lupine flowers won’t seed. Frighteningly, Mt. Hood ecosystems have fallen victim to the trend in North America in which more than half of native bee populations are declining and 1 in 4 are at the risk of extinction.*

Last year Michael Krochta, Bark’s Forest Watch Coordinator, learned that the Forest Service wanted to rebuild pollinator habitat but didn’t have the capacity nor know where to find the necessary plants to collect seeds.

Bark has knowledge and people power – and your $100 donation activates this networkBase Camp Bombus!.

Michael jumped on the opportunity to engage one of Bark’s greatest strengths: our volunteers. He created data sheets, put together plant ID materials and learned the protocol for labeling bags -- and then organized all of the Base Camp 2016 volunteers to collect seeds.

We need just $6,140 more to succeed in our 2017 Summer Campaign – help Bark mobilize hundreds of volunteers at Base Camp and beyond.

After Bark demonstrated the interest and ability to collect the seeds, the Forest Service secured $253,350 to create a new pollinator garden! The seeds collected by Base Camp volunteers, now grown into plant starts, will be planted in the Podunk Seed Orchard in the Clackamas River Ranger District: collaboration success!

YOU are Bark’s pollinators – our many mighty supporters – and your donation today helps us restore bees and other pollinators to the forest.

Many people appreciate Bark for our solution-oriented strategies. In truth, it is slow going and takes care in navigating complex relationships. The bee, lupine and nitrogen-hungry trees evolved together, and I appreciate that Bark and the Forest Service can also evolve a complicated relationship: we will fight to stop destructive projects like logging while seizing opportunities to team up on projects that create a thriving forest.

I see every day how Barkers make magic happen: monthly contributions, campaign gifts and creative volunteer roles like collecting broadleaf lupine seed. Thank you for being part of Bark’s vibrant ecology!

With awe for so many types of pollinators,

 

Jenny Leis
Bark Development Director

P.S. Listen to Forest Service Botanist David Lebo talk about how he appreciates Bark’s collaboration on this pollinator project!

P.P.S. Cool event alert: Bark has teamed up with the Oregon Public Lands Alliance to host a community forum on Wed, July 19th, 6:30-8:30pm at the Keen Garage (505 NW 13th Ave, Portland). Learn about many threats to public lands and tools for public land advocates. RSVP for your free ticket!

*Pollinator stats from Pollinators in Peril.

**Priority pollinator plant species that Bark volunteers collected at Base Camp 2016 included broadleaf lupine, pearly everlasting, Canada goldenrod, common yarrow and Douglas spiraea.

RSVP for Bark's Free Mt. Hood Campaign unveiling and Executive Director Alex P. Brown's going-away party on Thursday, July 13th at Portland Patagonia.

Banner photo taken at the 2013 Polallie Cooper campout.
Donate button photo taken during Base Camp 2016 seed collection at Lemiti Butte.

Love lupines and want a little comic relief? Watch Monty Python's lupine skit!