What do you do when your funds are low or you don’t have the staff or facilities necessary to accomplish your goal, but you desire to make a difference in the world? You partner up! This week was all about seeing partnerships in action. The Hebo District staff got together and headed to the Northwest Oregon Restoration Partnership (NORP) Native Plant Nursery for a Planting Party. At the NORP facility staff and volunteers cultivate and grow native plants for riparian restoration work across Northwest Oregon. We spent the morning potting local species of tree seedlings to get them ready for the restoration work ahead. Together we potted about 500 trees that day. The Hebo District was able to volunteer for a few hours, and the NORP staff were very appreciative as they rely heavily on volunteers to accomplish their potting goal of 75,000 plants annually. The best part about the party was meeting people from different organizations and other Forest Service and BLM offices. Many of them have collaborated with NORP on restoration projects, and it only makes sense to lend a hand at the nursery where the plants come from.
Later that week, the fun in partnership continued as the recreation staff and I were getting ready to help with a Family Fishing Day at Hebo Lake, which was coordinated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). The ODFW offers an opportunity to the public to fish by providing families with fishing poles if they don’t own one and even some lessons for first time fishers. In partnership with the ODWF, the Siuslaw National Forest provides a free entrance to the Hebo Lake Campground so that families can enjoy a day of fun fishing and, with some luck, a nice fish dinner at the end of the day. Karen Roberts, a recreation staff member, and I thought it would be a nice opportunity to set up a table at the event to provide some information about other potential wildlife they could experience around the lake, including some common bird species. With the permission of the coordinator we got a chance to talk to some folks about Environment for the Americas and World Migratory Bird Day events. This is just one example of how the Forest Service and ODFW partner up to accomplish the goal of providing people with the opportunity to explore their Oregon natural sites and resources. As I move forward with the internship I hope to also collaborate with people and organizations that have a shared interest in providing the public a chance to enjoy and learn about their environment.