In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught

Our own Cape Perpetua Director, Vicki Penwell, shortens this quote to, “We protect what we love,” when she is speaking to the public. She presents this statement to the public in hopes of extending their love and protection outward towards our national forests. If the visitors who come to Siuslaw National Forest learn to love the forest, then they will take the message of protection back with them when they leave. When they love the forest as much as those of us who work in it, then they can join us in protecting it.

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But how do we help spread the message of protection with those who come from near and far? This is one of the underlying tasks of the work the field rangers do. If we want the public to understand why they should care about the places they are visiting, we have to get them to understand why these places are so special. And how do we get the public to care about the places they are visiting? They’ve chosen to visit these places for a reason, so how do we leave a lasting impression that will resonate? That is the question that this week was spent answering.


As a part of our field ranger training, we spent the week meeting people from all across the forest who specializes in different fields. They were each going to speak to us to present the work that they are doing out here on the Siuslaw. And we were meant to listen to each presentation and not only learn the information about the research but also about their presentation styles. A biologist, botanist, historian, and archaeologist, are all going to have their own distinct way of communicating their information, whether it is for ranger training or to the public. Among the people we met were Community Activist Joanne Kittel, Fisheries biologist Paul Burns, Audubon Society Manager Paul Engelmeyer, and Communications Coordinator Tara Dubois. Some of the talks were given out in the field, so we could visit the sites of the project sites, while others were given in the theater of the visitor center at Cape Perpetua. Meeting with each of them gave us a look at the different interpretive platforms and which would be the best for us individually.

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A summary of some of the presentations:

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Out in the field, we visited the Fivemile-Bell Landscape Management Project. Fisheries biologist Paul Burns took us out to visit the 4 stages of restoration sites that they have been working on the last few years. The land was purchased in an effort to 1. restore the stream habitat quality to restore the Coho salmon population, and 2. help the development of successional forest habitats. The project has been in the works since 2012. Paul and his fisheries technician are working hard every day on each of the restoration sites at Five-mile by placing logs in streams to reduce the water velocity, planting willows to help the forest growth, and moving aquatic species to the recently restored areas that have now become more suitable. Above are some images of the sites that are currently being restored.

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Tara Dubois, the communications coordinator for Cape Perpetua, with the Cape Perpetua Collaborative, took us out to the tide pools to continue the lesson we had on the marine reserves. We explored the tide pools, some of us for the first time ever, to learn about the species living right along our coast. She is at the cape every Wednesday communicating with visitors how a number of groups, from local communities to state and federal agencies, are working together to manage and conserve this ecosystem. The collaborative wants “to foster conservation and collaboration within local communities for scientific exchange, management, awareness, and stewardship from the land to the sea in and around Cape Perpetua Marin Reserve.You can pass by the cape one of these weeks in hopes of catching her outside the visitor center.

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Over the next week we will be developing our own programs, so we can start giving them to the public on the weekends. Hopefully during our sessions, we will share a special message with our visitors that they will take with them when they continue on their journey.

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