Camas Journal 2023: Baby Camas, Mowing, Cultural Fire

This year I tried to get out there into the field when the camas is beginning to erupt from the ground. I am not sure I have seen the baby camas when it just erupts before, only when it is already in full leaf. It helps that I transplanted some camas, and seeded camas some years ago at my home so I can see on a daily basis the progress of camas in my area of the Willamette Valley. When I saw it erupt in my well-managed and weeded garden, I then knew I needed to get out into the … Continue reading Camas Journal 2023: Baby Camas, Mowing, Cultural Fire

Reconstructing the Willamette Valley Camas Swales

In recent work I have begun to document the various wetlands of the Willamette Valley from before settler changes took effect. Our best, and most complete set of records of this early period are the General Land Office (GLO) Maps housed now online at the Bureau of Land Management’s Land Status and Cadastral Survey Records website. The earliest surveys were in 1851 up near the Columbia and most begin in 1855 or 1856 in most areas of Oregon. The maps are a series of quadrangle maps that are coded east or west depending on where the land lies in reference … Continue reading Reconstructing the Willamette Valley Camas Swales

Teasel Adventure

The European Teasel was brought to Oregon in the 19th century. It is a hugely invasive plant that has a habit of taking over large areas of the prairie. The reason it was brought here was to provide teasels for the carding of wool. The dried teasels would be mounted in a large machines and raw wool would be ran over them to straighten out the fibers and soften up the wool. the wool would later be turned into wool blankets, like those originally produced at the Mission Mill in Salem, and Pendleton Woolen mills.  There may be other uses … Continue reading Teasel Adventure

Camas and Micro-seasonality at Minto-Brown Park

We all are aware of the annual seasons, winter, spring, summer, and fall, but in the growing cycle of the plants of the Willamette Valley there are micro-seasons when specific plants rise and expend their energies. (there is probably a botanical term for micro-seasons but not sure what that is.) This is the case at Minto-Brown park, during the first spring micro-season, with few flowers and plants just beginning to grow. For Camas, in about March-April, they sprout their long leaves and it takes some weeks for the central flower to begin to rise.   There are a few early … Continue reading Camas and Micro-seasonality at Minto-Brown Park

Seasonal Wetlands and Minto-Brown Island Park

It seems important to tribes that if they are truly to become restored, and decolonized, they need to be culturally restored by helping to decolonize their lands and traditional resources at the same time. Tribes did not independently become culture but there are important interactions with their land and its resources that helped develop their cultures. Therefore, tribal restoration and environmental restoration are linked elements in decolonization. But there is also many other reasons for restoring traditional landscapes, for the safety and security of the many peoples who now live here, for the health of the land and the planet, … Continue reading Seasonal Wetlands and Minto-Brown Island Park