Hike Recap: Great Gray Owls in Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument with Harry Fuller

As we travel through a quiet forest, it is hard to know how many creatures are watching us, lurking just out of view, motionless and undetectable. On October 12 and 13, the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument examined one of those creatures that, though rarely seen, has captured the interest and admiration of so many. That creature was the great gray owl, which breeds in the Oregon portion of the Monument. Harry Fuller, author of three natural science books including Great Gray Owls of California, Oregon, and Washington, helped us to glimpse into the world of this charismatic predator during our final Hike & Learn of the 2018 season.

On Friday October 12, more than 70 birders, bird-lovers, and eager learners gathered in the Ashland Outdoor Store to learn more about great gray owls in the Monument. Harry informed us that many birds that call Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument home are living on the “edge:” the edge of two habitats, the edge of their range, or the edge of extinction. For great gray owls in particular, all three of these may be true. They prefer to inhabit areas where dense forest meets open grassland. The population in Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is the southernmost population of great gray owls in the world. And, if suitable habitat continues to disappear, these birds just may be pushed over the edge.

The following morning, Harry led us on a birding expedition with stops on the way to Little Hyatt Reservoir and along Soda Mountain Road. Despite the fact that the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument harbors the largest population of great gray owls in the continental United States (there are more than 300 individuals in Jackson and Klamath county), we were unable to spot one during our outing. However, we did see plenty of other birds, including Lewis’s woodpeckers, western bluebirds, an American kestrel, a dipper, and a group of busily foraging Clark’s nutcrackers.

To read more about our Saturday trip, visit Harry Fuller’s blog: https://atowhee.blog/2018/10/14/nutcracker-sweet-2/.

Story and Photos by Heather Wilson, the 2018 Hike and Learn Coordinator

Welcome to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument: Ranger Recap

By Anna Kennedy
Monument Interpretive Ranger Intern, Summer 2018

It was an honor and a joy to spend this past summer as an Interpretive Ranger at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Even after spending the previous year exploring the trails as a hiker and a naturalist, there was so much that I had yet to learn about what makes the monument so special.

Having a background in conservation biology and a solid understanding of ecology, I was not surprised when my love and appreciation for the incredible biological diversity grew each moment I spent roving the trails. I was not shocked by my awe at the incredible interdependence of organisms, nor at the shear number of species that one could count hiking through various habitats.

What did come as a surprise to me was the diversity of people that I met on a daily basis, visiting from a wide variety of places and enjoying the monument for a wide variety of reasons. Whether I was staffing the information center next door to the Green Springs Inn, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, or leading an interpretive program, each and every visitor I met had a unique story to share.

Engaging in conversation with visitors and learning why and how they were enjoying or utilizing their public lands was one of the most rewarding aspects of my summer experience. During evening interpretive programs at Hyatt Lake Campground I had the opportunity to get to know many folks that were camping out, some just escaping the smoke at lower elevations.

While hiking the trails between Hobart Bluff, the Green Springs Loop, and Little Hyatt Reservoir, I met a multitude of PCT hikers, some that traveled internationally to begin their through-hike from the Mexico-California border.

Working with kids during my Jr. Ranger programs was oh-so rewarding as we learned about the diversity of birds that call the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument home. I got to chat with some folks who decided to stop off at the Green Springs Inn for a slice of pie--some of them had no idea there even was a National Monument in Southern Oregon.

With each and every conversation I got to experience a diverse stories, perspectives, and ideas. Despite the smoke, the Interpretive Ranger team made contact with more than1,200 visitors throughout the summer!

As summer comes to an end and I once again enjoy the monument as a mere hiker and naturalist, I look back with great gratitude for being able to get a taste of what it’s like to be a Ranger. I hold great appreciation for the Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument for the opportunity to experience the monument in a different light, to develop my skills as an interpreter, and to meet the wide range of visitors enjoying and supporting their public lands.

Geology of Grizzly Peak - Hike Recap

Hike with Jad D’Allura, September 7-8, 2018

 Geologist Jad D’Allura, SOU professor emeritus (with red hat, right center), shows Hike and Learn group the summit of Grizzly Peak. Heather Wilson photo

Geologist Jad D’Allura, SOU professor emeritus (with red hat, right center), shows Hike and Learn group the summit of Grizzly Peak. Heather Wilson photo

The earth beneath our feet is full of stories just waiting to be told. On Saturday, September 8, a group of eager learners gathered to learn the geologic story of Grizzly Peak. Our guide was Southern Oregon’s resident geology guru, Jad D’Allura. Together, we would trace the history of this well-known landmark, included within the expanded boundary (2017) of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

During a pre-hike talk the night before, Jad brought an audience of more than 70 attendees into the fold, introducing us to the jargon and processes that would help us interpret the geologic stories that surround us. We began by learning about the general characteristics of volcanoes before focusing on features unique to the Bear Creek Valley. Wrapping up the evening with a hands-on quiz (which everyone passed with flying colors), Jad had set the stage for a highly educational trek to the top of Grizzly Peak the following morning.

Our educational journey began even before we made it to the trailhead. We stopped several times on the way up Dead Indian Memorial and Shale City Road to observe signs of a tumultuous past. Across from a dacite quarry, we stopped to inspect large blocks of lava rock dotting a grassy field. These boulders were brought there long ago by a landslide that extends approximately five miles to the skyline ridge.

We stood at the base of this landslide looking up at Grizzly Peak, noticing bands of vegetation that were made possible by variations in the underlying substrate. The inclination of these bands hints at tilting of the rock units that has taken place since their formation. These clues from nature would be the first of many that we observed along our geologic expedition.

After unloading at the trailhead, we discovered more geologic clues almost immediately. Boulders both large and small are scattered all along the trail. When we stopped to observe one of the more impressive specimens, Jad offered some insight. First, we were encouraged to notice the positioning of the rock and how it appeared to have been dropped there on top of the landscape. Second, he directed our attention to the reddish hue of the rock due to the oxidation of iron. This suggests that the rock was exposed to air, perhaps at the edge of a volcanic vent. With these observations in mind, we were able to surmise that we were looking at chunks of bedrock hurled there as spatter during an eruption of Grizzly Peak many millions of years ago.

As we continued, the trail began to flatten out and vegetation became more scarce. Smoke in the distance dashed our chances of glimpsing Mt. McLoughlin, let alone Mt. Shasta or Crater Lake. This was no major hindrance, as our focus was firmly on the geologic features beneath our feet.

Atop the Grizzly Peak formation, we saw what looked like a more continuous lava flow rather than the spatter we had been seeing along the way. We also began to notice platy lava, or lava rock that cooled to form joints that look like flat stacks of dinner plates. Although these joints were parallel to each other, they were inclined about 15-20° to the northeast. This is due to the constant, slow uplift of the Klamath Mountains, a reminder that the landscapes we think we know are constantly under revision by the forces of tectonism.

On our way back to the trailhead, we stepped off trail to stand atop a subtle pile of boulders that marks the summit of Grizzly Peak at 5922 feet (without Jad to point it out, most of us would easily have missed it). As we victoriously summited these rocks, we still had questions swirling in our heads. Geologists have done wonders to shed light on how our landscape came to be, but there is still much that remains a mystery. As Jad says, the clues that geologists have at their disposal are much like a jigsaw puzzle bought at a garage sale - a lot of the pieces are missing and we may or may not even know what we are looking at. With patience and the guidance of a talented teacher, we can come to make sense of the stories that the earth has to tell.

by Heather Wilson, Hike and Learn Coordinator

Photos by Heather Wilson, except where noted.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)

Have you ever studied a map of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and noticed all the private land within the monument? This checkerboard of public land and private land makes management of this eco-rich area very complicated. And, by the end of this month a major change could make managing the checkerboard even more challenging.

Early in our monument’s history, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made it a priority to establish connectivity corridors by purchasing lands to fill in this checkerboard. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been integral in helping fund acquisition of private land as it comes up for sale within the monument.  

The LWCF is a federal program funded from royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. That money is then used for land conservation and park development. LWCF was established in 1964, and since then the fund has conserved more than seven-million acres across 40,000+ project sites.

Most people don’t realize the impact this fund has had on our communities, at no taxpayer expense. The list of landscapes that are in the public domain because of this fund goes on and on, including National Parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, rivers, lakes, trails, and community parks in every single state.

For Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument the fund is vital to monument connectivity and safeguarding biodiversity. “To date, we have added a total of 12,607 acres to federal ownership in the CSNM through the LWCF,” informs Joel Brumm, BLM Assistant Monument Manager for Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

So, with all this in mind, we should all be very concerned about what is about to happen: the LWCF authorization is set to expire at the end of September. If Congress doesn’t act, this fund that is so vital to our communities in establishing recreation opportunities, clean water, and conserving landscapes for future generations will disappear.

Contact your House and Senate representatives today to tell them just how much you appreciate the landscapes and parks this fund has helped acquire, conserve, and protect, and urge them to not let the LWCF expire.

US Representative Greg Walden
US Senator Jeff Merkley
US Senator Ron Wyden

  This 2015 map shows land acquired (in green) through LWCF within the monument. Since then a 314-acre Mountcrest parcel located in the extreme NW portion of the CSNM on the West side of I-5 and an important 5-acre parcel along Keene Creek that is critical habitat for the federally-threatened Oregon Spotted Frog have been added.

This 2015 map shows land acquired (in green) through LWCF within the monument. Since then a 314-acre Mountcrest parcel located in the extreme NW portion of the CSNM on the West side of I-5 and an important 5-acre parcel along Keene Creek that is critical habitat for the federally-threatened Oregon Spotted Frog have been added.

Written by Shannon Browne
Community Partnerships Director
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 

Through Smoke to the Monument

There is a saying, Per ardua ad astra, that translates to “Through adversity to the stars.” This summer I’ve developed my own personal version: “Through smoke to the Monument.”  

 Ranger Anna Kennedy tells about day hikes at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Information Station. C. Beekman, BLM photo

Ranger Anna Kennedy tells about day hikes at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Information Station. C. Beekman, BLM photo

Needless to say the early (and nearby) fire season has impacted my time with the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. For several weeks while the Klamathon Fire burned we had maps in the Contact Station and our back pockets outlining what portions of the Monument were closed for the public’s safety. When driving back down Highway 66 after a full day of hiking and talking with the public we would watch the dark plumes of smoke roll over the Siskiyous, often squinting to try and find Pilot Rock.  

When other fires began, filling the valleys with a gray haze, I wondered: Would visitors still come up to the Monument?  

The answer has been a resounding yes. Over the summer I’ve spoken with people from all across the country. Some sought to get out of the heat and find a shady spot by Little Hyatt Reservoir to dip their toes in. Many came to hike trails like the Greensprings Loop, or get a field guide to the wildflowers that lingered into July on Grizzly Peak. Others visited for an evening program on the beach and a Junior Explorer activity in the morning.  

In their own way, these people remind me of the resiliency of our forests. The fires are a natural part of this area and so are taken in stride. Our visitors seek out the clearer air and leave refreshed, ready to begin again, and our residents hold onto their roots, however young or old, here in the mountains. One way or another, like myself, they all have come through the smoke to the Monument.

by Paige Engelbrektsson
Interpretive Ranger Intern
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Photos by Paige Engelbrektsson, except where noted.

Hike Recap: Bryophytes and Lichens

 Hike leader John Villella identifies macrolichens, such as  Letharia vulpina , a species of "wolf lichen."  E Thompson photo.

Hike leader John Villella identifies macrolichens, such as Letharia vulpina, a species of "wolf lichen."  E Thompson photo.

with John Villella, August 3-4, 2018

You may not know it, but you are surrounded by unsung heroes of the natural world. They inhabit twigs, trunks, rocks, soil, and even city sidewalks. Right beneath our feet, bryophytes and lichens are hard at work performing numerous ecosystem functions with little or no recognition at all. During our latest Hike & Learn, botanist and lichenologist John Villella helped us take a glimpse into the tiny world of these fascinating organisms.

On Friday August 3, John walked us through the basics of bryophyte and lichen biology. Bryophytes, including the liverworts, hornworts, and mosses, are spore-producing plants with no vascular tissue. More than 500 million years ago, bryophytes became the first plants to colonize land. Lichens are a bit more complicated. A lichen consists of a fungal partner and an algal partner living together in a mutually beneficial relationship. Essentially, the fungus provides a place for the algae to live and the algae provides “food” for the fungus through photosynthesis. Lichen can come in many shapes and colors, some subtle and hard to notice, others vibrant and other-worldly. A good rule of thumb: if it looks like it was made by Dr. Seuss, it is probably a lichen.

During our Saturday morning hike to Pilot Rock, we learned about the many ways that bryophytes and lichens benefit our ecosystem. When we see macrolichens such as the hairy-looking Usnea and Bryoria coating the branches of trees in the forest, it is easy to assume that the lichen is a parasite. It turns out that the exact opposite is true. Lichens do not steal nutrients from their substrates. Instead, their bodies absorb water from the air, creating a humid microclimate that helps trees obtain the moisture they need. When it rains, these lichens slow the flow of water down the trunk of the tree, which prevents soil erosion around the roots.

Mosses and lichens also provide habitat for microorganisms and invertebrates, which in turn form the base of a food web that supports larger organisms like birds and mammals. Moreover, lichens create habitat for plants on rocky substrates by breaking down rocks through the process of chemical weathering. Once larger plants are able to gain a foothold, their roots further break down the rock and slowly create soil.

One of the themes that emerged as we learned about lichens was their acute ability to survive. Lichens are not only incredibly long-lived (some are thousands of years old), but they can withstand incredible catastrophe. Wildfire, glacial events, and even the vacuum of space are no match for many lichens. These bizarre organisms can be found in every corner of the planet, even in the most desolate places. For instance, Antarctica, home to only 2 or 3 species of vascular plants, houses hundreds of species of bryophytes and lichens. These organisms are often the first to become established after environmental disturbances like fire or landslides, and pave the way for recolonization by other plants and animals.

As we arrived at the base of Pilot Rock and peered up into the smoke, we saw the rock formation in a whole new light. Pilot Rock is not only a popular landmark and a huge volcanic plug - it also habitat for dozens if not hundreds of species of lichens. Taking a closer look, we were scarcely able to find a single square inch of bare rock. Here, the lichens compete for real estate fiercely, if not extremely slowly. Who knows how many seasons they have seen, how many disasters they’ve endured, or how much longer it will take them to transform Pilot Rock into soil. These organisms, though small and easy to miss, hold the power to shape landscapes and form the foundation of ecosystems. Who knew all of that excitement was happening right beneath our feet!

by Heather Wilson
Hike and Learn Coordinator

Photos by Heather Wilson, except where noted.

Take A Closer Look with Ranger Ellie

 L to R: Interpretive Ranger Interns 2018 Anna Kennedy, Paige Engelbrektsson, and Ellie Thompson at CSNM Information Station.

L to R: Interpretive Ranger Interns 2018 Anna Kennedy, Paige Engelbrektsson, and Ellie Thompson at CSNM Information Station.

    What IS the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument? What is special about this place? Why should we care about it? What should people know about it when they visit? Those were some of the questions that rolled around in my head as I drove up to the Hyatt Lake Campground on a warm June morning. I had just begun my summer internship at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument as an interpretive park ranger, and I had been tasked with coming up with an interpretive program for visitors at the campground. I knew I wanted my program to be fun and engaging, but I also wanted to leave my listeners with something to think about. I had spent hours poring over books and resources, searching for something that would help me explain the importance of the monument and the value of its incredible biodiversity, but I was coming up empty.     

Feeling slightly discouraged, I parked at the kiosk at the entrance for the Hyatt Lake Campground and hopped out of the rig. And then suddenly, there it was. My inspiration. The most beautiful moth I had ever seen—a Ceanothus Silk Moth (Hyalophora euryalus). I instantly stopped in my tracks and paused to marvel at its beauty up close.     

As an interpretive park ranger for the monument, I get a lot of visitors asking me questions like: “Where is the monument?” Or: “What is it?” It’s true that perhaps at first glance, the monument looks like just any other place in Southern Oregon. Yeah, there are mountains, and trees, and creeks, but so what? What’s the best way to communicate the importance of public lands, and this national monument in particular? Seeing that beautiful moth made me realize something. We can talk and talk about the meaning of biodiversity and the importance of protecting natural areas for hours, but the best way to build connections between people and nature is to engage their sense of wonder.

After having the privilege of being up on the monument almost every day for the past month and a half, I feel like I can begin to answer the question, “What is the monument?”. The monument is the beautiful Ceanothus Silk Moth. It’s the striking Striped Coralroot (Corallorhiza striata) orchid along the Pacific Crest Trail; getting its nutrients from fungi underground. It’s the Western Fence Lizard basking in the sun on a rock covered in five or more species of lichen, and it’s the calm and serene waters of Little Hyatt Reservoir. Sometimes you have to take a closer look to discover what makes a place special and unique.

As an interpretive park ranger for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, it’s my job—no, my honor, to speak on behalf of this beautiful place and to encourage everyone I come across to take a closer look.

Come and check out our evening programs every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm until Labor Day, at Hyatt Lake Campground! Learn about the "Cascade Connections" by exploring the unique combinations of habitats and humans that meet here in the monument with Ranger Paige. Check out “Whooo Comes Out at Night?: Superheroes of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument” to learn about the diversity of owls that call the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument home, and take a closer look at what makes owls so special with Ranger Anna. And learn the answer to the question, “Why So Many Butterflies?” Have you ever wondered why there are so many butterflies at CSNM? Learn about some of the special butterflies that can be found on the monument, and what brings them here, with Ranger Ellie.

And if you are passing through the monument in the morning, check out our Jr. Explorer Programs on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10am-12pm. Participate in some fun activities, learn about the monument from a park ranger and receive your Jr. Explorer badge!

All of our programs are put on at the Day Use Area of the Hyatt Lake Campground. Our programs are FREE and open to the public!

By Ellie Thompson
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Interpretive Park Ranger

Photos by Ellie Thompson

Meet Our Rangers and Free Public Programs

All of our interpretive ranger programs take place at the Day Use Area of the Hyatt Lake Campground. Our programs are FREE and open to the public!
     Come and check out our evening programs every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm until Labor Day, at Hyatt Lake Campground! 
     Cascade Connections with Ranger Paige. Explore the unique combinations of habitats and humans that meet here in the monument. 
     Whooo Comes Out at Night: Superheroes with Ranger Anna.  Learn about the diversity of owls that call the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument home, and take a closer look at what makes owls so special.
     Why So Many Butterflies? with Ranger Ellie. Learn about some of the special butterflies that can be found on the monument, and what brings them here.  

Jr. Explorer Programs are presented on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10am-12pm. Participate in some fun activities and learn about the monument from an interpretive ranger and receive your Jr. Explorer badge!


 Interpretive Ranger interns Page Engelbrektsson, Anna Kennedy and Ellie Thompson at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 2018 Photo by C Beekman

Interpretive Ranger interns Page Engelbrektsson, Anna Kennedy and Ellie Thompson at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 2018 Photo by C Beekman

Our interpretive ranger interns at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument are Paige Engelbrektsson, Anna Kennedy, Ellie Thompson. They are graduate students in Environmental Education at Southern Oregon University.     
     They are inspired by the monument’s biodiversity and wilderness and looking forward to share this special place with people of all ages--to care about nature and our public lands.

Paige Engelbrektsson, a Virginia native who grew up finding the wonder in the wild places around her suburban neighborhood and childhood barn. After graduating with a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary, she was elbow-deep in assisting museum researchers when she discovered two things. One, teaching visitors about the new and intriguing natural history facts she uncovered offered its own kind of wonder. Two, there was an entire country full of awe-inspiring, truly wild spaces she could live and teach in. So began a cross-country trip that has lasted four years and counting. From guiding backcountry pack trips in Yellowstone National Park to teaching outdoor afterschool programs as an AmeriCorps member in North Carolina, Paige’s pursuit of sharing the wonder of the natural world has led her through a checklist of mountain ranges and ultimately to Southern Oregon.

Anna Kennedy grew up in a small town in Northern California, surrounded by redwoods, the Russian River, and a wild backyard full of endless possibilities. Whether hiking along the coast, camping in the redwoods, or building tree-forts, she found tranquility, inspiration, and a fascination for life in the great outdoors. This early love and curiosity led her Anna to pursue a degree from UC Davis in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. Over the summers, Anna worked as a Trips Guide at Skylake Yosemite Camp, leading kids on day and multiday backpacking adventures in the Sierras. Her longing to be outside and learn everything about the natural world evolved into a desire to help educate and engage children outdoors. After graduation, Anna continued to work with youth as a Montessori Assistant Teacher and as a summer Camp Director.

Ellie Thompson developed her love for nature and the outdoors at a very young age. As soon as she could walk, she began exploring the family farm in Eugene, Oregon and the ponds behind her house—collecting flowers, insects, and minnows to observe and marvel at. Her family vacations consisted of camping and hiking all over Oregon, spending days kayaking the remote Owyhee River, and visiting many natural history museums; learning about the land and its native flora and fauna. Her inquisitive mind and passion for learning about the world around her drove her to pursue a degree in biology at Portland State University. While she loved her major, she wasn’t sure what career to pursue after college. It wasn’t until she stood on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, in Malaysian Borneo, that she realized what she wanted to do. Witnessing the devastation of one of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world was a powerful experience that ignited passion for conservation and education in her.

Come by and say hello! 

A Land For All Seasons 


A photo essay by Matt Witt about the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is featured in an 8-page color spread in the annual arts issue of Southern Oregon Magazine.
     Matt, a 2017 Artist-in-Residence, shares his images of the Monument on our newsletter and shows us all the many reasons to champion our public land. 

 Howard Hunter, Friends of CSNM Advocacy Chair at 4th of July booth. Photo by Ellie Thompson

Howard Hunter, Friends of CSNM Advocacy Chair at 4th of July booth. Photo by Ellie Thompson

Thank you for your support at the The 4th of July Celebration in Ashland, OR!
Friends of CSNM and our interpretive ranger interns enjoyed meeting everyone who stopped by our booth in support of our monument and public lands!  During this 18th anniversary, we enjoyed sharing about the biodiversity and wonders of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 


Recap: Wildflower Walk & Wine Tasting

With Naturalist Jeanine Moy, June 10, 2018

 Naturalist Jeanine Moy identifies sun-loving lithophytes.

Naturalist Jeanine Moy identifies sun-loving lithophytes.

On the brink of summer, a trip up a mountain can mean a trip back in time. Many flowers that have bloomed and gone to fruit on the valley floor are still in full glory above 5,000 feet. This was the case for our Wildflower Walk & Wine Tasting event on June 10. As we unloaded at the Grizzly Peak trailhead it was as if we’d travelled back to April again. We knew we were in for a great day of botanizing.
    As expected, the trail was lined with interesting and beautiful native wildflowers. Our expert guide, Jeanine Moy, helped us to put all of these species into context by sharing useful natural history information along the way. We were all excited to find some very healthy striped coralroot (Corallorhiza striata), an orchid that gets its energy from mycorrhizal fungi instead of photosynthesis. Another interesting sighting was the western trillium (Trillium ovatum) whose petals had turned dark pink and nearly translucent. These flowers fade from bright white to deep pink as they mature, seemingly signaling to pollinators that their services are no longer required.
    Jeanine also shared ethnobotanical information about the species we found. From the potent, spicy root of the wild ginger (Asarum caudatum) to the edible camas bulb (Camassia quamash) to the yellow pine pollen that coated the trail, it seemed that we were surrounded by plants with nutritional value. Many plants hold medicinal value as well, such as the Lomatium whose root produces a latex that has antibacterial properties.
    The forested scenery quickly changed as we made our way toward the scenic vistas at the far reaches of the Grizzly Peak trail. Grizzly Peak is in the recently expanded portion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and encompasses an area that burned in the Antelope Fire of 2002. As we looked out over the landscape, we saw the life that had returned in the 16 years since the fire punctuated by the burnt snags that stood like statues. A lush carpet with patches of larkspur, fiddleneck, seablush, paintbrush and more covered the area that was barren not long ago. The stark contrast between the blackened fire-scarred trees and the pastel rainbow of wildflowers told a story of rebirth.
    As we made our way back down the trail, we were sad to leave the cool, calm forest, but we were looking forward to our next destination - wine tasting! We headed back to civilization with our sights set on Belle Fiore Winery. We kicked some of the dirt off of our boots before finding a seat on the patio. The manicured lawn wasn’t quite as interesting as Grizzly Peak, but we had botany bingo to keep our minds active. Soon, the table was full of flights of wine, which we sampled and savored with delight. As the wine slowly disappeared, we reflected on what a wonderful day it had been. Wildflowers, wine, and great company on a gorgeous day - what more could you want?

Photos and text by
Heather Wilson
Hike and Learn Coordinator

BioBlitz Braves Blustery Weather to Identify 117 Bird Species in Monument!

By Katie Boehnlein

Saturday May 26 began at daybreak for the 85 participants of this year’s Bird BioBlitz, bundled up against the misty, cold weather that awaited them throughout the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Eleven different groups, each led by a knowledgeable leader, dispersed throughout the Monument’s diverse habitats, from the northernmost reaches at Grizzly Peak to the far south Horseshoe Ranch area. All groups sought to locate as many birds as they could throughout an eight hour period, relying on both sight and knowledge of bird songs to identify species.

Despite the fact that groups consisted of both first-time birders and seasoned veterans, the BioBlitzers were able to identify 117 species all together, both resident and migrating species, as well as almost 2,000 individuals! John Alexander, director of Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) stressed how remarkable it was that “during one eight-hour period, nearly half the number of species that have been reported during the entire month of May in all of Jackson and Siskiyou counties were recorded.”

I felt lucky to bushwhack through Chinquapin and scramble over rock outcrops at Surveyor Ridge, a high elevation site in Klamath County that is a recent Monument addition due to President Obama’s 2017 Monument expansion. Led by SOU Biology professor Michael Parker and avid birder Bob Hunter, we spent most of the morning chasing sunshine as we traversed the large rock outcrops that dot Surveyor Ridge. Our group of eight tuned our binoculars towards the trees all around us, feet feeling to avoid rock crevices and the snare of Chinquapin bushes. At first we just listened, trees alive with calls, shoos, chits, and delicate songs, our avian friends announcing their presence- a Williamson’s Sapsucker, a Dusky Flycatcher, a Mountain Chickadee. But later in the morning, as we perched on the top of a rock outcrop, a trio of “lemonheads,” or Hermit Warblers, called together and then emerged to chase each other through the bare branches surrounding us. Their colors seemed as bright as the spring sunshine, seemingly not dampened by the cold mist blowing by.

Surveyor Ridge was one of many sites that had not been surveyed for birds prior to 2017’s expansion, so this year’s event was an exciting time to generate useful data for science and conservation. Thanks to the dozens of citizen scientists and group leaders, we now have a greater understanding of bird abundance and diversity at Surveyor Ridge, Grizzly Peak, Little Hyatt Lake, Horseshoe Ranch in Northern California, and the lower reaches of Jenny Creek. Our scientific partner this year, Klamath Bird Observatory, aided us greatly by compiling all data through eBird Northwest to ensure that the results of the eleven surveys could be collected and compared together.

Despite seemingly disparaging weather, both participants and leaders enjoyed themselves. Ornithologist Pepper Trail, who led a group to along the PCT near Hobart Bluff, remarked that “it was very rewarding to lead others into the monument to document its tremendous biodiversity first-hand. Even on a cold and soggy morning the enthusiasm was palpable.” Participant Barb Settles who visited Box O Ranch with John Bullock, said that her favorite part was fording Jenny Creek barefoot and “feeling absolutely happy to get over it and find birds. It was so lovely with the meadows and the willows and the birds calling us.” Participant Carol Mockridge, who went with Frank Lospalluto to Pilot Rock reflected that “you know you’re fighting for a great cause when the weather conditions are miserable and you just keep going. We are so lucky to have such a treasure in our backyard and so many people who love it.”

Thanks so much to our expert leaders and the citizen-scientists for participating. Scroll down to read short summaries of each group’s findings and see the map for the corresponding Monument location. Many thanks to the Mindful Birding Award, Rogue Valley Audubon, and Klamath Bird Observatory for their generous donations and volunteer collaboration for this year’s BioBlitz! We are excited for many more to come.

 Bird BioBlitz Survey Sites

Bird BioBlitz Survey Sites

Summary of 2018 BioBlitz, by site location and leader:

GRIZZLY PEAK: Sooney Viani and her group surveyed Shale City Road, Grizzly Peak, and Willow-Witt Ranch areas, which encompass the newly-added northern reaches of the Monument. The morning was cold with low clouds while the group ascended Shale City Rd, but the bright colors of a Lazuli Bunting and two Western Tanagers soon warmed them up. The group observed 34 species throughout the day, including Mountain Quails and a Pacific-slope Flycatcher calling through the drip, drip of the foggy forest. A special highlight was a grand Pileated Woodpecker that swooped by the group, its right wing almost grazing Sooney and Jeff!

HYATT LAKE: Dick Ashford and his small group surveyed Hyatt Lake and Little Hyatt Lake. This team experienced fog and cold throughout the day with a nice stretch of sunshine in the late morning. Overall, they reported 48 species, highlights being a surprise Great Grey Owl and a not-often reported Marsh Wren as well. Water-loving Double-crested Cormorants, Osprey, American Dipper, and a Killdeer with a broken wing display added to the fun.

UPPER JENNY CREEK: Norm Barrett and his group surveyed the upper reaches of Jenny Creek. Their morning started out cold, wet, and miserable until 10am when the sun and birds came out. By the end, they had found 32 species, including MacGillivray’s Warblers, a Rufous Hummingbird, and Warbling Vireo, and Chipping Sparrows.

SURVEYOR RIDGE: Michael Parker, joined by Bob Hunter, surveyed Surveyor Ridge, an important high-elevation site in the Monument. Due to its easterly location (the only area of the Monument in Klamath county), the group seemed to avoid the pervasive clouds that other groups experienced. They had 32 species, including two Rock Wrens on one of the site’s characteristic large rock outcroppings. They also had a Williamson's sapsucker, Hermit and Yellow-rumped Warblers, a lone Fox Sparrow and a very vocal sandhill crane. The highlight of the morning, however, came on the drive to the site when a Northern Goshawk crossed in front of the caravan- the delight of everyone!

EMIGRANT CREEK ROAD: Ellie Armstrong and Shannon Rio’s group surveyed Upper Emigrant Creek Road, the lower-elevation reaches of the newly expanded Monument. They had an especially great group, say the leaders, and everyone was fun! They ended the day with 42 species.

CORRAL AREA: Vince Zauskey and his group surveyed the Corral Area off Hwy 99. This team of five started by ascended to the Mt. Ashland turnoff inside a cloud with only 100 feet of visibility! Most of their survey was done above the Corral parking lot, and highlights included two Evening Grosbeaks, four Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and a Wrentit. However, they were surprised that they did not see any chickadee species or any woodpeckers except a Red-shafted Flicker. Vince’s group ended up seeing 36 species by the end of the day.

PIILOT ROCK: Frank Lospalluto’s group surveyed the Pilot Rock area, and were birding in a cold, wet cloud all day. They found 30 species by day’s end.

AGATE FLAT: Romain Cooper and his group surveyed the Agate Flat area, which is in the southern part of the Monument near the California border. They were lucky to have a generally sunny day of birding despite beginning the day by fording Jenny Creek on a bitterly chilly morning. Out of the 50 species observed, one unexpected bird was a Prairie Falcon. The group also noticed that Warbler flocks (including Townsends) indicated migration is still on-going across the border.

SODA MOUNTAIN: Pepper Trail and his group surveyed Hobart Bluff, including parts of the Soda Mountain Wilderness. This intrepid group kindly did not make any remarks to their leader about the 5:30 start time on a cold and soggy morning. They slogged along the muddy PCT picking up a total of 31 species throughout the day, buoyed by coffee and pie at the Green Springs Inn, of course. Good sights included a Green-tailed Towhee, Townsend's Solitaire, Wilson's Warbler, Lincoln's Sparrow, and Pine Siskins, as well as rain-spangled wildflowers.

LOWER JENNY CREEK: John Bullock and his group surveyed the lower reaches of Jenny Creek at Box O Ranch. Despite a foggy morning, by the time they had arrived at the trailhead for the Box O Ranch, there were only a few scattered clouds scudding across the sky, driven by a cold wind. This enthusiastic group of ten split into two: one group crossing the creek to survey, while the other heading north along the ditch road. This group found 51 species, including many highlights: 26 Lazuli Buntings (!), two Sandhill Cranes, and a Cedar Waxwing hiding among the willows.

HORSESHOE RANCH WILDLIFE AREA: Joey Russell’s group surveyed Horseshoe Ranch, also a new site in the expanded Monument and the only site occurring in California. They located 39 species including Acorn Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, a Willow Flycatcher, a Hutton’s Vireo, a Black-throated Gray Warbler, and an unidentified hummingbird. It was a wonderful day, especially on our way back down Scotch Creek, says Joey, rather cold and windy in the morning with lots of mud sticking to our shoes!

See the full list of species found! (PDF)

Three Artists in Residence 2018 in Monument

 In June, 2018: Jeanine Moy, Artist-in-Residence at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  Photo from artist.

In June, 2018: Jeanine Moy, Artist-in-Residence at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  Photo from artist.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is pleased to announce three artists for its 2018 Artist in Residence (AiR) program. David Atkinson, Kim Faucher and Jeanine Moy will each spend two weeks in residency creating works that represent the natural and cultural resources of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. They will each present at least one public program to showcase their work. Partnerships and shared conservation efforts like the AiR program are a vital in managing sustainable, working public lands.

“We are delighted to welcome this talented group of artists to Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument this summer,” said Kristi Mastrofini, Cascade-Sisikyou National Monument manager. “This is our second year with the Artist in Residence program, and we are thrilled with having artists in the area creating inspirational pieces of work for the public,” continued Mastrofini.

Varied representation of arts media will be presented throughout the summer. The Artist in Residence for the month of June is Jeanine Moy. Moy will focus her work creating a series of panoramic oil paintings. In July, artist David Atkinson will compose a musical piece using different instruments. In August, artist Kim Faucher will create a body of artwork with anecdotal record to convey the monument’s unique biodiversity.

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) AiR program offers artists the opportunity to pursue their artistic discipline amid inspiring landscapes.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
BLM Medford District
3040 Biddle Road
Medford, OR 97504 

Hike Recap: Native People History

with Dr. Jeff LaLande. May 4-5, 2018

As we gathered at the trailhead, the air was cool and the sky was overcast - a perfect day for a hike in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Our group of roughly 25 eager learners embarked along the Pacific Crest Trail where it intersects with Pilot Rock Road. Our guide, historian and archaeologist Dr. Jeff LaLande, led the way.

The night before, Jeff told us about the Native Americans that lived in this area long before white settlers arrived. We learned about what these tribes, primarily the Shasta and Takelma, did here. For instance, they are excellent basket makers, and can weave baskets that are not only beautiful but watertight. While the Shasta and Takelma did not practice large-scale agriculture, they did manage the landscape through small-scale planting and with the aid of controlled burns.

During our Saturday morning hike, Jeff pointed out numerous natural resources that were utilized by the Shasta and Takelma. We all paused to enjoy the beautiful Henderson’s fawn lilies (Erythronium hendersonii), Washington lilies (Lilium washingtonianum), lomatium (Lomatium spp.), and fritillaries (Fritillaria spp.), all of which have edible bulbs that contributed to the diets of the Shasta and Takelma. We also saw Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium), whose uses were twofold - the sour berries were a source of food, while the root was used to produce a yellow dye. The elderberry shrubs (Sambucus spp.) that lined the trail were not only a source of berries, but may have also been used to create hollow flute-like instruments. As we kept traveling, it became clear that this landscape was full of stories and surprises.

We frequently paused to consider the changes that have reshaped the Monument since the removal of its native inhabitants. The most marked of these changes are those brought about by decades of intense fire suppression. Jeff pointed out numerous tell-tale signs of a landscape that has been deprived of fire, including white and red firs invading lower elevations, Oregon white oaks growing in extremely dense stands, and mistletoe populations that thrive in overly dense forest. Before white settlers arrived, the Shasta and Takelma used fire for such uses as controlling the movements of deer and keeping unwanted plants from taking hold. Perhaps someday soon this landscape will be restored to its former glory under a natural fire regime.

After traveling south on the Pacific Crest Trail, we joined up with another unmarked trail. We traversed this trail for a while when all of a sudden we turned a corner and arrived at a remarkable view of Mount Shasta. This would be our lunch spot. As we refueled, Jeff continued to impress us with his deep knowledge of the area by putting a name to every hill, butte, and mountain peak on the horizon. Though we could have listened to him talk about the geological formation of the Cascades and Siskiyous for hours, it was time to press on.

It wasn’t long until we found ourselves up close and personal with Pilot Rock, or as the Takelma call it, Tan-ts’at-sineptha (which literally means “rock standing up”). Though this name doesn’t convey much spiritual reverence, it is believed that Tan-ts’at-sineptha was a site of great power for the Shasta and Takelma. Even today, it is hard not to feel inspired and invigorated in the shadow of that “rock standing up.” Later, when we loaded up in our cars to head back to civilization, we would remember this powerful image and cherish the chance to visit a place full of diversity, mystery, and many stories.

By Heather Wilson
Hike and Learn Coordinator

Photos by Heather Wilson, except where noted.

Student Awards - Friends Research Fund 2018

The Friends Research Fund 2018 grants were awarded to three student projects. Neil Clayton and Emily Lind, both Southern Oregon students, and Dylan Carlini, University of Oregon will conduct research in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument during summer 2018.

The Friends Research Fund supports undergraduate and graduate student research intended to enhance our understanding, appreciation, preservation, or protection of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The research projects will deepen our understanding of the monument and also give the students valuable research experience in their fields of study.     

 Emily Lind, SOU Environmental Education graduate student.

Emily Lind, SOU Environmental Education graduate student.

Emily Lind is a master’s student in SOU Environmental Education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she fell in love with birds while taking an Ornithology class. Emily will be working with SOU faculty advisor, Dr. Stewart Janes, to research the Vesper Sparrow. She will be using genetics, morphology, and vocalizations to determine if the Vesper Sparrow population in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is the Oregon Vesper Sparrow subspecies. Currently, the population of the subspecies is estimated to be fewer than 3,000 individuals. This project will contribute to a range-wide effort to reverse the decline of the Oregon Vesper Sparrow, which has been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act.     

 Dylan Carlini, SOU geology undergraduate.

Dylan Carlini, SOU geology undergraduate.

Dylan Carlini is a senior geology major, attending the UO Clark Honors College. He graduated from South Medford High School in 2014. His research will involve mapping and geochemically analyzing the rocks of the Western and High Cascades with advisor, Dr. Jad D’Allura (SOU emeritus). His results will add to our growing understanding of the monument’s unique and complex geologic past.     

Neil Clayton is studying Environmental Science & Policy. He will be working with faculty advisor, Dr. Jamie Trammell, to describe the distribution of American pika within the monument, using GIS mapping and physical surveys. Evidence of a pika population on the monument would alert the scientific community to its existence and provide insight into pika behavior in the face of adversity such as genetic isolation and climate change.

The reviewers for the 2018 Friends Research Fund included Dr. Stewart Janes, SOU Professor, Linda Hilligoss, SOU Senior Instructor, Ellie Thompson, Student Board Member, Vern Crawford, Community Member and Charles Schelz, BLM Ecologist for Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.


By Ellie Thompson, Student Board Member
Friends of CSNM

PS. Support student research opportunities in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument when you donate to the Friends Research Fund

Notable Reads: Monuments Matter

 Ashland resident Cara Cruikshank and NYPD detective Derick Waller took a break from the Ashland Independent film festival to hike to Pilot Rock, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Ashland resident Cara Cruikshank and NYPD detective Derick Waller took a break from the Ashland Independent film festival to hike to Pilot Rock, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

April 15. Although NYPD Detective Derick Waller was representing the Stephen Maing documentary, Crime + Punishment at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, he had a chance to accompany Ashland resident Cara Cruikshank to go outside and see scenic areas where she hikes all the time.
     He was impressed with the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and said, “We hiked up the Pilot Rock Trail—it was a beautiful area. We then drove up to Mt. Ashland to the lookout and we were able to see Mt. Shasta and Pilot Rock.”
     Travel Oregon has identified the strength of Southern Oregon tourism: “Celebrating its national parks and monuments; growing the wine industry; promoting arts and culture such as the Britt and Oregon Shakespeare festivals; and advancing outdoor recreation.”

From tourism, town hall, fishing, research and science, culture and history--monuments matter. 

Merkley talks 'soul of nation' at town hall meeting in Sisters
Nugget News Online  April 10, 2018
Senator Jeff Merkley continues to champion Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and issues important to Oregon at Sisters town hall.

i Invite Lamalfa to go Fishing 
By Jon Baiocchi, Baiocchi’s Troutfitters Guide Service, Plumas County News, online edition April 13, 2018
"One of the best reasons to live in northern California is the world class fishing opportunities found between Sacramento and the Oregon border. Unlike some other states — and many other countries — most of these opportunities are on public lands with good access."

Bears Ears Is Here To Stay
By Angelo Baca New York Times Dec. 8, 2017
“This will always be Native land. But the protections President Trump is gutting are sorely needed.” Op-ed with maps, photos, and charts.

Rare fossils could face trouble outside new Bears Ears National Monument boundaries
By Adam Wernick, Living on Earth April 15, 2018
“The Trump administration's move to reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent jeopardizes future research and excavation in one of the densest fossil troves in the world, according to scientists who work in the region.” 

RECAP: Monument Research Symposium

 2018 Monument Research Symposium, (l-r): Dr. Michael Parker, SOU students Hope Braithwaite and Suphasiri Muttamara;KBO executive director John Alexander, and Dr. Jad D'Allura. Symposium sponsored by Friends of CSNM. Photo by Ellie Thompson

2018 Monument Research Symposium, (l-r): Dr. Michael Parker, SOU students Hope Braithwaite and Suphasiri Muttamara;KBO executive director John Alexander, and Dr. Jad D'Allura. Symposium sponsored by Friends of CSNM. Photo by Ellie Thompson

For 20 years the Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) has been conducting monitoring and research in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in collaboration with the BLM and many other partners. 
     At the 2018 Monument Research Symposium, KBO Executive Director Dr. John Alexander presented the keynote address titled KBO Science Informing Adaptive Management and Conservation in Our National Monument. He talked about the The results that have and continue to inform adaptive management that improves ecological conservation. Dr. Alexander summarized on how KBO’s science has helped to shape management actions that have benefited migratory birds, ecosystem health, and biodiversity in the Monument.
     Three student researchers presented findings from their projects, conducted in the monument. These were supported by the Friends Research Fund 2017 grants.

Suphasiri Muttamara SOU Environmental Education
Geographic variation in vocalizations of American pikas (Ochotona princeps) in southwestern Oregon and northern California. Dr. Stewart Janes, SOU Professor of Biology / Director of Environmental Education, served as faculty advisor.  
     The distribution of pika (Ochotona princeps) populations in the southwestern Oregon are poorly known and their range is highly fragmented. Recently, a population of pika was discovered on Vulture Rock which is now within the boundaries of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) due to the recent monument expansion. 

The results showed that vocalization of pikas populations at Vulture Rock and Sky Lakes differ from those at Crater Lake. Difference in call structures and frequencies suggested that the pikas in the southern Cascades region display geographic variation in vocalizations among populations. These results suggest the populations have become isolated. The small and unique pika population at Vulture Rock is vulnerable to loss of genetic diversity and prone to extirpation. However, the CSMN may play an important role as a climate refuge for the pikas and other species that depend on cool climate. See the photos and story.

Hope Braithwaite, SOU Environmental Education
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Dr. Michael Parker, SOU Professor of Biology, served as faculty advisor.
     This is the first inventory of dragonflies and damselflies (odonates) in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, including distribution and relative abundance within and among diverse aquatic habitats. To date, 46 taxa (30 dragonflies, 16 damselflies) are documented in the CSNM. A notable species, Aeshna tuberculifera was recorded at Parsnip Lakes, the southernmost location known for this species in the western USA. This study creates a benchmark of odonate species diversity for the CSNM that can be further updated and utilized to potentially monitor changes in environmental conditions including aquatic habitat quality, water quality and community responses to climate change. See the photos and story.

 Alec Sweetland delivered his findings via Skype from his office in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Alec Sweetland delivered his findings via Skype from his office in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Alec Sweetland, University of Oregon Geology
Geologic Summer Research Investigations (CSNM)  Dr. Jad D’Allura, SOU Professor Emeritus, served as faculty advisor.
     Alec Sweetland’s research included detailed mapping of volcanic rock units within the northeast portion of the Monument as well as investigation into selected stream geohydrology in the southeast part of the Monument. The objective of geologic mapping was to separate different lava and ash flow units of different rock and soil characteristics located in thickly vegetated terrain. Discharge rates of selected streams were measured in June and August to compare with data from previous wet and dry years and to relate stream characteristics and anomalies to the underlying geology. See Alec's field notes and photos.



Field Journal: Geologic Summer Investigations

Research included geologic mapping of the Heppsie Formation in the newly-expanded areas of the CSNM, and a continued study regarding the hydrogeology of the eastern part of the original CSNM. The Heppsie Formation is comprised of violently-erupted pyroclastic rocks and lava flows of the Western Cascades, ranging in age dates from 21.7 to 19.6 million years ago. Our primary objective was concluded with similar-appearing lava flows being differentiated and mapped as individual units. The hydrogeology research supported that local variations in geology and groundwater interactions are a large factor in determining stream discharge rates.

Field Notes - November 6, 2017

Thank you [Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument] for giving me the opportunity to work with Jad D’Allura in the beautiful CSNM. Things have been going as well as they can even with all the smoke this last month! The first week I arrived Jad and I finished gathering the stream flow data necessary to compare to previous years, and are now in the final stages of finishing the hydrology report and creating a presentation.

The geology within the monument has been incredibly interesting, challenging, and has given me some real-life experience working in a very limited exposure area; which is very exciting! Much of our time was spent hiking around looking for contacts between our suspected lava flow units and comparing hand samples we’ve collected.

Recently, we have completed making the required thin sections of our samples which allows a more thorough comparison of the lava flows. By using Jad’s petrographic microscopes to analyze some optical properties of the minerals and various (distinguishable) textures we are seeing within the lava, we should be able to separate some of these lava units within the monument. We are also in the process of preparing samples to be sent to Western Washington to have a chemical analysis completed, which should provide further evidence of the different lava flows we’ve found.

Aside from waiting for lab results, we are completing the geologic report which will encompass a history of the geology, unit descriptions, and structural influences on the region. We are also compiling all the data collected on our field maps and will begin creating a more finalized map of the area (hopefully linking up with other completed maps!

Text and photos by
Alec Sweetland, University of Oregon, Geology
Friends Research Fund Grant 2017

Advocacy Trail: Student Board Member to Educator

April is Volunteer Month. Morgyn Ellis tells about her advocacy for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, as a board member of the Friends of CSNM.   

 Morgyn Ellis, FCSNM Board Member (2016-18) Photo by C Beekman

Morgyn Ellis, FCSNM Board Member (2016-18)
Photo by C Beekman

As an educator, I have always viewed environmental education as more than simply getting children and adults outdoors. This is an opportunity to engage people with the natural world in such a way that they are inspired to protect their favorite wild places through civic engagement, grassroots action, and lifestyle changes. 
     As a Student Board Member with the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, I was able to experience and learn firsthand what effective engagement, education, and advocacy looks like at a local level. I was on the front lines of a national movement to preserve the protections of our national monuments and public lands. (Note: During Morgyn's term, she led groups of students in the monument for the SOU Fall-in-the-Field; and served as an Interpretive Ranger Intern at the monument. She witnessed the public advocacy for, and then expansion of the CSNM borders, and then the review to reduce the monument boundaries.)
     I now take these skills with me into my new position as Education Coordinator with Mass Audubon, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the nature of Massachusetts. I will continue to encourage my learners to view nature as more than just a walk in the woods. These invaluable collections of resources are where learners can be an integral part of preserving and to offer a voice for all the organisms and ecosystems that cannot speak in defense of themselves. 
     The Friends have been invaluable in my professional development and they have shown me a level of integrity and dedication to their mission that I will continue to strive for in my professional career as I move forward.

Morgan Ellis, former Board Secretary, 2017-18
SOU Student Board Member, 2016-17
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

The Friends of CSNM annually names an incoming SOU Environmental Education graduate student to become a Student Board Member to gain professional leadership experience with a non-profit organization. After graduation, several former SOU student board members continue service until they find a job and move away from southern Oregon. 

Sign up to join the Board of Friends of CSNM and advocate for the monument. You don't have to be a student for board service.

Hope and High-flying Dragonflies

 Hope Braithwaite, SOU Environmental Education student research support by Friends Research Fund grant.

Hope Braithwaite, SOU Environmental Education student research support by Friends Research Fund grant.

I absolutely loved being in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. In the midst of graduate school, work, and general life chaos, I always looked forward to the days I was able to escape to such a peaceful, spectacular place. It was rejuvenating.

 Help from local experts Norm Barrett and Jim Livaudais at Tunnel Creek.

Help from local experts Norm Barrett and Jim Livaudais at Tunnel Creek.

Parsnip Lakes, August: As I neared the water, I could hear a constant hum of wings. It was really loud! There were hundreds of striped meadowhawks, most of which were mating and laying eggs. I was grateful they had this series of lakes where they were able to complete this important part of their life cycle. I was privy to the whole spectacle - hundreds of striped meadowhawks and me, one thrilled nerdy researcher spectator. :)

September. I keyed out a Black-tipped darner, which according to the range maps in my field guides was not anywhere near the monument. I was convinced I missed something and misidentified it. I took pictures of it and let it go. I talked to Norm, a local dragonfly enthusiast, and sent him pictures of the creature. We confirmed the identification through Odonata Central. Norm and I were able to go back to Parsnip Lake in September to find even more Black-tipped darners. It was amazing to spend time on my own exploring the monument, but it was even more rewarding to have experiences with others that shared my passion. Norm taught me so much throughout the summer and it was exciting to share new discoveries together.

One of the biggest challenges of my research was catching a specific type of dragonfly - darners. Darners are a group of dragonflies that are generally fast and high-flying. There were many exclamations of "Darn Darners!" as my net whizzed through the air right where the darner had been. It was a fun challenge that was very satisfying whenever I was able to catch them.

The variety of species of dragonflies and damselflies is the best demonstration of biodiversity I can provide based on my experiences and research.  

Hope Braithwaite
SOU Environmental Education

Dragonflies and Damselflies of CSNM 

Hope Braithwaite, Graduate Student, SOU Environmental Education

My main objective in conducting this research is to quantify dragonfly and damselfly species distribution and abundance within and among a diversity of aquatic habitats in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  (Michael Parker, SOU Professor of Biology)

This project was funded by Friends Research Fund 2017 grant and featured at the Monument Research Symposium 2018.

Photo Gallery Images courtesy of Hope Braithwaite.

Monumental Reads: Top 20 Reasons To Love...

 Enjoy four seasons in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Showshoe on the Pacific Crest Trail to views of Pilot Rock. Photo by WChin © 2018

Enjoy four seasons in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Showshoe on the Pacific Crest Trail to views of Pilot Rock. Photo by WChin © 2018

News related to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument:

20 reasons to love Ashland, cultural capital of southern Oregon
By Jamie Hale | The Oregonian, OregonLive | March 04, 2018
“While nightlife is the highlight, by day Ashland is a place surrounded by natural beauty, from local Lithia Park to the stunning Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument nearby.”

Fire and Ice: The Pacific Crest Trail in the Era of Climate Change
By Alex Brown | Sierra | Mar 10 2018
“As it traces its way through six national parks, 25 national forest units, and 48 federal wilderness areas, it weaves a narrative of changing ecosystems and the monumental effort required to set aside and protect each one… the PCT is uniquely susceptible to the effects of climate change.”

Debunking Sec. Zinke's Claims on Shrinking Monuments
By Alexander Harris | Oregon Wild Report | Jan 10, 2018
Contains link to an analysis of the errors about the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, listed in the Zinke monuments report.

Dinosaur-era Crocodile-like Animal Fossils Found in Huge Deposit in Bears Ears National Monument
By Kristin Hugo | Newsweek | 2/26/18
Paleontologists have discovered an enormous deposit of reptile fossils in Bears Ears National Monument, one of the monuments where Trump plans to reduce. Contains with video clip.