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.

Apply Now: 2018 Teacher in the Monument

TPL-Flyer Image2018.png

Summer 2018 Opportunity

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is recruiting for a Teacher on Public Lands! Come learn about Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument’s unique resources and get credit for it!

The teacher selected will receive a stipend of $2,000 for completing 160 hours of service. The teacher will also receive 3 graduate credits, which can also be used as continuing education credits through the University of Colorado. All fees and tuition are covered by the Teachers on the Public Lands Program.

The teacher will complete a final project that includes development of curriculum-based learning activities relevant to both public land resources and the teaching needs of their school district or organization. 

Application period open now, until filled.
For more information about the program, contact

Christine Beekman
CSNM Interpretive Specialist

To learn more about Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, please visit our BLM website

Eeeek! Pikas in the Monument

 Suphasiri Muttamara, SOU graduate student researcher was awarded 2017 Friends Research Fund grant.

Suphasiri Muttamara, SOU graduate student researcher was awarded 2017 Friends Research Fund grant.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is one of my favorite places on earth. Working there is a challenge, yet a bliss. I was conducting research for my project, Dialects of Pika in Southwestern Oregon. My study site, Vulture Rock, doesn’t have an accessible trail. I had to bush whack up hill while carrying my recording equipment that looked exactly like a satellite dish.

I liked to stop on a track for a moment to absorb the beauty of the forest. Whether an open spot where butterflies danced in the sun, amidst the Douglas firs; a field of golden chinquapin so dense you could walk on it; a carpet of sword fern; wild garlics, and bleeding hearts, or a magnificent talus slope—I loved them all.

Working with animals was unpredictable. Many times, I visited the site and didn’t get any data. Still, sitting there listening to the wind rushing through the trees and flute-like songs of Hermit thrushes made me feel it is worth the hour-long trek.

I will never forget the very first time I visited Vulture Rock by myself. I heard a pika call when I approached the slope. I was too slow and didn’t get the record, but I was optimistic and told myself the pika might call again. I found a comfy rock, readied the equipment, and waited. Nothing happened for 20 minutes. Then a pika popped up from a rock in front of me! It was so close that if I reached my hand out, I could have touched it. I didn’t expect to see a pika, not to mention it being so close to me.

I didn’t dare to move a muscle. It looked like a furry potato—tiny, brown and fuzzy. I could see the white rim around the ears, and its dark shiny eyes. The pika turned its back to me, so it didn’t notice me. I reached for my phone, hoping to get a picture. It turned back and our eyes met. It must be the most horrifying moment in the pika’s life.

It screamed “Eeeeeek”! Then it disappeared underneath the rock. It didn’t make any noise for the rest of the three hours I was there. I went home empty-handed, but very, very happy.

Suphasiri Muttamara
2017 Friends Research Fund grantee
Southern Oregon University, Environmental Education

Dialects of Pika (Ochotona princeps) in Southwestern Oregon
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 purpose of the research is to study a distinct population of pika in the CSNM using call dialects. The study of calls will contribute to a better understanding of the connectedness of pika populations, and if the population in southwestern Oregon has geographic variation.

The results will be discussed at the 2018 Monument Research Symposium on March 15, 2018.

2018 Hike & Learn Coordinator

 Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson

We welcome Heather Wilson to the Friends as our 2018 Hike & Learn Coordinator!

As the president of SOU’s Environmental Education Club and as a graduate student in SOU’s M.S. in Environmental Education, Heather Wilson has become quite familiar with organizing and hosting meetings and educational events.  February 10, Heather Wilson will join the Friends of Cascade Siskiyou National Monument as our 2018 Hike and Learn Coordinator. Her well-rounded experience in event coordination and educational planning yield an excellent match with our program’s needs.

Along with her Bachelor’s in Biology and minors in Spanish and math, she’s acquired some valuable and pertinent work experiences. Before coming to SOU, she worked for the Southern Oregon Land conservancy as an intern, aligning curriculum to state and national standards. She also interned with Rogue Valley Farm to School developing educational materials.  She served as an Interpretive Assistant at the Missouri Botanical Gardens and interned both at Mammoth Cave National Park as a Guide and at Reiman Gardens in plant collections and record-keeping.

With her excellent educational and experiential background and her delightful personality, we feel confident that Heather will develop a stellar hike and learn series for our Friends.  According to Heather, “I’m excited about this job. It makes good use of my organizational and communication skills, and I love to hike!.”


Antiquities 2018; Public Lands Immeasurable Quality

Senate Bill 2354 affirms support for national monuments; and veterans tell about the healing powers of public lands, specifically Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Senators Wyden, Merkley fight for national monument protections
Kobi5 News.  February 2, 2018
Senate Bill 2354:“America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States (ANTIQUITIES) Act of 2018.” Senate Bill 2354 affirms support for existing national monuments established between 1996 and April 2017 under the 1906 Antiquities Act; and designating national monuments are valid and cannot be reduced except by an act of Congress. Use GovTrack to monitor this bill.

Opinion: Veterans depend on national monuments. Zinke should leave them alone
By Sean Davis.  Oregonlive / The Oregonian  February 9, 2018
Purple Heart recipient and Oregon resident tells how veterans “have relied on our national monuments and other protected public lands for peace, solitude, recreation and more. Our leaders should listen to those who fought for this country in defense of our fellow Americans' liberties. That includes keeping our monuments open and accessible to all.”

Opinion: Take it from a veteran, there's healing power in public land
Sharon Smith. Citizen Times / USA Today Network.  February 10, 2018
A USAF combat veteran tells about hiking with Warrior Expeditions and the benefits of how “our public lands improve the health and well-being of Americans, especially veterans.”

APPLY NOW: 2018 Artist-in-Residence for Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

 Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was established because of its biodiversity.  See photos of the monument in the  BLM Oregon and Washington Flikr album .

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was established because of its biodiversity.  See photos of the monument in the BLM Oregon and Washington Flikr album.

MEDFORD, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management Medford District Office is accepting applications through March 31 for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument 2018 Artist-in-Residence program. The BLM manages public lands for the benefit of current and future generations, supporting conservation as we pursue our multiple-use mission. Artwork created by program participants supports keeping America not only beautiful, but also strong. 

To apply, prospectives can download and complete the application. Applications must be received by March 31, 2018.

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Artist-in-Residence Program is founded on the belief that artists look closely at the way the world works, notice things that others may have missed, challenge ideas and create in a variety of forms, and therefore can provide new ways to look at and appreciate public lands managed by the BLM.

The program provides artistic and educational opportunities that promote deeper understanding and dialogue about the natural, cultural and historic resources on public lands. It also offers writers, composers and visual and performing artists the opportunity to pursue their artistic discipline amid inspiring landscapes. 

Artistic expertise, professionalism and creative uses of artistic media are encouraged. Selected artists receive a one- to two-week residency at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument facilities during the summer. During their stay, artists will share their work in a public presentation.

Participating artists are also asked to donate to the BLM the use of an original piece of artwork from their residency in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Monument staff are especially interested in artwork relevant to the BLM mission that can be used in exhibits and for educational purposes. In addition, artwork may be used by non-profit partners for items such as postcards, posters, and similar items. The artist will retain both the original artwork and the copyright.

To contact Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument program coordinator
Christine Beekman
Tel. 541-618-2320.

Read: The Difference Of A Year

Notable Reads
National monuments, including Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, remained one of the top stories about the environment in 2017. From Cascade-Siskiyou's expansion on January 12, 2017, through the Zinke review and his subsequent recommendation to shrink its size, each of these articles tell about the difference in policies and impacts upon the nation's landscape and heritage.
Poll: Vast Majority of Voters Oppose the US Department of Interior Secretary’s recommendation to remove the protected status of certain national monuments.

McLaughlin & Associates  11/28/2017

Trump Wrongly Slashed Monuments Making the Most Use of Public Lands
By Stephen Trimble, The Hill. 12/29/2017     
     “These 27 national monuments have become the core units of what we now call the National Conservation Lands System, acknowledged in a 2009 law as a permanent part of the public trust. Managers long focused on grazing and fossil fuel extraction have been asked to modernize and broaden the agency’s culture to include conservation and restoration.”

Interior revokes climate change and mitigation policies
By Elizabeth Shogren, High Country News. 01/4/2018
     “Just before Christmas, the Interior Department quietly rescinded an array of policies designed to elevate climate change and conservation in decisions on managing public lands, waters and wildlife. Order 3360, signed by Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, explains that the policies were rescinded because they were “potential burdens” to energy development.”

National Monuments Protect Meaning Not Just Landscapes
By Jonathan Thompson, High Country News.  9/1/2017           
     “With the tug-of-war over its future status raging, the Bears Ears National Monument is a monument in name only — without a management plan, it’s not getting any more protection, just more visitors and impacts. Yet even there, the designation itself, and the vast amount of acreage it encompassed, acknowledged that the “significant” archaeological sites need the surrounding landscape, both cultural and natural, to give them meaning. Hacking up and shrinking the new monument would be done in blindness to this knowledge, and take us back to the myopic approach of a century ago. That is why the tribal nations that pushed for the original designation are prepared to fight any effort to shrink the new monument.

The Economic Importance of National Monuments to Communities
Headwaters Economics  8/2017
"This research and interactive charts show that the local economies adjacent to all 17 national monuments studied in the West expanded following the monument’s creation."

Fundraiser: For Monument with William Sullivan

“Our national monument--It’s public and it’s ours,” said fifth generation Oregonian and author William Sullivan at the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument annual fundraising dinner. While sharing the recent updates to his book, 100 Hikes / Travel Guides Southern Oregon & Northern California he urged protection for designated monuments from threats.

Friends' boadmember Susan Roudebush introduced William Sullivan by reading from his book, Listening for Coyote: A Walk Across Oregon’s Wilderness, selected in 2005 by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, as one of the 100 most significant books in Oregon.

“Man’s duty is to take care of the land where he lives. This is the essence of loving they neighbor—for God’s earth is our most cherished neighbor.” September 2 quote from Roger Murray about taking care of the Soda Mountain Wilderness. 

William proceeded to highlight his 30-year hiking Oregon trails story, illustrated by his slideshow. Featuring the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and southern Oregon, he showed the connected network of public lands and their natural treasures. He said, “We need to stiffen our resolve to care and protect all that Oregon stands for.”

We appreciate our donor / dinner guests who supported the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument 2nd annual fundraiser.

Cheers to our Volunteers for the Fundraiser!
Chouse hosts Corey Ross and Greg Conaway for use of their home
Volunteer chefs: Board member Susan Roudebush and Kent Pressman
Mushrooms collected by board member Scot Loring and Michael Biggs
Music provided by students of music teacher Lauren Trolley

Many thanks to these business supporters!

Ashland Food Coop      Dagoba Chocolate      Dunbar Farm      Fred Meyer North
Market of Choice      Medford Food Coop      Rise-up Bakery      Safeway Ashland
Shop N Kart      Northwest Outdoor Store      REI

We thank you all for your continued support!

Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument 


WChin 2017 photos

Community Outreach: Seniors

This fall we expanded our programming to reach more senior residents. The Rogue Valley is a hub for retirees. Some have moved recently and know little about the natural and cultural history of the region. Many others have lived here most of their lives and are still looking for new ways to connect with the world around them.

Last month, we partnered with The Springs of Anna Maria, a senior living community in Medford. We scheduled two events: an in house presentation, followed up the next week with a scenic drive through the monument.

The presentation introduced the 5 different ecoregions- the foundations for the diversity of life found in the monument. The following week, residents enjoyed driving through the gorgeous fall color and seeing firsthand the intertwining plant communities and scenic vistas. Throughout both events, cultural aspects and histories were shared. A favorite stop was at Tub Springs where bottles were filled, crisp clean water was enjoyed, and memories of days gone by were shared. 

There are many facets to Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. We would love to do more programs like this to educate those around us about the cultural, historic, and natural history of the region. If there is a resident or retired community you are involved in, feel free to reach out, we would love get them engaged!

Shannon Browne
Outreach Director
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

TDickey 2017 photos

Fall in the Field: Explore the Monument

Students in grades kindergarten through 12 traveled to the monument's Greensprings Loop Trail and the Hobart Bluff Trail. Along the way, they learned about the monument's biological diversity through hands-on activities developed by graduate students at Southern Oregon University's Masters in Science Environmental Education program. Fall in the Field is the capstone work of the graduate students.

"Thanks to SOU Fall in the Field program, kids from all over the Rogue Valley visited the monument since early September. Congratulations on a job very well done!" said Christine Beekman, BLM Interpretive Specialist.  

The year's Fall in the Field theme allowed students of various grade levels to explore interdependent relationships in ecosystems and to discover the unique biodiversity that makes the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument such a special place.

Nine classes (grades kindergarten - 2) explored and observed the range of habitats at the monument. They discovered how unique habitat influences species diversity.

Twenty-eight classes (grades 3 - 5) explored important interdependent relationships on the monument by solving Nature's Mysteries as they hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail. From dissecting speckled oak galls to becoming a pileated woodpecker, students were immersed in the monument's diverse life.

Four classes (grades 6-8) used data collection methods to discover how abiotic and biotic factors influence ecosystems. On one trail, they were able to identify 4 different ecosystems and examine how this influences the biodiversity at the monument.

Students (grades 9-12) used data collection methods to explore the issues of land-use debates and conservation of resources. In a role as a rancher, a wildlife biologist, or a forester, students were challenged to develop their own land ethic as they learned about biodiversity in the Cascade-Siskiyou bioregion.

We served a total of about 1,100 students plus teachers and chaperones during this year's Fall in the Field program!

Story by
Rebekah Campbell, Fall-in-the-Field  
SOU Environmental Education graduate student

Photos by Christine Beekman, BLM Medford Office

Hiking Through History with Dr. Jeff LaLande

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Dr. Jeff LaLande, historian and US Forest Service archeologist, lead us on an exploration retracing the Applegate Trail through the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. We spent the day following historical markers and listening to stories from emigrants that rode the trail from the east to get to the Willamette Valley. ("The Applegate Trail, first laid out and used in 1846, was a southern alternative to the western-most segment of the Oregon Trail..." more by Jeff LaLande at Oregon Encyclopedia)

We started the morning at Pinehurst Inn, alongside Jenny Creek. This was not a stop along the original trail, but Jenny Creek was the location of the first of three wagon slides that emigrants using the trail had to navigate to get through the mountains and into the valley that would later become Ashland. We listened to pigmy nuthatches in the incense cedars overhead as Dr. LaLande read accounts of different travelers coming through this area, anticipating their destination after being on the trail for months.

Our next stop was Tub Springs where we actually found ourselves in some wagon ruts that might have actually been part of the original Applegate Trail. There is also an old wagon road here that was built in the 1860s as a route to the Klamath Basin. Tub Springs was very important to many emigrants as a source of fresh water for them and their livestock.

At Green Springs Summit, we looked out across Keen Creek where the third and final wagon slide was located, where the dam is now. Emigrants would use rope to slide their wagons down to Keen Creek and then they would use two teams of oxen to pull their wagons out of the valley. The trail then followed what is now Tyler Creek Road down to Emigrant Creek.

We loaded back up into our modern day wagons and turned onto Tyler Creek Road to follow the trail back into the valley. Along our way down the mountain, we stopped along the road to observe a yellow post. These markers were placed in 1976, as part of America’s Bicentennial celebration, to mark the historic Applegate Trail. During this commemoration, a group of individuals rode in wagons up the Applegate Trail from the Humboldt Valley to reenact an 1860s emigration. 

Our final stop was at Hill Dunn Cemetery, overlooking Emigrant Lake. Dr. LaLande read more accounts from travelers as they entered the valley. These pioneers described their first impressions of the valley as they spent their first night at the Mountain House, Hill House, or Walker House. The peace and resources of the valley were very welcoming to these, who had been traveling for months. 

Our hike came to a close as we listened to the emigrants' plans for the future and stories about what happened to them. What a great way to wrap up our Hike & Learn season, on a beautiful day, after enjoying our public lands.

Story and photos by
John Ward, Hike and Learn Coordinator