Friends Award Student Research Grants - Summer 2017

University student researchers will once again get a chance to discover and contribute to what we know about the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Research grants were awarded to Southern Oregon University students Suphasiri Muttamara (Dialects of Pika) and Hope Braithworth (Dragonflies and Damselflies); and from University of Oregon Alec Sweetland (Geologic Summer Research Investigations). 

The 2017 funding was provided by the Gwladys & John Zurlo Foundation and Friends of CSNM. You can make a donation and help support education about biodiversity in the Monument.

The Friends Research Fund provides research opportunities for university students. Projects must occur in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and have a supervising faculty member. Topics can be in the areas of sciences, arts and humanities. 

This year’s review committee included: Morgyn Ellis, FCSNM Board Member; Dr. Stewart Janes, Professor of Biology, SOU; Kent Pressman, community member; Charlie Schelz, BLM Ecologist; and Linda Hilligoss, SOU Professor of Education.

Project Descriptions 2017 funded by Friends Research Fund 

Dragonflies and Damselflies of CSNM - $ 1,472
Hope Braithworth, 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)

Dialects of Pika (Ochotona princeps) in Southwestern Oregon - $ 580.
Suphasiri Muttamara, Graduate Student, SOU Environmental Education
The project is a study a distinct population of pika in the CSNM using call dialects. Separated populations of this species have different call dialects due to geographic variation and isolation. My hypothesis is that differences in call dialects will reflect the degree of isolation and divergence among populations. This project will be part of my master thesis project. The specific objectives include: 1) Determine differences in call dialects among pika populations from the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Crater Lake National Park, and Lava Beds National Monument. 2) Compare differences to determine the amount of isolation among these populations. (Stewart Janes, SOU Professor of Biology)

Geologic Summer Research Investigations in CSNM - $ 673.
Alec Sweetland, Senior, University of Oregon
Research will include detailed mapping of rock units and contacts found in the High Cascade and Western Cascade volcanic deposits, and investigation into the geohydrology of the spring systems located in the area by measure discharge rates and mapping spring locations. The goal of these projects is to develop a richer knowledge of the geologic history of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  (SOU Emeritus Professor Jad D’Allura, Geology)

Your gift will support education programs about the biodiversity of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Thank you!

Friends Response to Executive Order

President Trump has signed an executive order requiring the Department of Interior to review all designations of land under the Antiquities Act that fit the category of being designated after 1996 and having over 100,000 acres of land. The Antiquities Act was signed by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 to safeguard and preserve federal lands, objects of scientific interest, and cultural and historical sites for all Americans to enjoy.

No President has ever revoked a national monument and for good reason: such an attack on our nation’s public lands and heritage is deeply unpopular and likely illegal. The Trump administration’s Executive Order to review national monuments could threaten dozens of national monuments including the Grand Staircase-­‐Escalante National Monument, the Bears Ears National Monument, and our own Cascade-­‐Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM).

The CSNM was designated in June 2000 by presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act. The monument is home to thousands of species, including a few threatened and endangered, such as the Oregon Spotted Frog and Gentner’s fritillary.

Pilot Rock, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The only monument designated for its biodiversity, established in 2000. Monument boundaries were expanded in 2017.

Pilot Rock, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The only monument designated for its biodiversity, established in 2000. Monument boundaries were expanded in 2017.

“The monument was proclaimed because it’s a place where there’s exceptional biodiversity. The idea that there is a place in the world that has 135 species of butterflies is just magical!,” says Michael Parker, Professor of Biology at Southern Oregon University.

The Cascade-­‐Siskiyou National Monument connects the distinct Oregon ecosystems of the Cascade, Klamath, and Siskiyou mountain ranges into one unique biological corridor that contains species from east and west of the Cascades. The monument offers unrivaled vistas, access to the Pacific Crest Trail, protection for cultural sites, learning opportunities for youth, and year-­‐round outdoor recreation.

National parks, public lands and waters are a critical part of the nation’s economy – especially for rural and Western communities that benefit from the tourism, outdoor recreation and quality of life associated with healthy public lands. They also define who we are as a nation and help to shape a better future by connecting our landscapes to our cultural past.

The Friends of Cascade-­‐Siskiyou National Monument is a non-­‐profit organization that promotes the protection, restoration, and conservation of the Cascade-­‐Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM). The Friends is opposed to any action to revoke or reduce the protections the monument provides to this valuable community asset.

Terry Dickey, Chair
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Teacher on Public Lands at Monument

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was selected to host a Teacher on Public Lands (TPL) intern this summer. Our Washington Office Division of Education, Interpretation and Partnerships supports the placement of 20 classroom teachers as interns at selected sites. Teachers earn university credit from the University of Colorado Denver and receive a professional development stipend upon completion of a mutually beneficial project that supports Junior Ranger education and youth engagement efforts.  

Tara O'Malley, appointed Teacher on Public Lands at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument during summer 2017. 

Tara O'Malley, appointed Teacher on Public Lands at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument during summer 2017. 

TPL teachers spend up to 30 percent of their time learning about public lands and resources, experiencing the day-to-day operations of the BLM, and working with the public. When teachers return to school in the fall, they are expected to spend part of their classroom time-sharing their TPL projects with their own students and other appropriate audiences.

We are pleased to announce our CSNM TPL intern is Tara O'Malley, a 3rd grade teacher at Table Rock Elementary School in White City, OR. She earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Southern Oregon University and is a Portland OR native. While interning at CSNM this summer, Tara will complete lesson plan activities that she can field-test on young monument visitors this summer, and then bring back with her to Table Rock elementary this fall. Come up to the monument this summer and meet Tara!

Christine Beekman, BLM Interpretive Specialist

Recap: Research in Monument

The Friends envision a healthy and vibrant Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument for present and future generations. We manifest this vision by supporting students in their path towards careers in the sciences and arts that contribute to conservation efforts. In just three years, the Friends Research Grant has become one of our standout programs: awarding individual grants ranging from $250-$1,500 to undergraduate and graduate students that enhance the understanding, appreciation, preservation, and protection of the CSNM.

On March 23, over sixty Friends’ supporters and scientists gathered to hear about the research by four students and scientists who have endeavored research in the Monument boundaries in 2016. It was an opportunity for students to present their research in a professional context and for the rest of us to learn about the current status of critical species and landscapes in the CSNM.

L to R: Martin Harris and Kieran McCann (University of Oregon, BS Earth Sciences), Charles Schelz (BLM Ecologist), and Emily Burke (Southern Oregon University, Environmental Education) K Boehnlein photo

L to R: Martin Harris and Kieran McCann (University of Oregon, BS Earth Sciences), Charles Schelz (BLM Ecologist), and Emily Burke (Southern Oregon University, Environmental Education) K Boehnlein photo

Martin Harris (University of Oregon, BS Earth Sciences), Kieran McCann (University of Oregon, BS Earth Sciences), and Kendra Madaras-Kelly (Southern Oregon University, BS Chemistry) all worked with Emeritus Professor Jad D’Allura on geoscience projects. Martin furthered existing GIS mapping data for the High Cascades and Western Cascades regions of the Parker Mountain region, noting the differences in rock type between each formation. Kieran focused on hydrology, attempting to answer the question, “How does geology affect stream flow?” He found that the High Cascades, being more porous, allow water to flow into groundwater more readily (see Kieran's photos). Consequently, the High Cascades retain less water throughout the season, whereas streams in the Western Cascades (more eroded and protected) retain more surface water. Kendra is the first researcher to attempt water chemistry analysis in Monument waterways, analyzing eleven water samples from various locations for presence of trace elements. Luckily, she found that the eight creeks are all safe to drink from, and she discovered that the concentration of elements increased as the stream length increased, most likely due to influx from various tributaries. 

Emily Burke (Southern Oregon University, MS Environmental Education) presented information about her Master’s Thesis project on Great Grey Owl (GGO) and Barred Owl (BO) competition on the Dead Indian Plateau (See Emily's photos) . Emily’s research furthers existing widespread research on competition between native Northern Spotted Owls and invasive Barred Owls. Her project attempted to parce out the differences between GGO and BO habitat and pinpoint the main variables that define each species’ individual habitats. Her findings suggest that the habitats of GGO (less dense forests) and BO (dense, shorter forests) are different enough that they don’t seem to be posing much of a threat to competition. This is great news for the Monument, as a majority of the GGO nests discovered by the BLM in the last five years are in the expanded Monument area. Emily’s research suggests that conserving Great Grey Owl habitat into the future, especially with increased Monument acreage, may be a low concern. 

Chris Volpe talks about the current status of the Jenny Creek sucker. K Boehnlein photo

Chris Volpe talks about the current status of the Jenny Creek sucker. K Boehnlein photo

Chris Volpe (BLM fish biologist) and Scot Loring (mycologist and Friends’ board member) also offered insights into recent studies on the Monument. Chris summarized Jenny Creek sucker surveys from 1981 to the present, reassuring us that research is still active on behalf of this special species. Biologists like Chris continue to monitor and locate priority spawning sites, paying particular attention to tagged individuals’ tendency to return to their birth streams to spawn. Scot summarized the 2016 Fungi BioBlitz findings, highlighting six rare or sensitive species that were found among the total 114 species catalogued. Out of this total, 99 new species were also recorded for the CSNM lists, increasing the total number of fungi species documented within Monument boundaries from 47 to 146!

Michael Parker (SOU Biology Chair, aquatic ecologist, and herpetologist) closed the evening’s event with poignant comments about future research opportunities in the Monument. He reminded us that the Friends Research Grant was born over three years ago at the end of a hike that he led in the Monument for Friends’ supporters. At the conclusion of the hike, participants wondered about more opportunities for research in the Monument, and offered bills or checks for the creation of a fund for students.

Today, we have an expanded Monument just out our backdoor, and a myriad of potential research opportunities. We know that biodiversity is abundant in the CSNM and that connectivity between habitats is necessary for species to thrive, but little is known about the social & cultural aspects of the Monument. For instance, what are the recreational and economic implications of the CSNM to neighboring communities? Or, why are national monuments important for our aesthetic, spiritual, and educational well-being? The answers to these questions, and more, are endless. Here’s to another successful year for students and career scientists attempting to answer the most creative questions they can muster!

Katie Boehnlein, Coordinator
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument


Rocks, Owls, Student Research

Friends Research Funds provided grants during 2016 to student researchers:  Here are selections from their journal entries about their field work in the Monument.

Invasive Barred Owl and the Native and Threatened Great Gray Owl
by Emily Burke, SOU Environmental Education
Faculty: Dr. Stewart Janes, SOU Biology

During my time assessing the potential for competition between the invasive barred owl and the native and threatened great gray owl in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, I spent the majority of my research hours in the monument at night, calling and listening for owls. Prior to this project, I had spent a fair bit of daylight time in the monument, witnessing it mostly through sight, but researching owls in the CSNM allowed me to experience it in a completely novel way, a way that most people probably don’t experience the monument; the sweeping vistas of the day give way at night to common poor-wills whistling rhythmically, the wings of bats skirting my cheeks, and tree frogs chorusing in unison. And occasionally, the eight-note call of a barred owl winding through the midnight firs.


Geology in the Field
By Kieran McCann, University of Oregon
Faculty: Dr. Jad D'Allura, SOU professor of geology (retired)

This summer working in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was an extremely rewarding experience that gave me insight into the day to day life of a working field geologist. Going back to the basics of geology and getting my nose on the rocks reminded me of why I chose this science in the first place. I was able to make my own interpretations and put my knowledge to the test in an applied setting. Though definitely challenging physically and puzzling geologically, this opportunity has solidified many lessons I learned in the classroom and trained me in many invaluable skills I can use in my future career.

One of the most challenging locations in our field area was Agate Flat because it is so isolated and had only one access road. We had to be especially aware of timing and water supplies because of the high summer heat. Despite the difficulties associated with reaching this area, it proved to be the most rewarding when tackling the geology. The remoteness and stillness of the area really allows one to appreciate the monument in its rawest form.



Defend Monument Action

The expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument continues to draw legal actions. Lawsuits challenging the Monument expansion have been filed by the Western Oregon counties and the timber industry.

Listen to the discussion by Dave Willis from the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center discuss the issue. Show your support to Oregon Wild, the Wilderness Society, the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and others for their actions to protect the Monument.

Keep on top of the pertinent details by reading our synopsis.

February 16, 2017 Oregon Courthouse News: Counties Fight Monument Expansion

February 27, 2017. Mark Freeman / Medford Mail Tribune: Environmental groups to defend monument expansion

March 14, 2017. Brandi Buchman / Courthouse News Service: Timber Industry Says Cascade-Siskiyou Protections Threaten Loggers

March 15, 2017. Conrad Wilson / Oregon Public Broadcasting: Judge rules groups can intervene in Cascade-Siskiyou lawsuit


Monument Science Symposium

Charles Schelz, an ecologist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, hosts the fifth Monument Science Symposium*.

Emily Burke, SOU ornithology student, presents her research findings on the habitats of native and invasive owls.

University of Oregon geology students Kieran McCann and Martin Harris and SOU student Kendra Madaras-Kelly discuss their work mapping geological faults, contacts between the Western and High Cascades, and geohydrology of the Jenny Creek area.

BLM biologist Chris Volpe gives the status of the Jenny Creek sucker, an isolated population in the eastern part of the monument.

Scot Loring gives a brief summary of Friends 2016 Bioblitz: Fungi, and Michael Parker, chairman of the SOU Biology Department, will update attendees on how the monument expansion increases research opportunities for students and professionals.

If you go: Get the Free Parking Code to park on SOU Campus.

*Formerly titled Community Science Forum. This event is sponsored by Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Seeking Artists In Residency in the Monument

2017 is the first year Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) is participating in the Bureau of Land Management Artist In Residence (AiR) program. AiR provides artistic and educational opportunities that promote deeper understanding and dialogue about the natural, cultural, and historic resources on public lands. They can provide new ways to look at and appreciate public lands managed by the BLM.

Seeking Visual Artists only. Artistic expertise, professionalism, and creative uses of artistic media are encouraged. Selected artists receive a one to two-week residency at CSNM facilities during the summer. Professional visual artists only may apply in the pilot year 2017. Painters, photographers, printmakers, illustrators and graphic artists will be given equal consideration.

Other requirements of the residency include the artist donation to the BLM the use of of an original piece of artwork from their residency in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. During their stay, artists share their vision in one 45-minute public presentation. Read all details in the application.

Completed Applications Due By: March 31, 2017.
Download Application and details.

Contact Cascade-Siskiyou AiR program coordinator:
Email: Christine Beekman, BLM
Tel: 541-618-2320. 

The Artist-in Residence in Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument drew national media attention after a tweet from former President Clinton.

Winter Clues in Snow Tracks

Are you getting cabin fever? Have you spent enough time in the valley this winter and are ready for a change? Your monument is waiting for you and winter is a perfect time to visit! Whether it is a scenic drive, a snowshoe hike or a cross-country ski, the quiet months of winter can be a perfect escape. Many days the air in the valley gets trapped by an inverted cloud layer and produce grey, dreary skies. A short drive up to the monument can reveal a completely different day with blue skies and warmer temperatures.

A Great Grey Owl snow plunge. 

A Great Grey Owl snow plunge. 

Winter in the monument usually means there is a layer (or two) of snow. Animal tracks in the snow can read like pages in a book, telling the story of the comings and goings of critters found in the monument. Look closely for signs of some of our more common winter residents including snowshoe hare, coyote, chipmunks and squirrels.

While looking for tracks and other signs of animal activity, be sure to keep your eyes open to one of the more spectacular events that reveal itself in snow. The Great Grey Owl, the largest owl by length, is a year-round resident of the monument. In its search for prey, it can use its keen sense of hearing to detect movement of a rodent that can be more than 2 feet under snow. As it dives from the sky into the snow, it leaves behind what is called a “plunge hole”. To the casual observer a plunge hole might look nothing more than a messy ditch but it is much more than that. The straight-down portion of the hole is often accompanied by the imprints of the owl’s wings, giving it more of a batman appearance in the snow. If you find yourself looking onto a plunge hole, you can marvel at this creature and wonder if it was successful in getting its meal!

By Christine Beekman, Interpretive Specialist
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Photos courtesy of BLM.

A snowshoe hare bound pattern. The hind feet are at the top and the fronts are at the bottom. 

A snowshoe hare bound pattern. The hind feet are at the top and the fronts are at the bottom. 

Meet Ecologist Charles Shelz

Charles Schelz, BLM Ecologist, has worked throughout the West for 30 years. A botanist and ecologist, he has worked primarily for the National Park Service and Forest Service. He has been an instructor at San Francisco State University; and a consultant with The Nature Conservancy and other private and public organizations. His primary interests include ecological condition and change, research, restoration, and collaboration.      

Charles Schelz  Photo by WChin

Charles Schelz  Photo by WChin

As the ecologist at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Charlie Schelz will be involved in the inventory and monitoring of the biodiversity. He will work closely with a wide variety of groups, students, youth, and researchers; surveying, and developing studies that help us understand species composition, and ecological structure and function, or how all the pieces work together. He will use this information to better manage the monument for biodiversity, and to accomplish this through collaboration with a diverse array of local, national, and international groups.

Contact: Charles Schelz, Ecologist, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
3040 Biddle Road, Medford, Oregon  97504   Tel. 541.618.2244


Fast Facts: Monument Expansion

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was expanded on January 12, 2017. Here is an excerpt from the BLM Fact Sheet and FAQs.  

Pilot Rock, CSNM BLM Photo by Bob Wick

Pilot Rock, CSNM BLM Photo by Bob Wick

Fast Facts
• Original monument is approximately 65,000 acres in southwestern Oregon
• Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
• Expansion is approximately 42,000 acres in Oregon and 5,000 acres over the border in California

What is the effect of the President’s proclamation? The President’s proclamation expands Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and the expansion is comprised entirely of existing federal lands.

How does the expansion impact public access, including vehicle use? The expansion allows for public access, including hunting and fishing, which will continue to be managed by the State of Oregon and the State of California.

What lands does the expansion add to the monument?  The expansion of the monument includes areas identified for their ecological contribution to the purposes for which the original monument was established, including the Horseshoe Ranch and Jenny Creek areas in Siskiyou County, California; the upper Jenny Creek Watershed; the Grizzly Peak area; Lost Lake; the Rogue Valley foothills; the Southern Cascades area, including Moon Prairie and Hoxie Creek, all in Jackson County, Oregon; and some of the area surrounding Surveyor Mountain, including Old Baldy and Tunnel Creek wetland in Klamath County, Oregon. Together, these areas represent approximately 48,000 acres of public lands – 42,349 in Oregon, and 5,275 in California.

By Christine Beekman, Interpretive Specialist, Cascade-Sisskiyou National Monument

BLM updates about Monument Expansion are linked on the Expansion page of Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument website.

Recap: Hike & Learn 2016 Season

“It was so enjoyable just being out in the woods” --Hike & Learn participant

As the days grow longer, sunrise also comes earlier each day in the Rogue Valley. Pink, orange, and lavender light illuminates Grizzly Peak from the Valley floor, a daily reminder that our Monument has been expanded and can now be seen from our local hamlets of Ashland and Talent. The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument now encompasses 50,000 additional acres of beautiful scenery and protected safe zones for wildlife. With additions such as Horseshoe Ranch, the Jenny Creek watershed, Grizzly Peak, Lost Lake, and the area surrounding Surveyor Mountain, it is undeniable that Monument supporters will be seeking out opportunities to explore and learn about the natural history of these places in the coming months.

Hikers hug a ponderosa pine tree on the Lone Pilot Trail. K Boehlnein photo

Hikers hug a ponderosa pine tree on the Lone Pilot Trail. K Boehlnein photo

Luckily, the Friends have begun gearing up for another exciting Hike and Learn season starting in May, events that are certain to highlight new additions as well as visit old favorites. The Hike and Learn series has been the Friends’ most prominent ongoing education program over the past five years, offering citizens in our region opportunities to learn about the Monument from local experts and experience its biodiversity first-hand.

The 2016 Hike and Learn season followed a similar structure to previous years’: two-day monthly educational events that focus on a natural history or art topic. Participants attend a Friday evening informational workshop which then leads seamlessly into an immersive Saturday hike in the Monument. Last year’s line-up featured geologist Jad D’Allura, botanist Doug Kendig, aquatic ecologist and expert bushwhacker Michael Parker, artist-writers Mary Silva and Katie Boehnlein, poet-ornithologist Pepper Trail, and photographer David Lorenz-Winston.

There was overwhelming support for these programs, with 96 individuals attending over six different weekends. A large majority of participants who filled out an evaluation said they had an “excellent” time and that the experience had been an incentive to learn more about biodiversity. This incentive is demonstrated by our participant numbers as well; 24 participants came back to more than one Hike and Learn program throughout the season.

Participants’ favorite aspect of the 2016 Hike and Learn programs was the expertise of the leaders to guide participants toward new learning, piquing interest in natural history topics or artistic endeavors. One commented that “the science was so delightfully explained” and that “the leader’s passion for the Monument is inspiring.” Others mentioned that the time in nature was invaluable. “It was wonderful to go to a place I had never been,” one participant said, as did others who were appreciative for the opportunity to get familiar with the Monument and spend time with a friendly, inquisitive group of fellow hikers. The need for educational events like ours is even more pertinent this year, given the Monument’s expansion and political opposition to President Obama’s recent proclamation. The Hike and Learn program gives people opportunities to see biodiversity first-hand and learn from experts about the importance of conservation.

Though snow still covers much of the Monument’s now 100,000+ acres, longer and warmer days are approaching. The Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument are excited to offer another full season of engaging and inspiring Hike and Learn programs in 2017. Stay tuned for an announcement on our full line-up in April.

Text and photos by Katie Boehnlein, Hike & Learn 2016 Coordinator

A Win for Biodiversity!

Today is a momentous day for our region. We are thrilled to announce that the Obama Administration moved forward with expanding Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

So many of you, our supporters, as well as other invested organizations including the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and KS Wild have worked tirelessly to advocate for an expanded Monument. This expansion will ensure the region's unparalleled biodiversity remains intact, especially with the threat of climate change. 

The expansion is an additional 48,000 acres, 5,000 of which are in the Siskiyou County of California. Both of Oregon’s US Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, as well as Oregon Governor Kate Brown, strongly supported the Monument expansion.

Take a moment to give them a heartfelt thanks for ensuring the continued protection of biodiversity in Southern Oregon.

Thank our elected officials including President Obama, Senators Merkley and Wyden, and Governor Kate Brown. 

BioBlitz 2016: Fungi — 120 Different Species!

     “This is an incredible community of folks that deeply care, and are inspired by living things.” 
— Amy Schlotterback, BioBlitz 2016 citizen scientist
Citizen Scientists with Their array of mushrooms, found During  BioBlitz 2016.    T Dickey 2016 photo

Citizen Scientists with Their array of mushrooms, found During  BioBlitz 2016.    T Dickey 2016 photo

Mycologist Scot Loring Leads team of citizen-Scientists During BioBlitz 2016, at Cascade siskiyou National monument.  Lilia Letsch 2016 photo

Mycologist Scot Loring Leads team of citizen-Scientists During BioBlitz 2016, at Cascade siskiyou National monument.  Lilia Letsch 2016 photo

Nearly 100 enthusiastic citizen-scientists, high school and college students, volunteers, and fungi experts, gathered at Pinehurst Elementary School in the morning of November 12 to participate in the 2016 BioBlitz hosted by the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 

After 5 hours in the field, eight teams, each with 12 members led by a fungi expert, scouted different areas of forest, meadows, and mountain tops of the monument. Their effort uncovered over 120 different species of fungi (nearly 3 times the number found in a previous survey!) including several truffles and the rarely encountered species Ramaria celevirescens, Clavulinopsis fusiformis, and Stropharia kaufmanii

Besides providing a hands-on opportunity for people to learn about the monument, the results from this survey, together with previous and other planned scientific studies, will help identify patterns of fungi diversity, abundance, and climate. In turn, that knowledge will assist biologists in developing the best strategies for protecting, preserving, and restoring the monument’s natural health.

With assistance from BLM as well as individual and community sponsors, the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument hosts a BioBlitz for the purpose of exploring and expanding our knowledge of biodiversity within the monument. 

Steve Trudell, author of Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest, was impressed by the “large turnout of enthusiastic Monument supporters eager to learn about the local fungi." He said, "there are many diverse species left to be found there.”

     — Peter Schroeder, BioBlitz Coordinator

Note: Findings are in progress. Additional information will be updated.

More about BioBlitz 2016: Fungi

Many thanks to our sponsors: This event was supported by the National Conservation Lands, Research Support Program, Bureau of Land Management; Pinehurst Elementary School, Northwest Nature Shop, Green Springs Inn and Cabins, REI Co-op, Indigo Creek Outfitters, Sign Dude, Conservation Lands Foundation; and contributors to Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  

Gallery of Photos - Fungi BioBlitz 2016 


November 29, 2016

November 29, 2016

#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving support to the organizations you care about. 

We invite you to give local—Friends of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument is dedicated to expanding awareness about the monument’s biodiversity and significance to our region and as a part of the National Conservation Lands. 

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is located at the crossroads of the Siskiyou, Klamath, and Cascade Mountain ranges in Southern Oregon. The convergence brings together the different rock strata, plant, and animal communities of each region creating an incredibly varied and diverse landscape.

#GivingTuesday starts our year-end giving campaign to reach our goal of $ 5,000!
Our thanks go to an anonymous donor for matching all donations that are over $30. With your support, every dollar can go twice as far in our mission to educate, research, and spread awareness about our Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 

Your support of the Friends through contributions and event participation strengthens our shared voice and effort toward ensuring our Monument stays healthy and vibrant. 

Now more than ever we couldn’t do it without your support. 

Thank you!

Donate online or mail a check to Friends of Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, PO Box 3495, Ashland, OR. 

SOU professor, Dr. Michael Parker (center front), leads Hike and Learn group to Parsnips Lakes. 

SOU professor, Dr. Michael Parker (center front), leads Hike and Learn group to Parsnips Lakes. 

Expansion Recap: Public Hearings

     “... the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is an ecological wonder, with biological diversity unmatched in the Cascade Range."  From the Monument Proclamation 7318, June 9, 2000.

Many dozens of scientists agree that adequately expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is essential to protect the Monument’s important biological connectivity, outstanding biodiversity, and make it more resilient to the effects of climate change. 

Recognizing the Monument’s contribution to the local economy and regional quality of life, the Chamber of Commerce boards, City Councils, and Mayors of Ashland and Talent – the two closest towns to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument – unanimously support science-based expansion of the Monument. 

We have the opportunity to expand the national monument to provide comprehensive and cohesive protection of this biologically unique and valuable landscape.

We support science-based Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument expansion in order to fulfill the promise of the original monument proclamation.

Comment to Senator on the proposed expansion before November 20, 2016  

You still have an opportunity to provide public comment to Senator Jeff Merkley about the proposed expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument from now until November 20, 2016. Call and leave him a message at (503) 326-3386. Or comment to Senator Merkley online. 

Public Hearing on Proposed Expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Three public hearings have been conducted to collect comments about the proposed expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Senator Merkley hosted one in Ashland. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners convened a meeting in Medford; and Klamath County Commissioners held one in Klamath Falls.

On October 14th, 2016. US Senator Jeff Merkley and Mike Connor, Deputy Secretary of the Interior convened a public meeting about expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Expansion in Ashland, OR. Listen to the JPR story.

Ornithologist Pepper Trail, Ph.D., Ashland presented testimony about the scientific basis and urgent need to protect the biodiversity of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Read Pepper's guest opinion at the Mail Tribune.

Sen. Merkley said, ""I wanted to make sure, absolutely sure, that the president’s team heard directly from the citizens with the full spectrum of thoughts."  

See photo slide show of the expansion public hearing. Photos by Matt Witt © 2016. 

IN blue shirt, at Microphone: Suzi Given, friends of cascade-siskiyou national monument stated support for the expansion to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners (seated panel at right). T Dickey Photo

IN blue shirt, at Microphone: Suzi Given, friends of cascade-siskiyou national monument stated support for the expansion to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners (seated panel at right). T Dickey Photo

October 27. Jackson County Board of Commissioners conducted a public hearing about the proposed expansion. More than 400 people attended and there was a diverse range of opinions about the proposed expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

November 1. Klamath County Board of Commissioners conducted a public hearing about the proposed expansion. Though most of the proposed Monument expansion is in Jackson County, county lines are not ecological lines. According to Sen. Merkley’s office, the Klamath County portion of the proposed Monument expansion is 18,626 acres. Listen to the entire hearing (Herald and News) 2hrs. 38min. 

If you have not been able to go to any of the public hearings, listen to Amy Amrhein, southern Oregon field representative for Sen. Merkley's office on the proposed expansion. It is the first 3 minutes of testimony at the Klamath County Board of Commissioners hearing in Klamath Falls.    

Writing Wild with Pepper Trail

"Not water alone does flow, but land
All its coverings and its inhabitants
The deer walking from valley to ridge
The birds and the every living thing
Find here, in a world of change, their place."

-- from Ecotone by Pepper Trail

Ornithologist and Poet Pepper trail (r)

Ornithologist and Poet Pepper trail (r)

A dozen eager hikers and literary folk gather at the Hobart Bluff gravel parking lot, power lines crackling in the balmy, cheerful Saturday morning breeze. Our leader for the day, Pepper Trail, is an ornithologist for the Fish and Wildlife Service, but also an accomplished writer. His book, Cascade-Siskiyou poems was a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award for poetry. Pepper has come prepared for our hike today with a backpack filled with poetry and binoculars around his neck, a perfect representation of his dual identity as a scientist and artist. 

Not a moment to be wasted of the beautiful day, we jump onto the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) South. Not 100 yards up the trail, we are taken by the sight of elderberry trees weighed down by dusty blue-gray berries. Cedar waxwings descend on the trees in delight, their high pitched, tinkly calls echoing in the still air. A Lewis’s woodpecker flaps overhead, as juncos dart about in the bushes. And thus our adventure begins, an education in both birds and writing.

At the first rocky outcrop, we stop for some poetry writing and view-watching, taking in the gentle whisper of the wind in the trees and the amazing feeling of our homes so far below. Pilot Rocks stands sentry across the valley, a reminder of this area’s fiery geologic past. We contemplate Pepper’s poem Ecotone, which speaks of the diversity of the Monument’s landscapes. Already, only a quarter mile into our hike, we have brushed shoulders with lush incense cedars and felt the expanse of a rocky landscape dotted with wind-swept juniper trees.  Many hikers “dip their toes in the ocean of poetry,” at Pepper’s suggestion, starting with the simplicity of haiku writing. We start to put words together, inspired by the view and the company.

We enjoy our sack lunches in an aspen grove, fluttering leaves showing the first golden blush of fall as migrating hawks float overhead. After lunch, we hike back to the trailhead, where some of our party departs for the afternoon. However, those who want more poems and more views and more birds to lighten our souls, decide to hike the PCT North to the top of Hobart Bluff. Perched above Hobart Lake and the Bear Creek Valley, we take in our fill of the beauty of where we live. We are surrounded by stooped juniper trees, “old and young, green and gray / [teaching] that life and time are one” (from Juniper Years by Pepper Trail). Sadly, the afternoon must come to an end as the sun lowers itself closer to the horizon. As we return to our cars, our minds and legs are tired after a day filled with the poetic beauty of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  

Story and photos by
Katie Boehnlein, Hike & Learn Coordinator

Haiku on Our Monument

Forms an ecotone
Cascade-Siskiyou Monument
Brimming with treasures.
           -- Barbara Settles, H&L participant



Volunteers Needed on National Public Lands Day 2016

National Public Lands Day 2015 volunteer work crew.  K Lloyd photo

National Public Lands Day 2015 volunteer work crew.  K Lloyd photo

The Ashland and Butte Falls Resource Areas of the Medford District, Bureau of Land Management, will be hosting a National Public Lands Day at the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument on September 24, 2016. 

Volunteers should meet at Mountain View Shelter at the Hyatt Lake Campground from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Volunteers will help with much needed maintenance and clean-up of the campground and facilities. Projects will include (but may not be limited to) painting picnic tables, replacing fire rings, picking up trash, and other tasks that will help to enhance and beautify the area. Register online with Friends of CSNM Lunch will be provided by Greenleaf Restaurant, Ashland, OR.

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. NPLD keeps the promise of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the “tree army” that worked from 1933-1942, to preserve and protect America’s natural heritage.  NPLD began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers. Since the first NPLD, the event has grown by leaps and bounds.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.

The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Hike Recap: Nature Journaling

“I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

—    from “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver —

Group at Pilot Rock. KBoehnlein photo

Group at Pilot Rock. KBoehnlein photo

In the sweltering heat of mid-August, a small but stalwart group of hikers set out to explore the Pilot Rock and Lone Pilot trails. Bolstered with water, snacks, journals, colored pencils, and inquiring minds, they we ready to uncover the smallest details of their hike and capture time for creativity.
     The night before, ten participants gathered at the Ashland Library to make simple cardstock journals and practice sketching, inspired by books and resources gathered by the two leaders, Mary Silva and Katie Boehnlein. Mary has been creating beautiful watercolor and collage travel journals for years, and Katie is a passionate environmental educator and nature writer, so they brought great excitement and expertise to the table. They encouraged their participants to let go of inhibitions, highlighting instead the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, or the art of imperfection, as they readied themselves for the next day’s artistic endeavors.

Saturday morning was undoubtedly hot. Small shade at the Pilot Rock trailhead served as the perfect place to read a passage from Thoreau’s Walking, go over the day’s route, and set out on the trail! Though the morning was warm, a small breeze wafted along the winding trail, as the group admired Pilot Rock looming far above to their left. Small black and white butterflies followed in their stead, fluttering between shafts of light bending through tree limbs. A mile down the Pilot Rock trail, the group reached a crossroads. At this point, the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the trail heading closer to Pilot Rock, and the Lone Pilot Trail begins on a deviating spur. 
     The Siskiyou Mountain Club created the Lone Pilot Trail, a former logging road with fantastic views of Pilot Rock and Mt. Shasta. The road twists and turns throughout 17 miles of the Soda Mountain Wilderness, which is located within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. On just the two miles of this trail that the group explored, they passed through diverse habitat: deep ponderosa pine forest as well as open oak savannah. 
     Our first stop was in a large clearing directly below Pilot Rock. We paused here for our first chance to sketch and write. Taking inspiration from a lone pine tree clinging to life at the top of Pilot Rock, we contemplated, “How do things end up where they do?” musing on the origins of small rocks, tiny wildflowers, and the immense of Pilot Rock, a volcanic plug that still juts high into the sky thousands of years after its molten creation. 
     We ate lunch beneath the cooling shade of ponderosa pine needles, sketching and talking as we ate. We dug our hands into layer upon layer of discarded ponderosa bark, a mire of puzzle pieces that serve as the tree’s best defense against fire. We then moved further out into the open to glimpse the imposing Mt. Shasta, hazy in the heat, while listening to the legend of Shasta and the Grizzlies, and inspiration of history and folklore. As the afternoon heat came to a head, we ventured up the hill once again and back towards the trailhead.
     Our final stop was in a lush, shady clearing alongside the trail. We read Charles Finn’s short essay called Chickadee, watching birds flit around us from branch to branch. They seemed tireless despite the heat. As we rose to return to our cars, filled to the brim with the Monument’s beauty and the day’s inspiration, a little voice called to us in farewell: “chickadee-dee-dee…chickadee…”

Text and photos by Katie Boehnlein, Hike and Learn Coordinator
     Exploring Place with Nature Journaling and Field Sketching

Beavers and Watersheds

The group follows Michael Parker down into Fredenburg Meadow to search for a beaver dam. see the 3-MILLION YEAR OLD LAVA FLOW at the upper left. K Boehnlein photo

The group follows Michael Parker down into Fredenburg Meadow to search for a beaver dam. see the 3-MILLION YEAR OLD LAVA FLOW at the upper left. K Boehnlein photo

Michael Parker tells about the 'sponge' as participants stand on a now-empty beaver dam. K Boehnlein photo

Michael Parker tells about the 'sponge' as participants stand on a now-empty beaver dam. K Boehnlein photo

A hot summer day in the Bear Creek Valley inevitably means that the forests of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument become needed respite. This month, we had the pleasure of following SOU Biology Department chair, aquatic ecologist, and expert bushwhacker Michael Parker into the woods and off trail in search of clues about the ultimate “ecosystem engineer”: the American Beaver.
     Our adventure began at Tub Springs Wayside, where we consolidated cars and continued down Highway 66 to Jenny Creek Road. We wound our way past corporate timberlands piled high with harvested timber, eerily resembling the piles of wood that beavers themselves collect to make their homes. But just beyond timber lands lies the Monument boundary, an immediate return to the peace of an intact forest. Just after crossing Jenny Creek, we parked and walked west along Forest Service Road 39-4E-23.3 which borders Jenny Creek. From our high vantage point, we could see the willow, cattails, rushes, and Spirea that flock to wet channels, a line of darker green against midsummer grass. This marshy grassland that used to be home to cattle grazing is called Fredenburg Meadow, a unique wet meadow gets its wetness from Jenny Creek and Fredenburg Springs.

This was the site of our first beaver dam! Beavers haven’t occupied Fredenburg Meadow and Jenny Creek for a few years now, but their dam remains, hidden beneath willow roots and cattails. Participants picked their way through soggy ground and water-loving vegetation to stand on top of the now-empty beaver dam, an innocuous conglomeration of sticks and mud cut out of the land. One by one, participants disappeared into the wall of green that surrounded the dam, emerging victorious and awed to be standing on a former home built with mostly alder boughs. We could now see that the oasis of green that we had seen from above was actually an earthy sponge, formed from years of sediment accumulation from Jenny Creek and Fredenburg Springs, kept wet by spring runoff and held in place by plant roots. In less than 10 years, the meadow has been transformed from over-grazed grassland into a productive wetland, home to amphibians, insects, fish, seasonal elk, and sometimes…beavers.

We viewed a parsnip lake from afar. Dr. parker didn't want us to contaminate the lake, where the spotted frog breeds.  tpdickey photo.

We viewed a parsnip lake from afar. Dr. parker didn't want us to contaminate the lake, where the spotted frog breeds.  tpdickey photo.

After a filling lunch under the cooling gaze of old growth Douglas Fir boughs just up Jenny Creek Road from our cars, we headed to our second destination: The Parsnip Lakes. The group was delighted to visit the lakes, a favorite spot of Michael Parker’s. In 2003, Michael and some of his biology students discovered a population of the endangered Oregon Spotted Frog at these lakes, a species then believed to be extinct from Southern Oregon. We learned that this special population has beavers to thank for their wet home. A family of beavers formed this landscape years ago, now covered in standing water and yellow pond lilies, by damming one of the springs that feeds the lakes. Even though the beavers have now left, their dam remains as an overwintering spot for the frogs, who seek out areas that do not freeze to survive the cold months.
     There are stories inherent in any landscape. We just need the opportunity or guiding tutelage in order to find them. Michael Parker led our group of excited learners to discovering the American beaver as a subtle catalyst for landscape change. They move with the ever-changing mosaic of shifting water, which goes where it flows year after year. In the process of carving out homes for themselves out of alder sticks and mud, they nibble on willows and re-engineer the landscape. Often, this means wetter, more fertile ground for vegetation, amphibians, and other water-loving creatures to thrive!

by Katie Boehnlein, Hike and Learn 2016 Coordinator

View photos from the hike. To view caption text, hover over the photo. All photos by Katie Boehnlein, except where noted.