A Fragile Matrix
Survival in the Matrix
Two priority species of of birds live in North Creek Forest, Pileated woodpeckers and Band-tail pigeons.
"A Pileated Woodpecker requires at least 250 acres of forest." - Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Biology Handbook
How do these birds survive in the 64 acres of North Creek Forest?
A simple answer: there are other forest remnants close by. Together they form a "matrix" greater than 250 acres and they are close enough for "commuting" between their nesting site and food sources.
Winter 2013: The matrix around North Creek Forest is diminished.
Development and Ecosystems
A matrix is fragile and, like a castle of cards, can fail with only slight disturbance.
An element of the greater NCF Matrix fell this winter. It is to be expected. Residential growth in close proximity to jobs, education, shopping and entertainment is smart. Walk more, drive less. Walkable communities are essential to cutting back on fossil fuel use. But what about the matrix?
Development with North Creek Forest background and UW Wetlands foreground.
There are 2 developments underway across the street from the UW Bothell/Cascadia CC campus. The matrix is under stress.
Coyotes have disappeared. A rabbit population has exploded. Deer and rabbits are eating peoples gardens. These may be temporary disturbances or they could be permanent.
Neighbors to the forest: please report any activity you observe involving deer, rabbits and coyotes. Absent? Present? Changes? Use the comment link above this article or reply to your "Forest Update" email.
An aquatic creature most of it's life... a North Creek Forest dragonfly.
The Other Problem...
Warm, unfiltered, polluted surface water is harming streams and Puget Sound. Watershed elements like North Creek Forest help to keep salmon habitat healthy.
Our local solution is to raise enough money to purchase the remaining parcels of North Creek Forest. Values are escalating.
We are writing grant applications... lots of them, and a fundraiser will help cover our costs on August 25th. Please mark your calendar "FNCF Art Sale" More info to follow. Thanks, FNCF
Recently 30 neighbors, students and friends gathered to spread mulch, dig out blackberry roots and water new plants.
14 people signed up to continue watering up to twice a week through the summer. It's a big job with about 1200 plants and trees to cover. This is how a forest is born from blackberries. It needs our help.
Each volunteer had a personal reason for working in the forest. Alice Tsoodle, a long time volunteer with FNCF shares her story below.
WHY I VOLUNTEER
For a girl who grew up on the grassy plains of the south and the scrub shrubs of the southwestern desert, the idea of a nurse log is one of the most amazing and comforting phenomena that I have ever encountered. Here is the perfect example that all life on earth is bound together into one efficiently functioning cycle. In short, when a tree falls in the forest, it brings with it millions of seeds from a wide variety of forest plants and trees. As the tree decays and breaks down, the seeds spring forth with new life. These new plant lives gather all of their nutrients directly from the former life of the old trees. This ensures that life continues on and the forests stay healthy. There is no death, because even after the chlorophyll leaves these trees they continue to function as an important part of Earth’s life cycle.
This was one of the first ecological lessons I learned about the great hemlock forests that used to blanket the soft hills of the Pacific Northwest. I learned this lesson while standing in front of a nurse log in a small patch of old-growth upland forest known as the North Creek Forest of Bothell. I was standing there, breathing the fresh air that one can only breathe in the heart of a healthy forest. Seeing the light flicker out of the corner of my eye as it filters through the dancing leaves of the vine maple. Feeling the cool, moist air evaporate the sweat on the back of my neck. Tasting the sweet misty rain dripping down from the big leaf maple. All of my senses were heightened as I absorbed so much information in one brief class period.
As a student at UW Bothell, I was incredibly lucky to have experienced such a unique lesson within walking distance of my school. Friends of North Creek Forest made this opportunity available to me through the grass roots efforts born in the homes of local naturalists. In their collaboration with the brilliant teachers and passionate students at UW Bothell, this small group of people has helped to open my eyes to such ancient beauty and a desperate hope for continuity.
I volunteer at North Creek Forest because when I step into the heart of the forest, the smoggy sound, smell, and stress of the city melts away and I feel at peace. There is a serene sense of calm that makes me feel like I belong, that I am here for a reason. I believe that restoring and maintaining our old growth forests is vital to the health of the human race. We are here for a reason, and I believe we have gone astray somewhere. We need the forests to remind us of what our ecological function is. We need to take a deep breath under the shade of the western red cedar and remember that we are stewards of all life on earth, and it’s time for us to rejoin the circle.
Our level of stewardship is made possible by a grant from the Rose Foundation.