Meet the UW-REN Team
The UW Restoration Ecology Network (UW-REN) is a tremendously valuable partner. Each year, since 2011, a team of UW students has planned and executed a restoration project in North Creek Forest. This year's team brings multiple ecological capabilities ranging from invasive removal, plant identification, technical skills including video editing and GIS mapping, as well as multiple accounts of project management experience. Read on to learn more about this year's team, and join us for their first work party on January 7, 2017 to meet them in person.
Earth Day in the Forest
This year's restoration site is almost complete, thanks to our hard working UW-REN team, and many volunteers! On Earth Day weekend, we teamed up with Whale Scout, Cascadia College, UW-Bothell, our neighbors, and the general public to continue our work to remove invasive species and enhance the native habitat at the edge of North Creek Forest.
After a break, we switched gears to work on habitat enhancement projects, which included birdhouse assembly, mushroom colonization, bee house building and tree planting! Thanks to your hard work this restoration site will support an amazing array of native plants and wildlife, and even include oyster mushrooms right along the trail for human foragers to enjoy.
Thank you to our dedicated volunteers who spent such a lovely spring Saturday working to provide a healthy forest for our community! We are blessed to have so many hard working volunteers, of all ages!
Thanks to large groups of volunteers who came out on two recent Saturdays to help clean up and restore North Creek Forest, our newest restoration site is starting to take shape. Volunteers started by spreading mulch on muddy paths to allow easy and safe access to this year’s restoration site.
Every restoration site with new plantings requires three seasons of watering after to give the plants a strong start. Anyone who has helped with watering during the dry months knows how time consuming this important job can be. The cost of water is also significant. Last summer the City of Bothell made hydrant water available to us, which would be a significant cost savings, but the hydrant can only be operated by Friends staff members. With very limited staff time, and generous volunteers lined up to water at times convenient to their schedules, we were not able to make use of the hydrant for watering. We would like to install a water tank that staff could fill from the hydrant, and then volunteers could water from. Ideally this tank could feed into a drip irrigation system that would allow for easier and more efficient watering, but the design of a system like this was beyond our current capacity. So when the UW-B Office of Community Based Learning and Research (CBLR) asked us if we had any projects that a team of senior Mechanical Engineering students could work on, we jumped at the opportunity!
We were so excited to host a group of UW-Bothell Alumni recently for their Lend-A-Paw service day. It is wonderful to work with so many returning volunteers who helped out when they were students, including many former UW-REN team members. Of course, it's also always great to make new friends, and we enjoyed introducing the Forest and our restoration sites to the first timers! Any time the sun is shining in November usually makes for a great day, and this glorious day was no exception! We weeded among the native plantings, cleared a large Himalayan Blackberry patch, spread an enormous pile of mulch, and planted many new plants. Everyone was thrilled with how much work we got done!
Thanks Husky Alums - we hope to see you all back in the Forest soon!
(many more photos after the break)
In Loving Memory....
We have been restoring parts of North Creek Forest since 2011. We developed a routine that attracts many volunteers from UW Bothell, Cascadia College, and area schools. In our third year we cleared blackberries away to discover a nightmare of a site: deep mud, abandoned cars, piles of concrete rubble... Then Ian found us.
Ian was a force. He brought his own tools, the very best. He blended into the crowd, leaned into the work and began teaching details about plant roots, methods, shade requirements and so much more. His depth of knowledge was astonishing. He was an undergraduate student at UW and we experienced what it was like to be adopted by Ian.
Ian loved to teach. Students were enchanted by his stories. Everything he said seemed simple but if you listened long enough you would see he was giving out hints of an almost unfathomably large and intricate web of life, a forest ecology. The Jr High kids, like everyone else, loved him.
Ian studied with Dr. Amy Lambert that year and worked in the forest as a volunteer. He worked at the greenhouse on campus, the UW Wetlands, and worked and studied in many capacities with Dr. Warren Gold. His teachers and fellow students are heart sick to lose him.
"He was one of the brightest individuals I have ever met. His passion and enthusiasm for our great outdoors was contagious and everyone who met him learned so much from him. He was a beautiful soul..." Sarah Park
This is a tragedy we will not recover from soon. That is expected. However, people will be coming to North Creek Forest for a long time. The trees Ian cleared a place for and planted will be here for them. Great grandchildren of the students he taught may be moved by the presence of those trees. Someday the trees will even be called "ancient". People won't know who planted them. But does it matter? Probably not to Ian. He was just doing his art.
"No form of life was insignificant to you. You could educate people and get them excited about the smallest things. You had an appreciation for this earth that most people wouldn't understand. You had such impact on so many people's lives, often without even knowing it. You were happy to live simply, just you and the trees, or the barren desert. A couple of books, a camp stove and a can of beans would keep you happy. I miss you so much my love." Lana Mack
Ian, you made a difference. We love you and cherish your work.
Rest in Peace.
Please join us to honor and celebrate the life of Ian Barlow on November 28th, 1:00 PM, UW Horticultural Center.
Forest Research Ramping Up
Over the past 6 months we have been ramping up our research program - formalizing a Research Committee, outlining projects, and investing in hardware and software that will enable us to collect, analyze and share data we collect in North Creek Forest. We also continue to partner with UW-Bothell and Cascadia College professors interested in using the Forest as an outdoor laboratory. Many of our UW-REN graduates are now helping out in various capacities in our research program, including Carolyn Stapp (UW-REN Capstone class of 2013-2014), who is serving as our Research Program intern. Carolyn is organizing data, coordinating the Research Committee, recruiting data collection volunteers, as well as serving on the Stewardship side of things as a Site Steward for her UW-REN project (Site 3). Thank you Carolyn - we appreciate your experience and perspective and all of your hard work!