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  • Writer's pictureRose High Bear

EWF Interns are growing camas

Elderberry Wisdom Farm interns are at the mid-way point of their nine-week internship and getting more engaged in habitat restoration here in Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley. Our teams are traveling to work sites in the North Santiam Canyon and the South Santiam River on Wednesdays, building the new native plant nursery in our 2-acre easement here above the farm, and tending the potted native plant starts we are growing for partners. They also have classroom education here two mornings a week, and are taking an organic farming class at Chemeketa Community College’s Agriculture Complex  twice a week.

Our interns are helping a landowner partner restore a section of her farm for growing camas and other native plant species. They are learning how persistent the Ficaria verna (Lesser Calendine) are in the new Camassia leichtlinii (camas) patch. We have been on our hands and knees manually removing the tubers, root fragments, and little bulbs on the stems. The seeds attach to your shoes, clothes, and tools to spread in new locations, so we have to be careful. Lesser Calendine have beautiful spring buttercup like flowers, but they form thick matts that crowd and wipe out the natives.

On alternate Wednesdays, the team is working on another landowner’s farm in the North Santiam Canyon. They completed a second set of photo assessments and then cleared blackberries and other invasives from two ponds. Everyone is loving the discovery of native medicinal plants around the springs and ponds. The landowner is planning to spread native seeds as a cover crop to discourage the regrowth of the invasives as we won’t be able to plant native species until the fall after the rains begin.

Our final event of the Spring internship which includes interns’ final presentations is being held on Friday afternoon, May 31 at Chemeketa Community College’s Agriculture Complex. Presentations will be recorded and shared on our website and in our monthly e-newsletter. We invite our friends and colleagues to sign up for our newsletter if you are not already receiving it so you don’t miss these recordings along with other news and updates.

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