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  • Marsha Holt-Kingsley

Summer Interns Conduct Site Assessment

Elderberry Wisdom Farm’s 2023 Summer Interns are a very gifted team of recent university graduates who are blessing our projects with new skills and experience. We welcomed our cohort of five indigenous members: Chase Huntley, Kaylynne Grigsby, MJ Melanie Cavanagh, Olivia Pereyra, and Jenna Witzleben. Their final presentations will be given at Chemeketa Community College August 31 and we will share updates in the next newsletter.

The team began their 8-week internship in July. We had an initial consultation with a few of our partners: Tom Kaye at the Institute for Applied Ecology, Shannon Richardson with the South Santiam Watershed Council, Sara with the Marion Soil and Water Conservation District, Rich Schwartz from Alder Street Consulting, and myself, Marsha Holt-Kingsley. Then the interns worked through a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis developed for our Native Nursery and Habitat Restoration Service Feasibility Study.

Out on EWF’s property, the interns, along with Dr. Aaronda Mayo, our new TEK Specialist, set up seven photo points to document change over time of the 100’ x 200’ area designated as Phase One of the two-acre Native Plant Nursery. Once the documentation was completed, the interns began removing tansy, thistle, blackberry, poison oak and other weedy species. They carried out a site assessment, documenting the native and weedy trees, shrubs and herbaceous species and percent cover for each category within this plot. This assessment was a training exercise that will be repeated at an organic farm this fall near Sweet Home.

By mid-August, the site saw substantial change. An excavator cleared the site of weedy trees, poison oak, and berries, and roughed in areas for recessed bed construction. The interns plan to set up three beds during September.

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