Notes from the Field

Adventures in conservation, as told by Land Trust staff.

Forest Roads – Culverts and Tank Traps - by Charly Kearns | October 2017 When the rains start falling again, one of the first things I think about is culverts. – specifically, the 100+ culverts that carry water under forest roads on Nisqually Land Trust lands. Granted, culverts might not seem very exciting to most people, but it’s... Read more"Forest Roads – Culverts and Tank Traps"
Birth of A Natural Log Jam on the Mashel River - by Charly Kearns | May 2017     There’s a lovely stretch of the Mashel River, just a few miles above its confluence with the Nisqually, where several old growth trees still stand along the bank. Land Trust volunteers have helped clear Scotch broom and blackberry, and plant native trees... Read more"Birth of A Natural Log Jam on the Mashel River"
Restoration Challenges on the Banks of the Upper Ohop - by Charly Kearns | April 2017 It became abundantly clear to me early in my career in ecological restoration, flexibility and humor are essential to the success of any project. I’ve been reminded of this many times over the past few years and I generally feel up to the challenge;... Read more"Restoration Challenges on the Banks of the Upper Ohop"
Tree Seedling “Weeds” Saved For Shoreline Restoration - by Katie Kirdahy | February 2017 Over the past few years, one of the projects coordinated by the AmeriCorps member serving at the Nisqually Land Trust is a conifer salvage event that is hosted in partnership with the Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM). Organizing this salvage and participating in... Read more"Tree Seedling “Weeds” Saved For Shoreline Restoration"
Good Humor and Flexibility Save The Day - by Charly Kearns | January 2017 For the past few years, the Nisqually Land Trust has chosen to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by focusing on habitat restoration in our watershed, rather than take the day off. It is evident by our huge volunteer turnouts, that... Read more"Good Humor and Flexibility Save The Day"
Honored to Attend Fisher Release - by Charly Kearns | December 2016 Last week I was fortunate to witness an inspiring event, the release of 10 healthy fishers at Mount Rainier National Park. Fishers are a large member of the weasel family, a bit bigger than a housecat. Because of their valuable pelts, fishers were hunted... Read more"Honored to Attend Fisher Release"
2016 JBLM Day of Service – Nisqually Shoreline Transformation - by Charly Kearns | November 2016 For the past three years, we’ve had the chance to partner with Joint Base Lewis-McChord on their October Day of Service. This program matches groups of volunteers from JBLM with nonprofit organizations in the community. From a land stewardship perspective, it is hard to top... Read more"2016 JBLM Day of Service – Nisqually Shoreline Transformation"
A Cease-Fire in the Blackberry Wars - by Charly Kearns | October 2016 I will try not to get too deep into military analogies, but as those of you who have spent any time controlling Himalayan blackberry can attest, it often feels like a battle. This is one of our most fierce invaders, not submitting quietly to... Read more"A Cease-Fire in the Blackberry Wars"
Sometimes You Have to Poke the Bear - by Candi Tobin | August 2016 Administrative Assistant, Land Steward, Philanthropy Coordinator – I’ve worn many hats at the Land Trust. This story is from my days as a Land Steward in the spring of 2013. I was doing what I thought was a routine monitoring visit at the Wilcox Flats... Read more"Sometimes You Have to Poke the Bear"
Wildlife at Mount Rainier Gateway Protected Area - by Charly Kearns | July 2016 Many people are surprised to hear that summer is a bit slower for land stewardship activities. Once the weather turns hot and dry, our task list dries up a bit as well. Tree planting takes place in the wet fall and winter months and the bulk... Read more"Wildlife at Mount Rainier Gateway Protected Area"
Trash Fishing On The Ohop - by Charly Kearns | May 2016 April marked the trash fishing opener on Ohop Creek.  If this seems like an odd statement to you, let me explain.  This past winter saw several flood events in the Lower Ohop Valley.  This is to be expected, considering that most of the valley is... Read more"Trash Fishing On The Ohop"
An Eagle Takes Flight - By Charly Kearns | April 2016 A few months ago, I was contacted by a very polite young man from a local Boy Scout troop.  He introduced himself as Tristan and explained that he was looking for a location to complete his Eagle Project, a project that culminates many years of... Read more"An Eagle Takes Flight"
Ruffed Up By “Oscar The Grouse” - by Cris Peck | January 2016 Naturally, we have wildlife encounters while conducting monitoring visits and stewardship activities. We’ve seen elk (wapiti), black bear, bobcats, coyotes, and the occasional cougar signs. Generally, we don’t feel threatened by wildlife on our properties; they’re just part of our work environment. The big... Read more"Ruffed Up By “Oscar The Grouse”"
New Plantings Have Deep Roots - By Cris Peck | December 2015 Early on a cold and blustery November morning crew members from the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Washington Conservation Corps and I prepared to host forty third-grade students at the McBride property at Red Salmon Creek. They were helping us install native plants in an open field... Read more"New Plantings Have Deep Roots"
A Soggy Start to the Planting Season - By Charly Kearns For the past seven years, Halloween has come to mean something special to many in our watershed – it’s the official kickoff of the planting season. Since 2009, it has been a tradition to host a volunteer planting in the Ohop Valley on October 31. Now that... Read more"A Soggy Start to the Planting Season"
Farming Old-Growth Forests - by Charly Kearns, October 2015 The Land Trust’s Mount Rainier Gateway Forest Reserve is a 2,500 acre corridor connecting the Elbe Hills State Forest to the west with the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount Rainier National Park to the east. This is roughly half of the land owned by... Read more"Farming Old-Growth Forests"
Empathizing with Torger Peterson - by Charly Kearns, September 2015   As the Land Steward for the Nisqually Land Trust, I have the distinct pleasure of monitoring our 5,000+ acres of protected land, assessing habitat conditions, and addressing potential problems.  This is the part of my job that I love more than anything else.  I... Read more"Empathizing with Torger Peterson"