From farm to forest.
Byline: Sherri Buri McDonald The Register-Guard
CORRECTION (ran 2/14/2006): The first name and title of Chris Seal, a wildlife biologist '''
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A wildlife biologist is someone who studies wild animals and their habitats. with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, was inadvertently left out of the story on tree planting at Green Island that ran on Page C1 on Sunday.
Tree planting took on a creative flair with the Stringer family at the McKenzie River For rivers name "Mackenzie", see .
The McKenzie River is a tributary of the Willamette River, 86 miles (138 km) long, in northwestern Oregon in the United States. It drains part of the Cascade Range east of Eugene into the southernmost end of the Willamette Valley. Trust's Green Island west of Coburg on Saturday.
Dad Darin pulled a sapling from its pot, loosened its root wad and plopped the young tree in a predug hole.
Then, in a flurry of booted boot·ed
Adj. 1. booted - wearing boots
shod, shodden, shoed - wearing footgear feet attached to sons Conrad, 5, and Ethan, 2 1/2 , the hole filled with dirt.
Unorthodox technique, admitted Darin, a wildlife ecologist.
But it did the job, and the family moved on to plant its next tree.
The Stringers were among about 75 volunteers who planted 3,400 trees on a 20-acre swath of farmland in the 948-acre Green Island complex, located at the confluence of the Willamette and the McKenzie rivers.
The McKenzie River Trust, a 16-year-old nonprofit based in Eugene that protects river environments in Lane and Douglas counties, bought the land in 2003 from the Green family, who had owned and farmed it for more than 70 years.
After doing technical studies of the land and drafting a 10-year management plan, the trust is beginning to restore the farmland to its more natural and diverse forest state.
"That's how I got these guys out here," 37-year-old Darin Stringer said, referring to his sons. "I told them when you guys are my age, there will be a forest where there had been a field."
The white dusting on Conrad's lips told of a more immediate incentive, though.
"They love the doughnuts," mom Sydney said.
The hope of the McKenzie River Trust is that a more diverse plant community on Green Island will help attract more diverse wildlife, including migratory migratory /mi·gra·to·ry/ (mi´grah-tor?e)
1. roving or wandering.
2. of, pertaining to, or characterized by migration; undergoing periodic migration.
emanating from or pertaining to migration. songbirds, red-legged tree frogs, Western pond turtles The Western Pond Turtle, or Pacific Pond Turtle, (Actinemys marmorata) is a small to medium-sized turtle growing to approximately 20 cm in carapace length. It is limited to the west coast of the United States of America and Mexico, ranging from western Washington state to , mink, river otter and beaver.
The trust held a small tree-planting on Green Island last year. But Saturday's joint effort by the trust, the McKenzie Watershed Council and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was on a much bigger scale, said Joe Moll, the trust's executive director.
The trust plans to plant trees, native plants or flowers on an average of about 50 acres a year, he said.
On Saturday, volunteers spread out in teams of three to plant a mix of black cottonwood cottonwood: see willow.
Any of several fast-growing North American trees of the genus Populus. Members of the willow family, cottonwoods have heart-shaped, toothed leaves and cottony seeds. The dangling leaves clatter in the wind. , big leaf maple, Oregon ash, a Willamette Valley The Willamette Valley (pronounced [wɪˈlæ.mɪt], with the accent on the second syllable) is the region in northwest Oregon in the United States that surrounds the Willamette River as it proceeds northward from its subspecies subspecies, also called race, a genetically distinct geographical subunit of a species. See also classification. of ponderosa pine ponderosa pine
pinusponderosa. and Western red cedar Western red cedar: see juniper, arborvitae. .
During a brief training session for volunteers, Seal pointed out some of the differences between the species.
"They probably all look like a stick in a pot," he joked. But after a few hours, all of those "sticks" were out of their pots and standing tall throughout the field.
"It goes fast when you have this many people," said Bob Parker, who has served on the board for the past 11 years.
Seventy percent to 80 percent of the young trees are expected to survive in the first two years, Seal said. The biggest threat to their survival would be a dry summer.
But if all goes as planned, the Stringer boys may well return to Green Island in 30 years and walk through the young forest they helped plant.
Conrad Stringer (center), 5, pushes soil into place while helping the McKenzie River Trust plant trees on Saturday on Green Island. Big-leaf maples are among the 3,400 trees waiting to be planted by 75 volunteers on Saturday morning.