January 2021 E-Newsletter
Conservation for All!
Our mission is to conserve native species and habitats through
restoration, research and education. Our vision is a world where all people and wildlands are healthy and interact positively, biological diversity flourishes, and environmental challenges are met with a social commitment to solving problems with scientific principles.

To join us in our work,

"Age isn't the enemy. Stagnation is the enemy. Complacency is the enemy." - Twyla Tharp
Featured Articles
Growing milkweed, releasing monarchs at Northern Nevada Correctional Center
By Northern Nevada Correctional Center Unit 5 Sagebrush Crew. Adapted by Shannon Swim, IAE Contractor for the Nevada Native Plant Society Newsletter, Vol 46 No. 6. 

For four years, adults in custody at Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, have raised sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata) plugs for use in revegetation projects in western states. Sagebrush provides crucial habitat for the Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), but years of fire has devastated sagebrush throughout the west and contributed to a decline in sage-grouse populations. Attempting to restore sagebrush by reseeding in drought conditions has yielded only limited success. The Sagebrush in Prisons Project has adults in custody raising sagebrush in a nursery for transplanting as plugs into sage-grouse habitat. While this is more labor intensive than seeding, it has a much higher success rate and offers educational opportunities for incarcerated adults. As part of a research project at the University of Nevada, Reno, this year the Unit 5 crew also grew some milkweed. Having no experience doing this, the adults in custody had to devise their own techniques for everything from sowing seeds to transplanting the seedlings. In fact, they were so successful that the two trays of plants we had planned for turned into five full trays. Read More
Chilling news ... for seeds in the Southwest

Native seeds collected through the Southwest Seed Partnership are finally moving into their very own seed cooler. The IAE Southwest Office purchased and installed a 10 x 10’ walk-in cooler to safely store native seed collected and field-produced from across the Southwest. We are grateful to the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management for generously funding this capacity-building project. The project was ‘frozen’ for many months while trying to identify an ideal long term location for the cooler, but thanks to a new partnership with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, we are ringing in the new year with a shiny new home for our Southwest Seed Partnership seeds at their warehouse facility in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Read More
Restoration Destinations:
AmeriCorps Blue 4 Meadow Hopping Western Oregon

Many hands make for short work. But, in this strange year of 2020, our restoration team has really missed being able to work with local volunteers. I was able to fill this emotional void by touring around amazing meadows in the Willamette Valley and Oregon coast with Team Blue 4, a volunteer National Civilian Community Corps, or AmeriCorps NCCC, team. The AmeriCorps program engages 18- to 24-year-olds in team-based national and community service in the United States. As the Restoration Technician, I had the distinct pleasure to work in the field with Blue 4 daily throughout the seven weeks IAE hosted them in Corvallis, Oregon. They functioned as a family unit, living and working together, making COVID-19 safety precautions a bit easier to manage for them. Working together we got lots of amazing work done at 11 wonderful locations! BIG shout out to Blue 4 for all the hard work!
Staff Spotlight: Meet IAE’s new farm manager, Mara!

We are excited to announce that Mara Friddle has joined IAE as our new farm manager! She started in this position last October and since then has barely had a moment to pause. This is a good thing, she says, because she is “not good at sitting still” and likes to be busy! We are all grateful for that (and so are all the native plants at the farm) and are delighted to welcome her to the IAE team.

Mara comes to us from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Corvallis Plant Materials Center, where she was involved with native seed and plant growout for many of the same species that we grow at the IAE farm. However, Mara’s plant journey began…in high school. Yes, that is right, her first paid job was deadheading geraniums as a high school freshman. She was hooked. (One note – you know that someone is officially a “plant nerd” when they are able to enthusiastically deadhead geraniums for hours!) She moved on to a summer job at a nursery where she worked as an “outdoor watering professional” caring for the nursery stock. This position soon morphed into “indoor tropical plant caretaker” as she expanded her species expertise into more exotic plants hailing from warmer parts (the fact that she got to be indoors in a climate-controlled 70˚F environment during the Pacific Northwest winter may have played a part in her excitement about this job). Since then, she obtained a degree in horticulture and has pursued her interest in all things plant-related in a variety of settings, working for private industry, universities, and government. She now brings this wealth of experience to IAE’s native seed farm and will be playing a key role in moving our farm into its next phase. When asked why she loves this work, Mara replied, “I find growing plants fascinating and very grounding [no pun intended]. I love the seasonality and variation. Just when I am sick to death of doing a task, the season changes, and it is time to do something else! Also, there are no absolutes in biological systems – just when I think I have something down, nature throws me a curveball. It keeps things interesting.”

On a more personal note, Mara and her family love to hang out on the Oregon coast, go hiking, take the canoe out (she single-handedly built a 16-foot cedar slat canoe!) and take their two lovely rescue pit-mix dogs on runabouts. Some little-known facts about Mara include her being a tattoo devotee, with art representing all four seasons on her person, although she says that she needs more native plant representation. When asked what species she would pick for her next tattoo, she replied, “Delphinium is high on my list.” Understandably so, since we can probably all agree that the flowers in this genus are amazing! Another way that Mara crosses nature and art is by creating sculpture incorporating found bird bones. “I am always looking for material, especially intact skulls!” Mara is looking forward to her first full growing season at the IAE farm, getting everything up and running at our new seed cleaning facility, and seeing all the baby plants coming up in the greenhouse. (“The new babies get me through the winter doldrums!”)  Stay tuned for more news from Mara about the IAE Native Plant Farm in future newsletters. In the meantime, welcome, Mara! Read More
Great News from the Walmart Community Fund
Mrs. Helen Walton said, "It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived." Walmart is scattering precious funds to IAE’s Southwest office through their Giving program so that we can provide conservation training to youth in the Santa Fe community. Sam’s Club on Rodeo Road has stepped up as our local representative. Walmart grant funding will directly support IAE’s Forest Bound program and will be used for vans to transport students to Santa Fe Forest teaching sites, supplies (i.e., hand lenses, plant presses), and plant-themed snacks. Forest Bound helps high school students build connections to nature while having fun outdoors with their peers and gaining skills for green careers. Congratulations, Southwest Office!
We're Hiring in Accounting
We seek one full-time Accounting Specialist based in our Corvallis, Oregon office, and one part-time, 100% telework Accounting Clerk based in Oregon or New Mexico. We are accepting applications for these two positions until January 22. Please share widely! Please see our jobs page for further information and to apply.
Winter Webinar Series
In lieu of our Stories from the Field Annual Meeting, please stay tuned for details about a lecture series on regional and global topics on ecology. Virtual details and dates to come.
Brief Updates
IAE Native Plant Farm
IAE staff are busy cleaning seed produced at our farm this winter! Here restoration ecologist Andrew Esterson processes over 100 pounds of barestem biscuitroot (Lomatium nudicaule) for the Willamette Valley Native Plant Partnership.
Habitat Restoration Program
IAE staff, our Americorps team, and contractors Willamette Valley Forestry and Sherri Laier planted over 9,000 early blue violets (Viola adunca) and nectar plants last month to enhance Oregon silverspot butterfly habitat at Oregon Parks and Recreation's Big Creek site.
Our Gratitude
IAE is very grateful for each any every one of you who became a member of our organization with your donation during our Annual Campaign. You are taking action to support conservation research, ecological education, and restoration of bird, pollinator and wildlife habitats. Together, you raised $17,066 to contribute to this work. Thank you for helping us move mountains in this challenging year. If you have yet to join us, click here.
Keep up with our work on Facebook and Instagram!
IAE Board of Directors:
Ken Bierly, President; Cary Stephens, Vice President; Laurie Halsey, Treasurer; Deborah Clark, Secretary; Jason Bradford, Anne Bradley, Brandy Humphreys, Debbie Johnson, Shinji Kawai, Carol Savonen, Sunia Yang