Nature Notes

Learn all about our EMSWCD Grounds “Conservation Corner” here! In this section we’ll share small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.


Nature Notes 9: Helping protect the environment one choice at a time

A pollen-covered bumble bee visits a native Tiger lily flower
2019-07-01 11:48:34
Welcome to EMSWCD's Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

March 26thth, 2019

Helping protect the environment one choice at a time

Summer and vacation season are in full swing! As we head to the beach though, we are also hearing story after story of an environment in trouble. The good news is that there is a lot we can do. From the plants in our yard to the type of sunscreen we wear, our daily choices really do matter.

[gallery size="medium" columns="1" ids="26520"]
Planting with native plants has a cascading effect that makes the urban environment healthier for wildlife. Non-native and invasive species mean less food for insects, which in turn means less food for birds and fish. Invasive species are everywhere, even on EMSWCD grounds. Last summer we fought a large tree of heaven infestation; this summer we have manually removed English ivy, nutsedge, mullein, white sweetclover, yellow oxalis and several other invasive plants. Removing weeds by hand whenever possible is both good exercise and far better for the environment than using chemicals.
Read more...

Nature Notes 8: Plant Sales, Cultivars and Neonicotinoids, oh my!

Red flowering currant
2019-03-26 14:16:34
Welcome to EMSWCD's Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

March 26thth, 2019

Plant Sales, Cultivars and Neonicotinoids, oh my!

Spring is here and it's time to get those native plants in the ground! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for that perfect addition to your native plant garden.
Read more...

Nature Notes 7 - Leaves and snow

2018-11-29 11:45:20
Welcome to EMSWCD's Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

November 30th, 2018

Natural Leaf and Snow Management

Tempted to pull out that leaf-blower for one last fall clean-up? Please consider raking instead. Not only are leaf blowers noisy, they are also very bad for the environment and human health.
Did you know…
  • Two-stroke engines emit hundreds of times more air pollution than cars. This pollution contributes to global warming, smog and acid rain.
  • Air pollution also raises risks of cancer, heart disease and asthma, especially in children.
  • The forced hot air damages plants and soil organisms, and compacts soil which makes plants more vulnerable to summer drought.
  • Electric leaf blowers create less air pollution and are somewhat quieter, but raking is still a better alternative.
[caption id="attachment_23463" align="alignnone" width="1000"]leaves with beads of water Leaf cover is beneficial for the soil and also provides habitat for many pollinators and beneficial insects - leave those leaves![/caption]
Read more...

Nature Notes 6 - Winter gardening for birds and pollinators

Honey bees visit late-blooming Douglas asters
2018-10-15 14:36:22
Welcome to EMSWCD's Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

October 15th, 2018

Winter Gardening for Birds and Pollinators

The goldenrod has gone to seed, and honeybees are scouring the last of the fall asters. Here at EMSWCD, we employ a few simple practices to reduce the fall garden work and help birds and pollinators survive the winter. Read on to learn what you can do!
Did you know…
[gallery columns="1" size="medium" ids="22796"]
  • Birds feed on seeds and insects through the winter. In the spring they will need lots of insects to feed their young. You can help birds by leaving lots of habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects to shelter safely through the winter.
  • Adult butterflies, ladybugs, and many other beneficial insects overwinter in rock crevices, under bark, and in leaf litter. They lay their eggs in stems, on twigs, and under leaves. Pollinators and their larvae shelter in hollow standing stalks, and beetles take refuge in clumping grasses.
  • A natural winter garden is a healthy pollinator hotel!
Read more...

Nature Notes 5: National Pollinator Week!

honey bee visiting blanket flowers
2018-06-18 16:19:46
Welcome to EMSWCD's Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

June 18th, 2018

June 18th-23rd is National Pollinator Week!

This week, EMSWCD is celebrating all the things pollinators do for us, and all the things we can do for them.
Did you know…
[gallery columns="1" size="medium" ids="21907"]
  • One third to one quarter of our food - and nearly all our flowers - depend on pollinators! Do you want to live in a world without chocolate or coffee? Without roses or honeysuckle? Neither do we.
  • Wild pollinators are more efficient than honeybees, so many crops produce higher yields when wild bees are present.
  • Wild pollinators are generally less aggressive than honey bees, since most are solitary and don’t have a large hive or store of honey to defend.
Read more...

Nature Notes 4: Native Plant Gallery

2018-05-23 17:52:51
Welcome to EMSWCD's Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

May 23rd, 2018

May is Native Plant Month!

This month in celebration of Native Plant Month, we’re highlighting a variety of native plants, all of which you can come see any time at our Conservation Corner! May is Native Plant Month in Portland for good reason — everything is blooming in all the colors of the rainbow. Check out these beauties in our gallery below, or come explore our grounds and see all these and more in person!
Read more...

Nature Notes 3: May is Native Plant Month!

2018-05-07 11:11:33
Welcome to EMSWCD's Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

May 7th, 2018

May is Native Plant Month!

This month in celebration of Native Plant Month, we’ll be highlighting a variety of native plants, all of which you can come see any time at our Conservation Corner! This week we’re seeing purple everywhere with common camas, Henderson’s shooting star, Menzie’s larkspur, and Oregon Iris in full bloom.
Read more...

Nature Notes - March 27th, 2018

Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
2018-03-27 12:01:09

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

March 27th, 2018

Early spring bloomers!

Right now the non-native cherry trees, forsythia, and daffodils are dazzling us with their showy displays, but many other native species are blooming as well, such as kinnickinnick, trilliums, and bleeding heart.

Kinnickinnick is an evergreen, drought-tolerant, low-growing native shrub that is an excellent groundcover for tough spots such as parking strips. Its small pink flowers are not showy, but are important sources of food in early spring for pollinators like bumblebees, syrphid flies, and mason bees. White trilliums are long-lived herbaceous perennials of the forest floor; many do not bloom until they are seven years old! They are mostly pollinated by moths, beetles, and bumblebees. Dicentra, or bleeding-heart, is another long-lived understory perennial. Its delicate pink flower is an important spring necter source for hummingbirds.

Flowers that bloom early in the spring and late in the fall are very important to wildlife, so the longer you have flowers blooming, the prettier your yard will be for wildlife as well as for humans!

Read more...

Nature Notes - March 1st, 2018

2018-03-01 18:16:15
Welcome to EMSWCD's Nature Notes series!

When EMSWCD purchased this property for our office, the yard consisted of a weed-filled lawn with a few trees. Our staff kept the trees, removed all the grass, and began landscaping and installing hundreds of native plants. Every year since then we’ve continued to add plants and make adjustments as needed, and the landscape is now totally transformed!

In our new Nature Notes series, we’ll share small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis. It’s important to us to be present on the landscape, to really see the world we move through every day—both its changes and its consistency. The more aware we become of the natural world around us, and of how plants and animals interact, the better we can help people care for land and water.
Read more...