The Forest Service’s public comment period on mature and old-growth forests ended on August 30th, and climate activists and conservation advocates have much to be proud of. Since February, Oregon Wild has been a driving force of the Climate Forests campaign, an alliance of more than 100 groups from across the country calling for durable protections for mature and old-growth forests on federal lands as a cornerstone of U.S. climate policy.
When Mark Bennett, the director of Global Works Community Fund, reached out to Oregon Wild about doing a hike or workshop with this year’s cohort of youth at first I thought “Yes, great! I love leading hikes!” My later thought was “Oh no! Teens!” I shouldn’t have been worried. Not only were these teens eager hikers, they also asked great questions and absorbed information about fire ecology, forests and climate change, and river and salmon health like sponges.
Not long after moving to Eugene for graduate school, I took a field trip to the Warner Creek fire area outside of Oakridge. At that time it was 10 years since the 1991 fire. I remember the tall black snags rising tall above, and sapling trees crowded all around me -- head high and coated in dew that soaked through my sub-par rain gear.
Although porcupines may be slowpokes, most other animals know to keep a wide berth from those sharp quills! The porcupine's prickly self defense mechanism makes it easily recognizable, however their vital importance in the ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest is often less known. Porcupines are intertwined with healthy forest lifecycles, turning trees into critical habitat for dozens of other species. Aside from the quills, they also have many other valuable physical characteristics, allowing them to be true adventurers of every elevation of a forest.