Fire, grazing and logging have all caused problems when they occurred in the wrong place at the wrong time for too long and too intensely. But researchers and land managers are finding that, if used strategically, these disturbances can become tools to control weeds, prevent juniper invasion and limit the extent of wildfire.
There’s a paradox in Oregon’s hunger picture: Families who are short on food may end up overweight. That’s because dollars stretch farther on “high-energy” foods (noodles, bread and other carbs) than on “high-nutrient” foods (fresh fruit, fish, poultry and other vitamin- and protein-rich items).
Oregon’s $5 billion-a-year agriculture industry needs new breeds of grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Some food crops become vulnerable to disease and pests. Others must evolve to match the changing needs of farmers and consumers.
Just as some babies are born with special gifts for music or math, Harvard’s Howard Gardner argues, others come into the world with an exceptional sensitivity to nature. The Oregon Master Naturalist program was designed to tap into this devotion to the land and build a statewide corps of expert volunteers.
“The three key words in the mission of Oregon Master Naturalists are explore, connect, contribute.”
Anne and Philip Matthews have explored every twist and tangle of the South Slough, which became the nation’s first national estuarine research reserve in the 1970s.