Waiting for you in the stillness of Oregon State University’s Valley Library’s fifth floor is an exhibit as richly layered as the forests it portrays. It tells the story of trees as old as Methuselah, of the plants and animals they shade and shelter, and the people who, over time, have used them, studied them, cherished them, explored them, and found in them an irresistible muse.
In environmental science, the H.J. Andrews Forest is a place of beginnings. It’s here that researchers monitor the heartbeat of aging trees, leading to new understanding for the term “old growth.” It’s where studies of an obscure owl shape forest policy, trickling streams become windows on abrupt and sudden events and scientists prod, poke and measure trees like doctors in the emergency room.
With reports of climate doomsday on the horizon, many people seek a brighter outlook on the future but aren’t sure where to turn. In February 2014, the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word at Oregon State University hosted a two-day symposium to highlight strategies for coping — and even thriving — in a world confronted by these global-scale challenges.
Ambling along the oaky trails at Finley Wildlife Refuge last Saturday morning — one of the first days without rain in a long, long time — my two friends and I paused at the edge of a pond along Woodpecker Loop. Just under the murky surface, several rough-skinned newts were swimming in slow motion, their bodies undulating in rhythm with the rippling of the water and the dappling of the sun.
What we’ve come to understand in recent years is the scale of change and the pace of change that we’re now kicking off. We’re not going to be able to adapt past a certain point.
Centuries before modern science, humans traveled, exploited, contemplated and celebrated the seas as explorers, fishermen, whalers, merchants, poets, storytellers, musicians and philosophers. Two new courses sponsored by OSU’s Spring Creek Program and Environmental Leadership Institute will delve into this ancient human-ocean relationship.