During this time of the year people often reflect on the things they are thankful for. The Center for Natural Lands Management is thankful for many things including our volunteers, staff, interns, and partners, who help us restore the prairies and protect imperiled species. Although we are thankful for these things everyday and not just on a holiday, we thought it would be good to voice our appreciation for the things in life that put a smile on our faces or make our work easier. We also wanted to use this opportunity to thank the people that support our efforts. We asked CNLM staff members and conservation partners what they were thankful for this year and this is what they had to say:
Elspeth Hilton Kim, Cooperative Conservation Program Manager for CNLM: I'm thankful for the many conservation partners in Washington and Oregon that collaborate to prioritize restoration actions, share expertise, and implement research and restoration to benefit prairie-oak habitats and the species that depend on them.
Ted Thomas, Senior Ecologist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: We are very thankful for the tremendous effort on the part of all our prairie partners to restore and conserve prairie species and habitat. We can give funds, but without the skill and dedication of our many partners, the work would not get done. It's wonderful to look out over a year (or more!) and see the fantastic accomplishments that have been made!!
Kathryn Donovan, Native Plant Propagation Specialist for CNLM: I am thankful for hard working crews that are dedicated to producing incredible amounts of seeds! I am also thankful for springtime when we get to see all of our hard work pay off in beautiful colorful blooms on the farm and on the prairies.
Dennis Buckinham, Conservation Ecologist and Volunteer Coordinator for JBLM Fish and Wildlife: I am thankful for the US Military's protection of high-value habitat on installations around the country. Department of Defense land hosts the highest proportion of rare and listed species of any US Government land-holding agency, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord is no exception, with extensive prairies and oak woodlands, and over 35 imperiled animal species. I am thankful that both ecological and military training objectives can be accomplished simultaneously on the same landscape, and that DoD funds can help support region-wide conservation at a broad scale.
Gary Slater, Avian Conservation Program Manager for CNLM: I am thankful for the subtle beauty of birds that helps inspire us to conserve ecosystems and the plants and animals that inhabit these ecosystems.
Angela Winter, Volunteer Program Coordinator for CNLM: I am thankful to work with a wonderfully dedicated group of volunteers. Volunteers who show up despite the heat, the rain, and the cold to help us restore our prairies. Volunteers whose good cheer and enthusiasm for prairie restoration remind me that we are making a difference in the plant and human communities. I am thankful to work with people who dedicate their time to restoring rare ecosystems so that future generations may enjoy them.
Anne Schuster, Conservation Specialist for Wolf Haven International: We are thankful for the rain! By late February everyone has had enough of it, but it helps the planted plugs to establish roots. The faster the plugs on our prairie can establish roots, the sooner our wild ravens will not be able to pull them out of the ground.
Sarah Hamman, Restoration Ecologist for CNLM: I am thankful for all of the new discoveries on the prairie. Every time I look closer, I find more beauty and fascinating diversity. Our recent mushroom surveys have opened up a new beautiful world to me, building upon our existing knowledge of the tightly knit web of life on the prairie.
Carola Tejeda, Conservation Assitant for CNLM: I am thankful for all the partners working to communicate the value of the South Sound prairies and oak woodlands, and to engage the public in conserving these landscapes. I am also thankful for our AmeriCorps, Veteran Conservation Corps, and young volunteers and prairie landowners, because they represent the next generation of land stewards, who will continue to manage and preserve the South Sound prairies in the future.
Kim Mai Pham, Veteran Conservation Corps (VCC) Coordinator for the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs: The VCC Internship Program is thankful for the opportunity to connect veterans to Washington's beautiful natural resources and to be a part of preserving the beautiful South Sound prairies!
Adrian Wolf, Conservation Biologist for CNLM: CNLM is thankful for the technologies that allow us to uniquely mark individual birds out in the prairie. Information from these individuals, such as this Western bluebird, provide insights into population demography and habitat use that help us develop and implement conservation strategies aimed at recovering imperiled species.
Susan Waters, Pollinator Ecologist for CNLM: I am thankful for habitats that both humans and rare butterflies can enjoy!