Thursday, March 29, 2012

2012 Native Plant Sale Bundling: A Great Success!

The bundling team hard at work.

We at Cascadia would like to say a BIG thank you to our Native Plant Sale Bundling Team!  This group of folks came out last Saturday morning to give us a hand readying thousands of plants for our upcoming distribution days.  We all enjoyed a sunny spring morning and got our hands dirty in the name of conservation!

Thank you again to Keisha, Nancy, Larry, Lynda, Mitch, and Jeff for all your hard work!  We couldn’t have done it without you!
Cascadia's 2012 Native Plant Sale Bundling Crew.

Our regular plant sales are closed for the year, but we will have a half hour-long, on-site liquidation event on April 14th, 2012.  For more information, check out last week’s blog, or call our office at (509)664-9370. 
To learn about our upcoming volunteer opportunities, please visit Cascadia’s volunteer page

Thank you for reading!

Your Friend in Conservation,

Monday, March 19, 2012

On-Site Plant Sale

We’re trying something new for this year’s Native Plant Sale!
After filling our customer orders, we have some left over plants this year, and have decided to make them available to anyone interested! 
 This mini-liquidation event will occur on Saturday, April 14th from 12:30pm-1pm (the last half-hour of our distribution event ONLY) at the Olds Station Stemilt Complex in North Wenatchee.  
Joy Viola, Northeastern University,
Russet Buffaloberry
(Shepherdia canadensis)

These plants will be sold on an individual basis, instead of in bundles, so if you only wanted one or two of a certain species, here’s your chance!
Not all of the plants offered in our Native Plant Sale will be available for individual sale.  The following is a list of plants and their coinciding prices that most likely will be on hand:

Species                              Price (including tax)           # Available
Ponderosa Pine                          $1.30                                    50
Photo by Ben Cody
Evergreen Huckleberry
 (Vaccinium ovatum)
Black Hawthorn                          $1.57                                    40

Blue Elderberry                           $1.46                                    10
Evergreen Huckleberry               $5.13                                    15
We will also be selling huckleberry as bundles of 5 for $21.62 (after tax)

Golden Currant                           $1.41                                    30
Redosier Dogwood                     $1.46                                    10
Russet Buffaloberry                   $1.41                                     30

Photo by Walter Siegmund
Rocky Mountain Maple
(Acer glabrum)

More information on these species is found in our 2012 Plant Sale Brochure.  If you are interested, please also take a look at the Plant Sale Directions, for specifics on how to find us on Distribution Day. 
For directions from Wenatchee/Cashmere/Leavenworth, click here.
For directions from Entiat/Chelan, click here.
Cash or check only please, we cannot accept credit cards at this time. Supplies are limited, so plan accordingly!  For more information, please contact our office at 509.664.9370 or

Hope to see you there, and happy

Your Friend in Conservation,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When you volunteer, everybody wins!

Happy, healthy volunteers after a morning of plant sale bundling!
(left: 2011 bundling crew, right; 2010 bundling crew)

You may have heard the news that volunteering is actually good for your health.  I looked into this, and... Yes! It's true!  A study released in 2007 revealed that among other health benefits, volunteering "leads to greater life satisfaction and lower rates of depression."  So, how about it?  Come and volunteer with us this spring!

Our Native Plant Sale Bundling event is just around the corner and we could really use your help!

Saturday, March 24th

We have over 6,000 mostly bareroot plants (see picture at right) that need to be consolidated according to customers’ orders.  It’ll be quite the feat, and many hands make light work!


Our two Plant Sale Distribution days will soon follow:

Saturday, March 31st
Saturday, April 14th

Customers will be picking up their orders.  We will need help directing traffic (both car and on foot) and sorting and loading up orders.


Please contact our office at (509)664-9370 or for more information and to sign-up for these volunteer events.  You can even request to be added to our volunteer list, so you can get notices of upcoming events sent directly to your inbox!

We hope to see you this spring!

 Thank you for reading!

Your Friend in Conservation,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Ode to Winter

Photo by Julia Leach  
In the lowlands, the snow has melted or turned to a slushy mess.  At my house, sludgy mud puddles pock-mark the driveway. I've heard several people in the Cascadia office remark on the return of the robins; I too excitedly marked the date that I spotted the first (particularly stunning) robin beneath our birdfeeder.  Could it be?!  I hardly dare suggest it, but... winter might just be on its way out!

Photo by Julia Leach  

And even though I am so excited at the prospect of warm weather, float trips, wildflower hikes, and vegetable gardening, I would like to stop and pay homage to the winter months. They not only provide us with the precious snowpack- and subsequent year's water supply- that we use for all our summer pursuits, but also those winter memories that are a main reason many of us live here.  This week, I asked my fellow "Cascadians" (and a few significant others) to help me create this tribute to winter, by reflecting on the many ways we get outdoors to enjoy all that winter wonder:

My boyfriend, Jesse, and I headed up to Mission Ridge on Sunday. It was sunny and about 50 degrees in Wenatchee when we left, almost no snow to speak of. We heard it had been raining up there the day before so we weren’t sure what snow conditions we were going to encounter.
Photo by Kate Koenig  
As we approached the parking lot we saw there was a line to get in. Wait, what? A LINE?! Just to park the car?  We sat lamenting the fact that we were probably going to be sitting there for a while only to end up with a bummer of a parking spot and then have to wait in line at the chairlifts too. Just then the parking attendant came over and pulled us out of line and told us to head all the way to the front of the lot and park as close as possible to a group of honey buckets. I’m not exactly proud to admit this but it was because we were driving Jesse’s enormous 4WD van that probably wasn’t going to fit easily into a regular parking spot. Beside the fact that we had to park as close as possible to a group of honey buckets we counted this as a score!  
Photo by Kate Koenig  
 Snow Blobs
Ten minutes later we were sitting on Chair 1, headed to Midway to catch the Liberator Express to the top. The sun was shining and I couldn’t wait to get to the top to see the view. Despite how many times I’ve been up there, the view NEVER gets old. Off the back side of the ridge you can see Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Stewart and many, many more peaks. The view of Stewart on Sunday was spectacular! If you turn around and face down the hill you can see the Columbia River snaking its way through the valley.  It always makes me realize how beautiful my home is. The other thing that I love at the top of Mission Ridge are the trees that get packed with snow and look like blobs.
Photo by Kate Koenig  
Mt. Stuart from Mission Ridge
After admiring the views we headed out to try to find some untracked lines through the trees. We round-tripped on the “Lib” a bunch more times and found a few spots that suited us well. When our legs had enough we headed home. I think it’s safe to say that spring skiing has arrived!
Kate Koenig        

Photo by Julia Leach  
Recently, a friend and I went snowshoeing in the mountains around Old Blewett Pass.  Snow had fallen the two previous days so we knew this would be a good chance to find fresh animal tracks as well as leave the dirty snow of town behind.  Our goal was to climb as far as we could up Miller Peak, a 6,402-foot peak nestled just to the south the Three Brothers.
The initial road had light snow cover, and ran next to a swift moving creek. The beginnings of the spring melt were evident in the main stem as well as in the side channels carving through the snow.  The snow began to deepen and the temperature dropped.  We found tracks of snowshoe hare, bobcat, coyote, and deer; all these animals had been through since the snowfall stopped the night before.  We reached our first turn off; this road would lead us up to the ridge. 
A few hours later, as we neared the ridge, snowdrifts began to completely swallow the road, and beautiful banks of sunlit snow changed the steepening slopes into rounded hills.  We could see massive snow cornices clinging to the ridgeline. The snow was now very deep and getting heavier by the step. By the time we made it to the ridge (about 7 miles in) our legs were very tired. We ate our lunch and enjoyed snow covered trees as far as the eye could see, a couple of ravens riding the air currents, the Three Brothers and the very tops of the Stewart Range, and a wind that swam through the branches and sang soft. 
Photo by David Doody

We decided to make this the destination and didn’t let “peak fever” take hold of our thoughts. We were the only people out there, enjoying the Cascades in silence. Not a word needed to be spoken for the mountains were saying everything. We took our time the rest of the day, stopping for fresh water, identifying trees, resting in the sun.  We even came across a fresh deer carcass brought down by a cougar perhaps. Being out in the woods during the cold of winter can show you a lot, and give one an appreciation for the plants and animals that survive the harsh conditions that we can only visit for short periods of time.

David Doody 

Photo by Mike Cushman  

Photo by Mike Cushman  

Winter, just do it.

It doesn't seem to matter what you do the day after a big snow storm.  Getting on the snow gear and heading outside to play always seems to bring the biggest smiles.
Mike Cushman  

Photo by David Doody  
 Snowmobiling is a great way to get out and enjoy parts of the wilderness you could not get to by car and could only get to snowshoeing if you were extremely fit, maybe not even then. Even though you use a noisy motor to get to your destination, it is so silent and serene once you get to a lookout with a panorama of nothing but mountains, lakes, and valleys. 

There has been a working relationship between snowmobilers, cross country skiers and dogsledders over the years, and the snow parks offer great staging areas for unloading and gearing up the dogsled teams or off-loading snowmobiles.  The 150-miles of groomed trails provide plenty of room for many recreationists.  Sometimes we even take snowmobiles to go skiing. We double up on the ride up to a destination and pack our skis. Then one person rides the snowmobile back and forth shuttling the skier. It’s a great time and combines two great outdoor winter activities!

Adam Newell and Amanda Levesque      

By some accounts, I might be considered a backcountry enthusiast. I love to stand on high mountain peaks to see the next adventure.  I’ve never met a chimney I didn’t love, and wilderness meadows are a constant fascination. So, learning to ski as a means of recreating in my favorite setting in the winter seemed like a natural fit. However, I soon learned there was much to learn beyond staying upright on two sticks. Safety!

Long have I wanted to venture off the groomers, and Bowl Four at Mission Ridge was the closest that I had come. Is that backcountry skiing? I did not think so, because it is located within the ski area boundary, but outside the groomed runs, and almost everyone I know ventures out there.
Photo by David Doody  

Well, I was invited to spend a week at Scottish Lakes High Camp in mid-January with a group of friends. I knew this qualified as backcountry. Aside from getting time off of work the primary requirement from the group, I must take a level 1 Avalanche Course. A reasonable request really, and I am glad that I did! I had been skiing with a false sense of confidence! Blindly, I had been following better skiers relying on their judgment of the situations. If they can do it so can I.
We arrived at High Camp on the first day of a massive 5 day snow storm. It was spectacular! We decided to take a little tour on relatively flat terrain. Far off in the distance you could hear Avalanches all around us. Needless to say, we monitored the local avalanche center reports all week and the avalanche hazard remained high everyday! So, we took it pretty easy and spent a lot of time practicing the things I had learned in the level 1 course. It was a great refresher for the experienced members of our group and really strengthened us as a team. I can’t wait for more backcountry! Especially, Scottish Lakes High Camp!
Phylisha Olin      

In addition, we would like to pay our respects to those who ventured out into the wilderness this year and didn't return home.  Though I didn't know the three most recently lost near Stevens Pass, I too felt the impact as my friends and community grieved.

When you are planning backcountry adventures, the best thing you can do for your safety and others you are recreating with is ensure that everyone in your group has proper safety training, be aware of your surroundings, and use common sense. Even then, we all must acknowledge that the wilderness is as untamed and unpredictable as it is beautiful.
Brad Whiting, Patrol Director at Mission Ridge, was kind enough to contribute the following on backcountry safety:
Photo by David Doody
A key component for the recreational back country user is going to their local avalanche center (for us that is and reading the up to date detailed avalanche and weather forecast. Coupled with terrain recognition (i.e. slope angle, aspect, etc) users should be able to minimize their potential hazard while being out in the backcountry.

Another key component to back country/side country safety for ski area skiers and riders is to recognize that the snowpack outside the boundary of a ski area is drastically different from within the boundary. Once a user leaves the ski area boundary standard precautions and safe travel procedures need to be followed.
Finally, take a level one avalanche class and increase your knowledge of snow.
Thank you to Kate, David, Mike, Adam, Amanda, Phylisha, and Brad for their contributions!  And thank YOU for reading!

Please feel free to share your winter stories in any textual format (be it trip report, sonnet, or haiku poem) below!

Your Friend in Conservation,