CHESAW – On Saturday, July 7, local botanist, George Thornton, will take a group into the secluded cedar groves northeast of Buckhorn Mountain, where an extraordinary ecosystem thrives because of the shade, stable soils, organic matter and habitat provided by the Western Red Cedar.
The Cedar Ecology Hike is part of the Okanogan Highlands Association’s Summertime Highland Wonders educational series. It will explore the Cedar Creek drainage, where higher elevation life begins to transition from the semi-arid rain shadow caused by the North Cascades, into the greener, lush regions found to the east. This is the OHA’s first outdoor Highland Wonders event of the summer.
The ecologically valuable cedar was heavily harvested during the early 1900’s for Kettle Valley Railroad ties, but is recovering well, providing important habitat for a variety of plants and animals. This unique remnant cedar forest reminds us of past climatic times, and of indigenous traditions, as Indian trails traversed this area for access to local flora and fauna. During this summer’s field trip, Thornton will help unlock the mysteries of the ecology associated with Western Red Cedar, and provide a window into the life that flourishes because of it.
If you enjoyed Botanical Gems of the Okanogan Highlands and the Native Plant Hike at Lost Lake, also lead by George Thornton, you won’t want to miss the Cedar Ecology Hike. Thornton opened the first Highland Wonders series by sharing his knowledge and photos of unique and rarely seen Okanogan Highland plants, and later he walked the Lost Lake wetland fringe and woods with us, describing native plants in three dimensions.
After the Cedar Ecology hike, there will be a potluck snack picnic (finger foods only, please). Due to the nature of the outdoor event, participation is limited, and priority registration will be offered for OHA members. A waiting list is being generated on a first-come, first-serve basis. To begin or renew your OHA membership and be first in line to register for the summertime events, please visit www.okanoganhighlands.org/support, or contact OHA for more information. Contact OHA to sign up, for time, meeting place, and carpooling options.
OHA is a non-profit that works to educate the public on watershed issues, and the Highland Wonders educational series features the natural history of the Okanogan Highlands and surrounding areas. OHA’s Education Program, which is offered free of charge, is designed to build the capacity of the community to steward natural habitats and resources, by helping to develop an informed and empowered population. Donations are always welcome. Details are provided on OHA’s website: www.okanoganhighlands.org/education.