When I accepted the CLM internship in Tillamook, OR, I had no idea the rural OR coast would become my home for the foreseeable future. Alas, life has a funny way of happening while you’re making plans. And opportunities arise that make too much sense not to pass up. You see, towards the end of my internship (mid September) I applied for a job with the nonprofit, Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, and accepted the position of the Northwest Restoration Partnership (NORP) Coordinator. I must say that I would not have come across this career opportunity without the CLM internship program and my mentor, BLM Botanist, Kurt Heckeroth.
Kurt Heckeroth and I both share an interest in identifying bryophytes and lichens, which we were able to indulge in a little bit this field season. More so however, he has a passion for native plant propagation, from collecting the seed, to putting a 2 to 3 year old plug in the ground. This passion of his inspired him to initiate the Northwest Oregon Restoration Partnership (NORP) in the late 1990’s which supplies genetically adapted native coastal plant materials for restoration projects throughout the NW OR area. The partnership has grown to 36 partners in 8 different counties and has 7 satellite nurseries.
My workweeks are spent at the largest of the NORP nurseries located at the Oregon Youth Authority Camp (where male juvenile delinquents are able to come out and work with living native plants). The nursery has the capacity to grow 100K plants that will be planted to support riparian and wetland restoration efforts. These restoration projects occur on private, state, and federal lands, because efforts are being made to manage from the watershed level to insure healthy fish passages for Salmon.
From a seed collector, I come full circle within the National Native Plant Materials Development Program, to restoring native plant communities by providing necessary native plant materials to the whole NW OR coast region.