Field trip week!
This week I took three groups of biology students into the field to do some basic ecological data gathering to come up with some descriptive statistics of the forest. The Cronemiller Lake area in McDonald-Dunn forest (owned by Oregon State University) has extensive stands of Douglas-fir regrowth, some of it fairly old, with a nice selection of native shrubs and not too many invasives.
There was a great deal of this native to contend with -- good ol' Poison-oak:
Leaflets three, let them be, right? Only, it's also a really, really good idea to be familiar with Poison-oak's many growth forms, including vigorous and rampant vines, which made taking the circumference of the large trees a bit of an adventure:
I was trying to get some shots of students at work, which, when taken from the relative safety of the trail, were coming out with a whole Gorillas in the Mist effect.
There... look closely at the base of the large Douglas-fir... you can just see them:
Ah, there's one member of the troop, moving apart from the others:
Oh, and look at this! Isn't this exciting?
Several more emerge from the shelter of the thick shrubs:
And now the sun comes out and we break into a clearing where several groups were hard at work here:
And that was another thrilling episode of Students in the Mist!
While supervising students and wielding the camera, there are, of course, ample opportunities to get pictures of the forest flora. A vine maple here, its leaves shiny with the morning rain that (hooray!) ceased before we set out:
Hazelnut leaves and catkins catching the afternoon sun:
The plumy white flower and triple triangular leaves of Vanilla Leaf, with the foliage of Fairy Bells in the foreground:
Baneberry, a sensitive species, was in full bloom. It seems to be doing well despite last year's trampling herds of students:
Lots of lovely yellow Wood Violets:
And the wild Bleeding Hearts were in full bloom:
Wild Iris turned up in the clearing:
As did Waterleaf, just coming into flower:
But the prize for the flower-spotter is tiny little Calypso, a native orchid which stands only a couple of inches high: