June 2015 - For a second summer, community members are invited to participate in OakQuest, an effort to map Oregon’s imperiled white oak trees.
The Intertwine Alliance Oak Mapping Work Group, a partnership of Portland metropolitan area parks and natural resource agencies, non-governmental organizations and others, is working to develop better maps showing the distribution of Oregon white oak across the region.
"Oregon white oaks are at about 7 percent of their historical population in the Willamette Valley, and that number is even lower in the Portland metropolitan area,” says Metro Natural Resource Scientist Lori Hennings. "We want to map where those oaks are to help identify opportunities for increasing connectivity of oak habitat, which provides refuge and home for the western gray squirrel, white breasted nuthatch and many other species.
"Additionally," Hennings says, "the cultural heritage and significance for Native American tribes from our region of the Oregon white oak is great, and we want to be able to preserve and honor that heritage with them." Read Hennings'Outside Voice blog post for more.
Volunteers are needed to help create a ground-truthed map with the OakQuest project, launching in mid-July and running through August. Trainings will begin soon, and anyone may participate, though youth under age 18 are invited with a supervising parent or guardian.
Take a short survey and sign up for more details about the project here.