2011 Spring Update
It’s been a long, slow, and rainy wait, but spring eventually came to Taylor Wilderness Research Station!
Our first visitors this spring were Idaho Fish and Game technicians Nina Selvage and Kevin Poole, who launched the rotary screw trap at Taylor on March 10th. They were later joined by Laurie Janssen (McCall), Ron Roberts (Nampa), and conservation officers Jon Hunter (Payette) and Mark Sands (Weiser) for salmonid line sampling in late April. The trap operated daily for two months until ceasing operations on May 16th to wait out spring floodwaters.
Emeritus Professor Wayne Minshall, Colden Baxter, and the Idaho State University spring stream ecology class visited Taylor at the end of April. The class was comprised of six graduate and undergraduate students, including Ryan Blackadar, 2010-2011 DeVlieg research scholar, and Matt Schenk, 2011 research undergraduate. This was also the first trip to Taylor for our 2011 ISU DeVlieg research undergraduate, Tess Gardner, who will join us for the season later this week.
Our 2011 University of Idaho undergraduate students arrived on May 31st. We welcomed DeVlieg research undergraduate Andy Osler (“Size/Age structure of salmonid populations in small tributaries compared to Big Creek populations,” advisor: Brian Kennedy, associate professor of fisheries resources); Bleak research interns Brian Howard (“Plant community composition along an environmental gradient in a central Idaho wilderness;” advisor: Beth Newingham, assistant professor of rangeland ecology and management); Crista O’Connor and Shaylee Martling (“A collection of vascular plant species of the Big Creek Drainage, Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho,” advisor: David Tank, assistant professor of forest resources), and restoration intern Mikaela Campbell (“A survey of extent of invasive plant species along the Big Creek Drainage,” advisor: Jim Kingery, emeritus professor of rangeland ecology and management).
Brian Kennedy, Beth Newingham and David Tank accompanied our student group on arrival, and Tank led off the season with our first short course: “Field Botany: Collecting, Identifying and Preserving Vouchers for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies of Plants.” Beth Newingham and Katy Kavanagh, professor of forest resources, visited Taylor in mid-June to teach Short Course #2: “Plant Adaptations to Water Limitations Along Environmental Gradients.” They were accompanied by Penny Morgan, professor of fire ecology and management, graduate students Kerry Kemp and Zion Klos, and undergraduate student Daniel Boyes.
The McCall-Donnelly High School environmental science class, which typically visits Taylor each spring, had particular difficulty making this year’s trip! Bad weather forced the class to delay their visit over a month, finally scheduling after school had dismissed for the year. Teacher Deb Fereday led a group of seven seniors to Taylor in mid-June and hopes to visit again in the fall.
2011 assistant manager Amber Lankford (2008 DeVlieg research scholar; 2010 Berklund research scholar) arrived at Taylor on April 29 and will work with us until September. In addition to assisting our many visitors, we’ve kept busy with a number of facility projects, including repair of our main footbridge, planning an experimental wood stove design for the winter, fixing and replacing appliances, keeping water lines clear of sand and silt from spring floodwaters, maintaining the airstrip, reorganizing our workshop and designing new educational displays for the lab.
We were very grateful for the help of several visiting volunteers. Jim and Janet Hall visited Taylor for four days in late April to assist spring chores, including cleaning cabins, splitting wood, pruning trees, and chipping brush. Tatiana Gettelman (2008 Berklund research scholar) donated three weeks of time in May and June to clear and rebuild trails, assist with pasture maintenance, and other chores. We owe our volunteers a monumental debt of gratitude!
Finally, as always, we also owe special thanks to our donors. Our three research interns are funded by the Ralph M. Bleak Memorial Endowment, our DeVlieg scholars by the DeVlieg Foundation, and our restoration intern by the Friends of Taylor Endowment. We also received a new donation this spring in the form of over 40 new research texts, field guides, and other books for the Taylor library, thanks to Tom Bitterwolf, University of Idaho chemistry professor and his wife, Carrie (Moscow, Idaho). Thank you to all of our benefactors! We owe much of our success to your generosity.
Although it's late June, Big Creek is still running high and turbid with no end in sight. All the plants here are making the most of our unusually moist spring and are growing fast, and we've had an especially rich bloom of wildflowers this month. Like the plants, we've had a very busy spring, but hold on…we still have two months of the summer season yet to come!
Amie-June Brumble and Tyler Morrison
Taylor Wilderness Research Station Managers
June 23, 2011