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News: Naturalist Blog

Where the wind blows

If you’re outside tonight you’ve probably noticed that the winds are going at more than 20mph.  I can hear them now banging against my wall.  In Cheasty, where the majority of our canopy is composed of aging Bigleaf Maples, trees are assuredly coming down in these gusts, and tomorrow we will find new snags and … read more

Getting ready for winter

The winter sun shines through the trees letting the forest community know it’s time to time to start wrapping it up for the season.

The snowberry is already preparing winter treats for the local wildlife population.

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Galling Elegance

Mossy rose gall is the result of two living organisms influencing each other.  A small gall wasp lays eggs where the plant would normally grow a leaf or bud.  A chemical reaction between the plant and the feeding residue of the larval wasps causes the normal leaf tissue to form the gall instead, which closes … read more

Falling in the forest

After a record wet winter, followed by a record dry summer, one can almost feel the forest shudder with delight at the recent cool rains in Cheasty.

The Indian Plum, one of the first to reach for the spring sun, is also one of the first to yellow and start dropping those same eager leaves.  … read more

It’s not all work at a work party

If all we did at a work party was work it wouldn’t be much of a party, would it?  The time volunteers spend working in Cheasty Woods provides a lot of benefits in addition to the sweat equity of restoring the forest.

 

 Volunteers of all ages have opportunities to observe local wildlife, explore the … read more

Community Service

In the Cheasty Woods, invasive weeds have so long plagued the forest that significant human intervention is an important part of restoring a healthy ecosystem.  Cheasty Woods have been a site of community service contributions from Boy Scouts, like these, as well as myriad other groups, organizations, and businesses in addition to hundreds of hours … read more

Life, layered

We often teach about forest ecosystems by noting the different layers of a forest, from below the soil, to the soil surface and groundcover, shrub layer, middle layer, and upper canopy.  Each of these different niches is colonized by different species that are particularly well-adapted to their specific layers.

In this case a native fringecup, … read more

Not just ivy!

Here in the Cheasty Woods, invasive ivy and blackberry have made up a big portion of the challenge to plant diversity.  Volunteers work together throughout the year to hinder the dominating potential of these weeds while we nurture a more diverse range of resident species.

Alas, Seattle’s urban forests also struggle with many other invasive … read more

Microfauna

One way we have of judging the health of a forest is by assessing populations of large species, including many of the birds that call Cheasty Woods their home.  But these larger animals rely on a complex web of smaller life forms from insects, arachnids, and earthworms, down to protozoa, roundworms, and other microscopic soil … read more

Kids in the forest

Being in the forest with children is a special treat that brings youthfulness and joy to even the oldest heart.  They find excitement and pleasure in all the tangible objects around them, and explore the nuanced textures of their environment like scientists.

Their drive to make sense of the complex ecosystem is a testament to … read more