On October 20, 2012, twenty-five volunteers gathered on the Willamette National Forest in Sweet Home, Oregon for the community’s first Friends of the Forest Day. The volunteer stewardship event was not only an opportunity for the local community to get their hands dirty with on the ground restoration project in their “backyard forest,” but was also a celebration of the Sweet Home Ranger District’s “All Lands Collaborative Approach” to promoting a healthy landscape (and healthy community) across management boundaries in the Soda Fork Watershed.
The All Lands Collaborative Approach is made up of partners from: Cascade Timber Consulting, Linn County, City of Sweet Home, Sweet Home Ranger District, and the South Santiam Watershed Council. Volunteers chose to work on projects located on three different partner site locations – all related to Soda Creek watershed restoration. With their help we:
- Planted 80 native plants
- Improved habitat near dispersed campsites through planting and building a protective
- Applied 20 storm drain markers in the City of Sweet Home
- Removed invasive blackberry
- And on the Cascade Timber Consulting site worked on an elk forage enhancement project.
After completing our projects the volunteers came together at a County park for a “salmon bake ”! During lunch Cindy Glick, District Ranger spoke about the All Lands Collaborative Approach effort and recognized the importance and commitment of the local partners to working together in their local watershed. It was a wonderful day of celebrating partnerships and community engagement!