On a cold winter day in December, the Western Native Plant Society brought nearly 40 tour goers to the North Willamette Research and Extension Center to learn about the work we do and connect on projects related to their interests. NWREC Director, Mike Bondi, provided an overview of OSU’s Agricultural Experiment Station network in the state and the focus of programming and staff at the Center. Robin Rosetta, Nursery Integrated Pest Management Extension Agent, shared about her program and the resources available of interest to the native plant professionals. Also, Rosetta described two newly introduced pests that may have significant impact on native plant populations—azalea lace bug and the brown marmorated stink bug.
A tour followed to the City of Portland’s native plant production area. The City’s Bureau of Environmental Sciences has leased one acre of land at NWREC for the past 15 years. They use the land to produce plant material and seeds for plant habitat and watershed restoration projects in the City. Toby Query, Natural Resources Ecologist, with the City led the discussion of his project at NWREC and the work he is doing.
The tour’s second stop viewed Neil Bell’s work at NWREC evaluating native manzanitas for potential landscape use. Bell, an OSU Horticulture Extension Agent working in Marion and Polk Counties, has been examining different groups of plants looking for unique and interesting specimen characteristics with potential for the nursery and landscape industries. Nearly 75 species of manzanita are being evaluated. NWREC Bio-Tech Assistant, Judy Kowalski, led the tour stop.