Prairie Oak Preserve
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Overview of Prairie Oak Preserve
The POP :
- The Prairie Oak Preserve, also called the POP, is perhaps an Army first of-its-kind environmental educational preserve, dedicated as an environmental inheritance for Joint Base Lewis-McChord children. The prairie, containing 13.5 acres, is located directly to the north side of Evergreen Elementary's parking lot. It is home to the Oregon white oaks, kinnikinnick, Oregon grape and snow bushes.
Site preparation fall into approximately three stages ...
- The site preparation falls into approximately three stages. Initially, the summer work has been to remove non-native invasive weeds. Removal of the non-native species is essential to the success of restoring a South Puget Sound prairie habitat... and will be an on-going process. Since there is an over abundance of Scott's broom, mowing was chosen for a semiannual requirement to ensure the quickest kill of invasive, non-native weeds.
- The second stage happens in the late fall and continues through spring. Plugs of fescue are planted. The plugs are usually obtained from local stock to ensure the genetic quality of the fescue are of the South Puget Sound species.
- And of course, another stage will be the gathering of seeds will need to be collected from other prairie flora to plant in the POP. There are other opportunities as well. There are places where scouts can build trails, build blue bird houses or design a special area to place a bench.
Prairie Dedication Ceremony
Overview of Prairie Dedication Ceremony ...
- The prairie was dedicated by Mrs. Toni Hill in April 2001. Of the Prairie Oak Preserve, Mrs. Toni Hill says, "The dedication and stewardship of the POP on Joint Base Lewis-McChord is an environmental experience that will provide the footsteps for future generations to follow and appreciate. Years from now those that have participated can return to see the fruits of this important preservation effort."
- Site preparation for restoring the prairie began by being mapped out using the GPS mapping system. A scaled map was developed dividing the area into 15' x 15' sections. The size of the preserve ensures that all classes from all five elementary schools, families and community groups can "adopt" a section(s). Each section will be taped and tagged with a small sign identifying "ownership," the date and processes of site restoration performed. (The prairie is available to high school students as well seeking environmental volunteer experience for college
Inheritance of environmental stewardship...
- The inheritance of environmental stewardship being passed from this generation to the next are big footsteps to follow -- and in the future, more than likely there will be less land areas to preserve. South Puget Sound prairies may be the Pacific Northwest's equivalent to California's red wood forest with respect to diminishing species. What the prairies may hold and supply for us in the future still are unknowns. Environmental stewardship is a present and future responsibility. One in which it is never "too soon" to learn.
GPS, Global Position System
Acreage was mapped ...
Acreage was mapped off on February 6, 2001 by the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Environmental Caretakers. This mapping was done in REAL time using the GPS, Global Positioning System. The red outline was being drawn while we walked marking the distance every four seconds. That way, either under the trees or in the open, the satellites were outlining the area.
View the Prairie Oak Preserve -- or the POP. There are 13.5 acres of prairie that will someday develop into a thing of beauty and native wildlife. A place for wildlife that live in oak trees and prairies to live safely.
Pacific Northwest has been identified as the most endangered ecosystem...
- A South Puget Sound prairie full of native grasses and flora is a site to behold. Growing fewer in number and decreasing in quality, the prairie ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest has been identified as the most endangered ecosystem in western Washington. Yet Joint Base Lewis-McChord contains the majority of the remaining prairie habitat in the state so it is still much a part of Joint Base Lewis-McChord' landscape. Earlier this spring I had the good fortune to be able to visit a prairie on post. As I stood facing the prairie, immediately I thought this was mother nature at her softest moment. There were no "hard" colors, only soft pastels. A gentleness of hue and texture spread out to make even the most resolute nonenvironmentalist smile. This was a memory to be retained to which all other prairies would be later compared.
Adopting a Section
For questions or help ...
- For questions, help with adopting a section, or comments please email Environmental Public Relations