Sunday, April 12, 2009

Willamette Valley oaks

Today's Sunday Oregonian had a front page feature on the role large oak trees play in the ecosystem of the Willamette Valley. The article particularly mentions the role of large isolated trees. It is well worth a read.

There is also a nice photograph of a lone, still bare of leaves, in a field of tulips that accompanies the story. This got me to thinking about my own photographs of Willamette Valley oaks. I find these trees to be a signature feature of the valley and a worthy subject of photography. The photographs that accompany this post were taken this past January at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge near Rickreall, Oregon.

Baskett Slough is part the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The Willamette Valley NWRC encompasses the Ankeny, Baskett Slough, and William Finley NWRs. The purpose of the refuge complex is to provide wintering habitat for the dusky Canada goose. Another goal is to preserve habitat for native species. An important part of achieving this goal is the preservation of oak woodlands. In addition to the refuge complex, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service offers the Partnership for Fish & Wildlife program to support and encourage private property owners in the protection of and restoration of wetlands and fish and wildlife habitat on private land.

I find winter to be an especially rewarding time to visit Baskett Slough NWR for photography. The bare oak trees against the crisp blue sky make for a wonderful subject.

View Baskett Slough NWR in a larger map

Photographs ©Michael Launder. All rights reserved.

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