Corvallis Science & Nature: A Big Week for Plants, with a Special Side of Bugs

Friday: Open House for Insect Collection 

Did you know that the largest collection of insects in the Pacific Northwest is right here in Corvallis? The Oregon State Arthropod Collection includes almost 3 million specimens from Oregon, the Northwest and around the world. This world-class collection is usually reserved for OSU students and faculty and visiting researchers, and has been especially difficult to visit since the pandemic. But this Friday, OSU’s Department of Integrative Biology is running a series of guided tours of the facility, a rare chance for the public to see and enjoy this entomological jewel of our community. Highlights include Vespa mandarina, the so-called “murder hornets” found recently in Washington state, the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly and an insect species recently described for the first time by an OSU student. Tours start at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 pm at 2112A Cordley Hall on SW Campus Way. More information available here.  

Saturday: Growing Vegetables in Containers

This time of year, gardens are starting to grow faster every week as the weather warms up. Those of us without space to grow in the ground can feel a bit left out of gardening season, but as long as you have a front step or balcony that can fit a pot or two, you can still grow a little healthy food for yourself. This Saturday, Benton County Master Gardeners are running a free workshop called “Growing Veggies in Containers” to help aspiring gardeners to get food plants growing in pots. The workshop runs from 10:00 am to Noon this Saturday, May 13, at Lupe’s Garden at 360 S. 9th Street in Philomath. The event is free and no registration is required, and they will even provide free pots, plants and soil while supplies last.  

Sunday: Plant Growing Talk 

Gardeners and farmers face more challenges than just space to grow. Climate change, invasive insects and emerging plant diseases all introduce new obstacles to growers. This Sunday, the TapTalks series at Common Fields continues with OSU crop and soil expert Alison Willette, giving a talk entitled “Gardening and Farming in a Changing World.” The talk runs from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at Common Fields on SW 3rd Street, and is presented by 500 Women Scientists Corvallis. More information available on the group’s Facebook page here. 

Tuesday: Native Plant Tour 

One way to build resilience for farmers and gardeners, as well as support wildlife, is to grow more native plants. To round out a big week of plant and gardening events, the Institute for Applied Ecology will be hosting a tour of their native plant farm next Tuesday. Institute staff will be on hand to lead the tour and talk about their native plant propagation efforts, including how they use fire and sustainable weed control to grow their plants. The tour runs from 10:00 am to Noon next Tuesday, May 16, at the OSU Botany and Plant Pathology plots on Electric Road off Highway 34. More information and directions available here. 

By Ian Rose 

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