Corvallis Science & Nature: Garden Events, Habitat Restoration, Astronomy Crafts

A little at a time, spring is coming. This past week, the Great Backyard Bird Count added a few early spring migrants to the Benton and Linn County yearly lists of birds, including our first evening grosbeaks, short-eared owls and violet-green swallows of the year. Fittingly, this is a big week for gardeners around Corvallis, with three different online and live events, all focused on getting ready for an abundant year in the garden. There are also events for fans of astronomy and local conservation, as well as two chances to get your hands dirty restoring wildlife habitat.  

All Week: Get Ready for Garden Season 

Corvallis was covered in ice only a few weeks ago, and may be again before the winter is out, but whether you have a yard full of raised beds or a single pot on your windowsill, now is the time to learn and prepare for the gardening year ahead. Here are three chances this week to get excited about growing in 2024:  

  • Corvallis Public Seed Library presents two lectures on growing tomatoes and peppers. Thursday, February 22 from 12:30 to 2 pm and again on Saturday, February 24 from 9:30 am to Noon. 
  • The Corvallis Public Library’s Gearing Up for Gardening series ends next week, with a talk on garden myths on Tuesday, February 27 from Noon to 1 pm. 
  • OSU Master Gardeners present a webinar on growing early season vegetables on Wednesday, February 28, from Noon to 1 pm. 

Thursday: Greenbelt Trust Meeting 

In a town with more than its share of office space devoted to land and wildlife conservation, Greenbelt Land Trust still stands out as a local leader. Since 1989, the Trust has been working to protect land and water in the Willamette Valley, and now manages over 4,000 acres of vital habitat.   

On Thursday, February 22, Greenbelt will be holding their annual meeting, to update the community on their progress and plans for the coming year. The keynote speaker will be OSU soil scientist (and member of the Billboard charting electronic band Information Society) James Cassidy. The event runs from 6 to 8:30 pm at First Presbyterian Church on SW 8th Street. Click here for more details.  

Thursday and Friday: Astronomy Crafting 

If you’re more of a knitter or painter than gardener, or if you just love space and space science, OSU’s Astronomy Club invites you to join them this week for an afternoon or evening of space-themed crafting. The event happens both Thursday, February 22 from 4 to 6 pm and Friday, February 23 from 8 to 10 pm, at the OSU Valley Library’s Kow Lounge. More information is available here.  

Friday: Jackson Meadow Restoration 

Prairies and meadows are some of the most endangered habitats in the Northwest. Jackson Meadow is a 27-acre pocket of rare oak prairie, located in McDonald-Dunn Research Forest. Just in the last few years, great progress has been made in clearing invasive plants and seeding prairie plant species. OSU and the Institute for Applied Ecology are looking for volunteers to help clear wood and other debris to help maintain the meadow. The work runs from 9 am to 2 pm on Friday, February 23. Click here for more details, including an important note on accessibility, and to register.  

Saturday: Avery Park Native Plant Party 

You don’t even have to go as far as McDonald-Dunn to help save local native plants this weekend. This Saturday, February 24, the Native Plant Society of Oregon’s Corvallis chapter is running a work party to clean up Avery Park’s native plant garden for the winter. Click here for more details and to RSVP.  

By Ian Rose 

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