Lowland Cascadia Deciduous Winter ID – A Living Field Guide

  photos and writing by ria


ninebark1            ninebark2            ninebark


*to receive a copy of the field guide with macrophotos, email ecofeminist (@) riseup (.) net

 self-published in Cascadia

To support efforts undoing what’s been done, and creating what will be.

This is a living document by and for the people who care for western Cascadia lowland forests. This is not an inclusive listing, and plants vary with factors, such as age.  Hint: Look for evidence of remnant leaves, etc. on the plant and on the ground. And consider environmental conditions, and the plant community. 

twig morphology



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All My Relations

Margaret Robinson on Merging Mi’kmaq and Vegan Values

margaret_robinsonMargaret Robinson, author of Indigenous veganism: Feminist Natives do eat tofu, joins Animal Voices to speak about how Mi’kmaq values, as expressed in legends and her own family stories, dovetail with veganism.

Along the way, Robinson will tackle questions like: Does authenticity require that a culture be frozen in time? Is awareness of dietary control of diseases and food justice issues reversing the notion that vegetarian food is just for the wealthy and white? Robinson asserts that “we can be visible as modern native people, and we get to decide what that looks like”. With meat, cheese, and other animal products featuring so prominently in traditional foods around the world, Robinson’s words will resonate with anyone who has felt a tension between their vegan values and their culture.


Listen here: http://animalvoices.ca/2013/04/23/all-my-relations-margaret-robinson-on-merging-mikmaq-and-vegan-values/

Aboriginal Veganism

Dr. Margaret Robinson spoke at the AR Academy on Feb 20 2014 about how she resolves her ethical veganism with her First Nations cultural heritage. She offers an insight into Mi’kmaq legends which sees other animals as our kin to be respected rather than merely objects or instruments for our consumption. She also describes some personal stories that led her to become vegan in the first place.

Veganism And Mi’kmaq Legends

Margaret Robinson

“At stake in the creation of a Native veganism is the authority of Native people, especially Native women, to determine cultural authenticity for ourselves. Dominant white discourse portrays Native culture as focused on preserving the pre-colonial past. This must be replaced with the recognition that Native culture is a living tradition, responsive to changing social and environmental circumstances.”

This paper proposes a postcolonial ecofeminist reading of Mi’kmaq legends as the basis for a vegan diet rooted in indigenous culture.1  Such a project faces two significant barriers. The first is the association of veganism with whiteness.

Drew Hayden Taylor has portrayed abstaining from meat as a white practice (Taylor 2000a, 2000b). In a joke at the beginning of his documentary, Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew he asks, What do you call a Native vegetarian? A very bad hunter.” Ecologist Robert Hunter (1999) depicts vegans as “eco-Jesuits” and “veggie fundamentalists,” who “force Natives to do things the white man’s way” (p. 100-113). By projecting white imperialism onto vegans Hunter enables white omnivores to bond with Natives over meat-eating. In Stuff White People Like, satirical author Christian Lander (2008) portrays veganism as a tactic for maintaining white supremacy. He writes, “As with many white-people activities, being vegan/vegetarian enables them to feel as though they are helping the environment and it gives them a sweet way to feel superior to others” (p. 38).

When veganism is constructed as white, First Nations people who choose a meatless diet are portrayed as sacrificing cultural authenticity. This presents a challenge for those of us who see our vegan diets as ethically, spiritually and culturally compatible with our indigenous traditions.

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Native Americans and Vegetarianism

History of Vegetarianism – Native Americans and Vegetarianism

This article first appeared in the Vegetarian Journal, September 1994, published by The Vegetarian Resource Group

By Rita Laws, Ph.D.

How well we know the stereotype of the rugged Plains Indian: killer of buffalo, dressed in quill-decorated buckskin, elaborately feathered eaddress, and leather moccasins, living in an animal skin teepee, master of the dog and horse, and stranger to vegetables. But this lifestyle, once limited almost exclusively to the Apaches, flourished no more than a couple hundred years. It is not representative of most Native Americans of today or yesterday. Indeed, the “buffalo-as-lifestyle” phenomenon is a direct result of European influence, as we shall see.

Among my own people, the Choctaw Indians of Mississippi and Oklahoma, vegetables are the traditional diet mainstay. A French manuscript of the eighteenth century describes the Choctaws’ vegetarian leanings in shelter and food. The homes were constructed not of skins, but of wood, mud, bark and cane. The principal food, eaten daily from earthen pots, was a vegetarian stew containing corn, pumpkin and beans. The bread was made from corn and acorns. Other common favorites were roasted corn and corn porridge. (Meat in the form of small game was an infrequent repast.) The ancient Choctaws were, first and foremost, farmers. Even the clothing was plant based, artistically embroidered dresses for the women and cotton breeches for the men. Choctaws have never adorned their hair with feathers.

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Facilitated Ecosystem Recovery

by ria

Facilitated Ecosystem Recovery: A Stewardship Paradigm Proposal

John Muir: When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

The naturalist Joan Bradley wrote her final book Bringing Back the Bush:The Bradley Method of Bush Regeneration chronicling the recovery of Australian plant communities based on regeneration principles proven not just effective but generalizable to a variety of settings. After the ‘gentle art’ proved itself over time, education and training in the ‘Bradley Method’ spread locally and abroad.

My sister and I had for years been pulling up seedling weeds growing near the walking tracks in Ashton Park, and had looked despondently at the big ones scattered through the bush further in. We had always found these widespread invaders particularly offensive, and longed for the strength we believed was needed to cope with them. We felt that, because of their threat to the whole of the bush, these should be the first weeds to be destroyed, and were therefore delighted to see unsightly walls of tall lantana fall to the mattocks and brushhooks of the park staff.

We had never thought it possible that such very bad areas could be restored by anything other than this sort of clearing followed by replanting. The clearing was mostly confined to very heavy lantana infestations, where the few native seedlings that came up were quickly swamped by an explosion of assorted weeds, but in a few places work was extended into areas of mixed weeds and natives. Here, where they were not hopelessly outnumbered, the natives responded magnificently. Shrubs, despite disturbed roots and broken branches, put out new shoots, and seedlings of many species germinated along with the weeds

With growing enthusiasm, we began to understand that there might be another way to fight the invaders. Given half a chance, the bush would fight back on its own behalf… systematic hand weeding, carefully done, was a spectacular success…

…The turning point for bush regeneration came in 1975when the National Trust commissioned Joan, Toni May and their small team of regenerators to demonstrate their techniques in Blackwood Reserve, Beecroft. While regenerating Blackwood, Joan also proved to herself that the principles established in Hawkesbury sandstone bushland could also be applied to the moist schlerophyll woodland growing on the richer shale-derived soils and, ultimately, rainforest. With the support and sponsorship of the National Trust… the demand by local councils for the services of trained regenerators grew rapidly…

With demand for regenerators outstripping supply, a school was established to teach the Bradley Method to conservationists keen to assist in bringing back their local bushland. Joan was commissioned to provide tuition and gradually that small band of previously unpaid workers grew – former pupils became teachers, and the Bradley Method is now being used throughout Australia and in some countries overseas…

In Joan’s words, ‘As a very old-fashioned scientist and former chemist, I had a thorough grounding in what was then the simple scientific method of experiment and observation. Repeatability still remains for me the acid test. This method is repeatable anywhere as long as the three principles are followed’.

pp. 9-12

Inspired by witnessing ample effort in restoration practices with questionable long term effectiveness, Joan Bradley and her sister Eileen experimented with a naturalistic method, eventually shifting well-intended yet damaging restoration efforts into a more nuanced, bio-centric approach.

In this current millennia marked by the advent of agriculture and shuffling of species, eventually nature loving humans and organizations heard and heeded the call from suffering ecosystems and galvanized enormous efforts to reverse the damage. While modern humans struggled with their place and purpose in the natural world to which they lost their indigenous connection, the call for stewardship grew ever clear. The meme ‘natives are good, nonnatives are bad’ slowly crept into the mindset of the masses. In Cascadian metropolitan localities, plentiful acres of nonnative plant species were removed, with native species planted in their stead. As the focus now shifts increasingly into maintenance and monitoring modes, long term outcomes of these efforts are yet to be learned.  To what extent will these installed plantings regenerate, and revive former rich and diverse plant, animal and fungal communities?With inspiration from Joan and Eileen Bradley and the scientific stories of innovative stewards in the field, the gentle art and field science of the here named Facilitated Ecosystem Recovery (FER) approach is now presented. This method centers on 1. native plant species regeneration, 2. soil stability and 3. habitat recovery.

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Bradley Method of Natural Regeneration

The other green army: a history of bush regeneration

Tuesday 7 April 2015  By: Nick Franklin

Sydney’s ‘eccentric’ Bradley sisters were pioneers of bush regeneration, a movement that changed the battle against the biggest enemy of native plants—invasive weeds. Nick Franklin, an experienced bush regenerator, heads into the scrub in search of their story.

‘The grand Australian bush, nurse and tutor of eccentric minds, the home of the weird, and of much that is different from things in other lands.’

The Bush Undertaker by Henry Lawson

‘It is what we have done to the natural environment and what it has done to us. The world outside us and the world within. Wilderness, home and garden. Temple, nursery and slaughterhouse.

The Bush by Don Watson

‘So you’re going to be a weed Nazi,’ said my sister laughing down the phone from the other side of the world.

Being misunderstood and seen as a bit of crank has a long history in bush regeneration, going right back to the pioneering Bradley sisters, who were often labelled as eccentrics when they began developing their theories on Sydney’s North Shore back in the  1960s.

At the boundary between bushland and suburbia it’s almost like a lava flow—flowing over the fence and creeping into the bush …  and there’s a sense of complacency in Australia.

Tim Low, biologist and author

Joan and Eileen Bradley literally stumbled into bush regeneration as they walked their dogs on Bradleys Head (no relation). As they walked they would pull out weeds, and eventually noticed the bush naturally regenerating.

The Bradley method of weed control was built on the three core principles outlined in Joan Bradley’s Bringing Back the Bush:

1. Work outwards from good bush areas towards areas of weed.

2. Make minimal disturbance to the environment.

3. Do not over clear.

In a tone that would become all too familiar to her followers, she warned: ‘You must not deviate from any of the principles. We cannot stress this enough.’

This was the beginning of a movement that today has thousands of people around Australia practising bush regeneration either as volunteers or paid workers. Early in my research for a documentary on the history of bush regenerators, I assumed that the Bradley sisters were the first, but I was wrong.

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