2012 Conference Summary: Flora and Fauna of Mt. Adams

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Sunrise on Mt. Adams on the morning of the conference

Our second conference,  “Flora and Fauna of Mount Adams”,  held on November 3, 2012 at the Trout Lake School, was another big success, with at least 150 attendees, including 6 students who were awarded scholarships by FOMA.  Our conference partners were the Yakama Nation, US Forest Service (Gifford Pinchot National Forest), Gifford Pinchot Task Force, Friends of White Salmon River, and the Mt. Adams Institute

This year, we welcomed back our Board Chair, Jurgen Hess, who skillfully moderated the all-day session, and Yakama Tribal Council member Gerald Lewis, who provided an eloquent opening statement and mesmerizing, traditional native American song.

Seven speakers spent 30-60 minutes each on a variety of topics, including:  Darryl Lloyd (FOMA Board member and Hood River photographer), presenting an exciting slide show, “Time and Change on Mt. Adams”, including recent air and ground images from the Cascade Creek Fire. The rest of the  morning was focused on several interesting species of animals found on the mountain and other nearby volcanoes:  Wildlife Biologist Dr. Keith Aubry of the USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station discussed the fascinating history, distribution dynamics, and conservation status of the Wolverine in Washington’s Cascades.  Wildlife Biologist-doctoral student Joselyn Akins from the University of California at David followed with an encouraging report on the Cascade Red Fox: her project of non-invasive surveys, genetic sampling, extinction risk, and conservation efforts to preserve this formerly wide-spread carnivore.  Jim Stephensen, Yakama Nation’s veteran Big Game Biologist, and Gina King, veteran Yakama Nation Forest Biologist (substituting for Gabriel Swan) gave us a fascinating presentation on Mountain Goat ecology, use patterns, and management on the East Side of Mt. Adams—including a question-provoking discussion of  the impacts of hunting, snowmobile trespass, and fire.

The two afternoon presentations focused on Mt. Adams flora, specifically:  Dr. Susan Hummel, ecologist at the USFS Pacific NW  Research Station, who highlighted the results of her multiple studies (using field work and “LIDAR” remote sensing) on the living and dead  forest structure of the south and southwest side.  David Biek , who, with Susan McDougall, co-authored the 2007 book The Flora of Mount Adams,  discussed the process by which they created and researched the first comprehensive flora of the 843 species of vascular plants found above the 4000-foot contour of the mountain. David also provided interesting slides and information about some of the mountain’s most unique flowers and where to find them.

A 25-minute panel discussion and question-answer period and closing remarks from Jurgen wrapped up the conference, although some in the audience were disappointed that several presenters did not stay around long enough to participate.  Our auditorium (the school cafeteria) was rented to us by the Trout Lake School District and the lunch was provided by the high school’s National Honor Society—both paid for by the conference fees. 

After all expenses were accounted for, the conference netted about $522 for FOMA, to be targeted for future conservation efforts and the next conference.  Complete speaker abstracts for the 2012 Conference are available here, and conference photos by Susan Hess and otheres are found here.

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