Conservation Team Volunteer Highlight: Paul

Oxbow’s Conservation Team coordinates hundreds of volunteers annually to help them with various projects around the farm and at nearby restoration sites. Together, they work rain or shine to improve our natural ecosystems and habitats for native plant species, wildlife, and overall environmental well-being. Removing invasive species, measuring regrowth, clearing research sites, and planting native plants helps us ensure we are building a sustainable relationship with our environment. Our volunteers are a stellar group of dedicated individuals who lend a hand with their skills, time, and advocacy and are a core element of our conservation efforts.

Today, we’d like you to meet Paul! He is a dedicated volunteer who has been coming in about two times per week the past few months. Paul has been able to help us remove invasive species, such as Himalayan blackberries, from our riparian areas. If you have a yard or garden or have volunteered before, you might have a good idea of what a big problem these blackberries present and how hard they are to remove.

These invasive species out-compete native vegetation and prevent the establishment of native trees and shrubs. In addition, if allowed to grow too dense, it creates impenetrable thickets that block access for larger wildlife (such as deer) to water and other resources. They degrade the conditions of the rivers and wetlands since they provide little to no protection from erosion.

Much of Paul’s volunteering efforts have gone into fighting these invasive blackberries. So far, his favorite location to dig into the blackberry has been the experimental fields on the southern end of the property. Despite the hard soil making the bushes even harder to extract, the views of the Snoqualmie River and Cascade Mountains are breathtaking and being immersed in such a serene space is a big motivator to continue helping the ecosystem.

While the work can be physically difficult, and the weather in the PNW poses a challenge for all outdoor work, Paul shared with us that in his view, the rewarding feeling after a hard-day work is beyond words! Paul was originally motivated to join us as a volunteer after learning more about our conservation efforts and has been driven to continue coming back both because of the results he is seeing but also because of the community aspect and all the new connections he has been able to form with other volunteers and Oxbow’s staff! The atmosphere of all the like-minded people and the collaborative spirit inspires great passion!

After spending decades riding his bike along the trail and eating locally, the Snoqualmie Valley holds a very special place in Paul’s heart. It has been a place where he recreates often and he is loving finding new ways to honor, respect, and help share the beauty of the valley with his community. Paul’s desire (and commitment!) to support and expand the small farms of the Valley and invest in regenerative organic agriculture helped him find his way to Oxbow and we feel very fortunate to have him dedicate his time to support our collective mission. Thank you, Paul!


Interested in volunteering? Join us on our recurring second saturday restoration parties, or sign up to our newsletter to stay connected with Oxbow all year long!