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The Wild and Rare in our own Backyards: Life in the Coastal Edge

30 million years ago, the present-day coastline was being formed by flood lavas from Idaho diving beneath the sea and then slowly rising out of the water to become the peaks we cherish today. Let’s explore the origins of Onion and Angora peaks and Neahkahnie mountain, discover the rare abundance of unique life within, and be inspired by the history of heroes who have worked to keep the Coastal Edge wild.

To help kick off the 9th season of Listening to the Land, the Necanicum Watershed Council welcome’s Katie Volke, Executive Director of North Coast Land Conservancy, on Wednesday January 17th as she takes us on a journey to explore NCLC’s Coastal Edge Initiative and the ongoing efforts to conserve the wild and rare in our own backyards. The Coastal Edge Initiative seeks to preserve complete, contiguous coastal watersheds, allowing the once and future temperate rainforest indigenous to this coastline to again thrive. It will create a corridor of ecological connectivity of unprecedented scale in Oregon, stretching from the ridgetops to the ocean, in one of the world’s most biodiverse regions.

Katie Voelke was raised in a home under oak trees where she spent many hours collecting bugs, making mud pies with her sister, and camping and hiking with her parents in the summers. She is sure that this life-long exposure to the natural world is what led her on a path to study biology in school. Katie settled on Oregon’s north coast with her husband Scott in 2003, they live in Nehalem with their three sons. After years of doing field work with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Katie found her calling: working in land conservation with North Coast Land Conservancy. In 2005 Katie started as NCLC’s first Stewardship Director working under founding Executive Director, Neal Maine. After 3 years of learning the ropes alongside Neal, she took the helm in 2008 as Executive Director. Although her job at NCLC keeps her inside more than she would like, she manages to get her fix of the outdoors following in her parent’s footsteps: bug collecting with her little boys and spending the summers hiking and camping with family.

Listening to the Land is a monthly winter speaker series offered January through May and presented by the Necanicum Watershed Council in partnership with the Seaside Public Library. This year’s theme will explore “living on our dynamic coastal edge.” Presentations are held the 3rd Wednesday of every month, January through May. Presentations starts at 6pm at the Seaside Library, 1131 Broadway St, Seaside, OR. Doors open at 5:30pm. Events are free and open to the public.