In 2003, WTU and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) began what hopefully will be a long-term collaboration to conduct botanical surveys of TNC holdings in Washington State. The 5,600 acre Ellsworth Creek Preserve, purchased by TNC in March 2003, was the first site selected for this project. The preserve is located in in southwestern Washington's Pacific County, and will protect an entire coastal watershed.
We worked with TNC's Dr. Peter Dunwiddie and Tom Kollasch to schedule and coordinate three collecting trips over the summer of 2003. The first trip occurred in late May and was supported by nearly 15 volunteers from WTU. Small groups dispersed throughout the preserve to collect in saltwater marsh, brackish and freshwater wetlands, and old and second-growth forest. The next two trips took place in mid July and early September, and were supported by volunteers from both TNC and WTU. Over 250 collections were made from the three outings.
The Ellsworth Creek Preserve forays served several important functions. Voucher specimens represent baseline data for TNC restoration and conservation goals at Ellsworth, many of the specimens collected are new county records for WTU's holdings, and volunteers from both organizations were able to participate in floristics research.