TWISP - There is an importance in getting roots back into the burned ground left by the Cold Springs Fire and Inchelium Complex Fires that started over the long Labor Day Weekend and burned over 200,000 combined acres on the Colville Indian Reservation.

In that vein of rebuilding, the Methow Valley Interpretive Center announced, Oct. 19, it is teaming up with Methow Natives - a native plant nursery located in Twisp - and the River Warriors Society to provide native plants and volunteer planting labor to anyone affected by this year’s fires.

“It’s a way to get people out, a volunteer opportunity, to have people help do planting and help others get grounded back in their home sites,” said Methow Natives’ Rob Crandall. “It’s a good, positive step toward re-inhabiting everybody’s places.”

Plants include Mountain Alder, Serviceberry, River birch, Oregon grape, mock orange, aspen, black cottonwood, common chokecherry, Woods rose, Pacific willow, Golden currant, Indian hemp, Ponderosa Pine, Sweetgrass and Douglas hawthorn.

“I have dozens of these plants in my nursery and I have reached out to another nursery, so we have great number of plants,” said Crandall. “If anyone who is recovering from the fires wants, we will get them these plants - most of the are culturally relevant - and the thought is to have a few days with teams of volunteers who help installation… a lot of this late season planting is at the whim of nature. If the ground freezes up, we’re done, but the goal is to plant in early November.”

The fires burned over 80 homes on the Colville Indian Reservation.

“I’ve worked with native plants for a long time, and I’ve worked with reconciliation efforts for about five years through my work at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center,” said Crandall. “There is a real commonality between cultures and appreciation of native plants and recognizing that they really are what grounds us to these places. It’s a cool opportunity too to get a lot of people involved with the recovery efforts, putting plants in the ground and bring back new life. It’s important to realize a lot of the habitats are fire adaptive and a lot of plants will be coming back on their own. This effort is supplementing the natural recovery and working around people’s homes and make those look as good as we can going forward. It’s a fairly bleak landscape right now in a lot of places and to get some living stuff in there right now is a pretty sweet thing.”

The River Warriors and Methow Interpretive Center have worked together through the recovery efforts for several weeks through providing monetary donations and other efforts, said River Warriors’ Faith Zacherle. 

If interested in the Native Plants effort, or if interested in volunteering, please contact Zacherle and the River Warriors at 509-634-1570, faithzacherle157@gmail.com or on Facebook.

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