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Speaker Series: Bushy Lake

March 9, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Photo courtesy of Sacramento State/Andrea Price

Rising From the Ashes: Culturally Significant Plants and Fire Resilience at Bushy Lake

Guest Speaker: Dr. Michelle Stevens

Bushy Lake is located within the lower American River floodplain, Sacramento, CA, and is in the traditional territory of the Nissenan, Maidu and Miwok peoples. The Bushy Lake Eco-Cultural Restoration Project was initiated in 2015, incorporating culturally important plant species into project design. The Project goal is to establish a pilot Eco-cultural restoration project through re-inhabiting culturally significant plants and animals, and the traditional tending practices within this novel ecosystem. Our hypothesis is that native plants, adapted to thousands of years of Traditional Fire Management, are resilient to wildfires. The site is highly disturbed within an urban corridor; key threats include homeless encampments, wildfire, pollution and invasive species. In June 2021 a wildfire burned the entire site to the ground, enabling us to test our hypothesis. We will present results of our post-fire monitoring of culturally significant plants and wildlife. Extensive data pre- and post- fire allowed us to determine the resiliency of white root (Carex barbarae), mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana), and creeping wild rye (Leymus triticoides); we also have a sacred pollinator/ pinole garden. Understanding and implementation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is essential to successful eco-cultural restoration. While Western Ecological Knowledge (WEK) offers a strong foundation for restoration of species assemblages and ecosystems, TEK and Traditional Fire Management offer critical species tending and management practices that can help to restore both cultural and ecological integrity. “Fire resiliency” is evaluated using both Western Ecological Knowledge (WEK) and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), comparing 11 common attributes of WEK and TEK that aid ecological restoration. The Project demonstrates that WEK–TEK restoration can be linked to honor cultural integrity and nurture a “Sense of Place” and reciprocity for Native Californians and others. www.bushylake.com

Photos courtesy of Sacramento State/Andrea Price.

Professor Stevens has worked in the fields of wetlands and restoration since the mid 1980’s. She had the good fortune of completing her master’s degree at UW Madison just as a Supreme Court decision guided policy and regulation to protect wetlands as waters of the U.S. As a tribal descendent of the Nez Perce from the Colville Confederated Tribes, she has always had a deep affinity for ethnobotany. Her doctorate combined restoration and Traditional Ecological Knowledge/ Traditional Resource Management and she is humbly grateful for the opportunity to join in the local Miwok Community. She has taught at Sac State since 2007 and began the Bushy Lake Project in 2015. This talk will synthesize the research and years of experience working on the Eco-Cultural restoration of Bushy Lake, and conservation efforts with the northwestern pond turtles. Her Awanata Dream Team (turtle in Miwok) will join her for the talk.

To Attend

Please RSVP below by 6pm the evening prior. Space is limited. Parking and admission are free, but donations are encouraged ($5-$20 per person recommended). All money collected will be split between SVC and a nonprofit chosen by the presenter. Complete your liability waiver in advance for faster checkin.

SVC’s Environmental Speaker Series at Camp Pollock

Join us for a different topic the second Thursday of the month, February through June. Printable flier.

Who's Attending

26 people are attending Speaker Series: Bushy Lake

  • Laura Warner
  • Kristan Culbert


March 9, 2023
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Camp Pollock
1501 Northgate Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95815 United States
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