2011 Winner - Steve Northway!
Steve has worked tirelessly for decades to help restore native ecosystems in the Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon, and beyond. He has a vast working knowledge of regional, historic, and current native plant communities in Oregon. And he takes every opportunity to share his constantly expanding knowledge base. Landowners who want to restore their degraded lands to native biodiversity, such as Tyee Winery and Raindance Ranch, have found his expertise and enthusiasm vital to their efforts.
At Raindance Ranch Steve established a vibrantly healthy wetland area, complete with historically important Wapato plants, Sagittaria latifolia. He personally constructed several plots for Kincaid’s lupine, the threatened food plant for the endangered Fender’s Blue butterfly. He also brought in other native plants, and encouraged the propagation and spread of species such as yellow violet (Viola praemorsa) and peacock larkspur (Delphinium pavonaceum), to diversify the restored oak savanna and prairie areas of the acreage.
Distributing the showy milkweed (Asclepius speciosa), exclusive food plant of Monarch butterfly larvae, is a passion with Steve – he is involved in on-going research regarding the plant’s specific soil needs. Steve is also widely educated in geology, chemistry and lepidopterology; as a committed conservation botanist, he has grown, developed and planted thousands of milkweed plants throughout the Valley. His unstinting work has bolstered Monarch habitat on this portion of the Monarch migration flyway.
Steve is active in an astonishing number of conservation organizations including the Native Plant Society of Oregon (Corvallis Chapter), Corvallis Environmental Center, The Orchid Society, Corvallis Tilth Organic Gardening Club, Cascadia Monarchs (co-founder), North American Butterfly Association, North American Truffling Society, and Peace Seeds of Corvallis.
He has given workshops as diverse as “Fluorescing Marine Organisms” at Hatfield Marine Center to “Propagating Native Grassland Species.” He led field trips to local, little known areas to show folks both rare and common native species when he was president of the Corvallis Native Plant Society. To the delight of anyone lucky enough to go on a field trip with Steve, he can identify most native Oregon species even when they’re not in flower, a measure of the depth of his botanical knowledge. Steve makes himself available for educational presentations to any interested group, like the Historic Cemetery Preservation Association. He very often gives away his own native plants at community gatherings.
As if all this weren’t a full time volunteer job, Steve participates regularly in public processes like the Philomath City Council and Benton County Habitat Conservation Plans, to make sure decision-makers are considering local and regional science-based conservation information.Steve Northway’s constant and numerous contributions to environmental conservation, awareness and outreach embody the letter and the spirit of the Homer Campbell Environmental Award. Please join us on April 21st when we present Steve with a personal plaque; his name will also be inscribed on the perpetual plaque displayed at Hesthavn Nature Center.
Contributed by Linda Campbell, Jim & Karan Fairchild, Rana Foster, Warren & Laurie Halsey,and Diana Wageman.