This is the first of occasional profiles of our Streamside Stewards, volunteers, and of Board members—or, in this case, all three!
When Mona Thomason and her husband, Brian, saw the property along Kellogg Creek in the summer of 2011, they knew it was home for them. Although they had originally been looking for a home with a more iconic view when they moved from Seattle, the creekfront one-acre parcel and 1962 home drew them in. This was Brian’s childhood stomping grounds and near his parents, but it was Mona who relished enhancing the creek.
Mona, an avid gardener, dove right in and removed ivy from the streambank and the trees. That first winter they received a postcard from the Watershed Council about the Streamside Stewards program. Mona responded right away. The Streamside Stewards restoration crew planted 200 shrubs and trees along the creek, and gave Mona another 75 rushes and sedges which she planted herself.
“The crew was super easy to work with, and flexible about placement of trees,” Mona observed, noting that they helped preserve a view to the creek from the home. “They taught me a ton, and I’m now using what I learned in the upland part of my yard as well.”
For five years after the planting, the Streamside Stewards crew did annual check-ins to ensure that invasive blackberry, ivy, and clematis, weren’t returning. But Mona did most of the maintenance work herself. Along the way, she had some large invasive trees removed – three English hawthorne, a Norway maple, and a holly – and planted over 500 more plants, mostly natives. Among those plantings are mixed shrub borders around the home, using native plants like osoberry, twinberry and ninebark.
In 2018, the hard work paid off when her yard was certified as Silver Level Backyard Habitat by Portland Audubon and Columbia Land Trust. “I have seen a definite correlation between the increase in native plants in my yard and the number and variety of birds I see,” Mona observed.
She joined the Council’s Board in 2012, and currently serves on the Executive Committee and as Secretary. “One of my favorite parts of being involved with the Watersheds Council is learning about all the different watersheds and seeing restoration projects move forward”, said Mona.
“We have room on the Board and the committees for several more members, and it’s a great way for people who care about the health of our waterways to get involved,” Mona observed. “We need more representation across our watersheds.”
To learn more about serving on the NCWC Board or committees, contact Executive Director Neil Schulman at firstname.lastname@example.org