Author Archives: Amy Stasch

Earth Day, Sustainable Prisons Project Style

Posted by undergraduate research associate Sarelle Caicedo.

Earth Day is here! People are often very creative in the ways they celebrate, and there seems to be no exception with Washington Corrections Centers. The Stafford Creek Corrections Center (SCCC)  held their Earth Day celebration event on April 14, 2010, and the Sustainable Prisons Project was there.

About 10 different environmental organizations and businesses set up information tables in a large visiting room in the Corrections Center.  This was the 3rd annual Earth Day at SCCC, and it was a great success. The inmates and the staff had very positive responses to the various information tables.

Greg Falxa explains a "bat condo," one of many constructed at Stafford Creek

Greg Falxa explains a "bat condo," one of many constructed at Stafford Creek

Greg Falxa, a bat biologist at Cascadia Research, came to the event with Sarah Clarke and Sarelle Caicedo, Sustainable Prisons Project student Research Associates. Greg will be giving the May scientific lecture on bat biology and conservation on May 12 at SCCC, so this visit enabled him to promote his upcoming talk with inmates and staff and build enthusiasm. Inspired by the growing success of the bird box project, inmates are now constructing bat boxes (known by the inmates as “bat condos”), and Greg was able to display a recently built bat box.  

Project Research Associates Sarelle Caicedo and Sarah Clarke with SCCC Superintendent Pat Glebe

Project Research Associates Sarelle Caicedo and Sarah Clarke with SCCC Superintendent Pat Glebe

Pat Glebe, Stafford Creek superintendent, was present, continuing to motivate and steer Stafford Creek’s efforts to be a leading practitioner of sustainability. 

Next week, on April 28th, Graduate Research Associate Carl Elliott and undergraduate assistant, Sarelle Caicedo will be giving a joint lecture at SCCC, and they are very excited! The topic of the talk will be prairie plant conservation and conservation of the Purple Martin and Western Bluebird. This talk has been of keen interest to he inmates because they have been involved in hands on projects concerning both prairie plants and these two species of birds. Carl and Sarelle have worked together in the past, propagating plants with The Nature Conservancy, and feel that their joint talk will go well. Stay tuned for details next week on how it goes, and happy Earth week!

New Frogs Have Arrived!

Posted by Graduate Research Associate Liesl Plomski

Cedar Creek Correction Center kicked off their 2010 Oregon spotted frog rearing season in late March. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife delivered around 80 larvae from the Black River in Thurston County to the Prison. Since then the frogs have been moved from 6-quart containers indoors to a 300-gallon tank outside. Many of the tadpoles have begun metamorphoses and are developing front legs. They are developing much faster than last year.  The inmates prepare a “Popeye” food mash of romaine lettuce, kale, and spirulina to feed to the tadpoles four times a day.  We’re impressed by how quickly the frogs are growing and maturing; so far things are on track to match the success of the 2009 season.

Frog Project Receives Grant from Oregon Zoo Foundation

Posted by Graduate Research Associate Liesl Plomski

This April, Cedar Creek Correction Center was awarded a $4,375 grant from the Oregon Zoo Foundation to expand the Oregon spotted frog captive rearing program at the prison. This is the first time the grant has ever been awarded to the Department of Corrections, or to an institution that is not solely dedicated to scientific research.  This will allow the prison to expand from the current capacity of 75 frogs to a future capacity of 300 frogs. Right now the project buys thousands of crickets which are shipped from Alabama – this grant will also help expand the cricket rearing area, which was started with $500 from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Crickets are the main diet of captive reared Oregon spotted frogs after their complete metamorphoses (from larvae to early adult-hood). 

In its first year of the project, Cedar Creek Correction Center reared 67 of 78 larvae to adulthood. They hope to use these funds to increase the number of frogs release back into the wild in the 2011 rearing season.

Bird Conservation Project Taking Flight at Stafford Creek Corrections Center

Blog post by undergraduate research assistant Sarelle Caicedo.

Purple Martins and Western bluebirds are two of the most charismatic birds of the Pacific Northwest. As the newest hands-on project of the Sustainable Prisons Project, inmates at Stafford Creek are constructing bird houses that will serve as habitats for the threatened Purple Martin and Western Bluebirds. The inmates have been enthusiastic about constructing the boxes and learning about the birds they are helping to preserve. To date, 16 Purple Martin boxes have been made and taken to Northwest Trek, where they will be installed and monitored for long-term conservation use. 150 Western Bluebird boxes have already been made and will soon be installed and monitored at various locations. Local lumber retailers (Tumwater Home Depot, Mary’s River Lumber Co., and Windfall Lumber) have donated all of the wood being used to make the boxes, making this project possible.

On April 28th, undergraduate research assistant Sarelle Caicedo and graduate research assistant Carl Elliott will be giving a joint educational lecture at Stafford Creek on Western bluebird and Purple Martin Conservation and Northwest prairie plant ecology. We are hoping that this lecture will increase interest in ornithology and the environment, and that this will kick start a series of future lectures given by undergraduates specializing in ecology and environmental studies at Evergreen.