Celebrating Oregon's History of Conservation: the 1970s

Nature Stories

Hear Dr. Bert Brehm, a board chair in the 70s, on the importance of conservation science.

Dr. Bert Brehm was one of our board chairs in the 1970s. Listen to what he has to say about the importance of conservation science.

In the 1970s, we ramped up our acquisitions of important natural areas, including the Lawrence Memorial Grassland and Lower Table Rock, Tom McCall Preserve at Rowena, Cox Island and Metolius River preserves.

Conservation science made giant strides. In 1974 we established one of the first natural heritage programs in the country, and staff began recording the status and distribution in Oregon of over 2,000 animals, plants and ecosystems. It’s a vital system of information that still drives how we make strategic investments today.

Conservation science also advanced on the ground. Professor Don Lawrence purchased and named the grassland preserve near Shaniko as a memorial to his parents. His pioneering work measured the affects of controlled burns on the prairie. He also experimented with using aerial photography to monitor vegetation changes by mounting film cameras on weather balloons. Yes, times have changed!

During the 70s we also began helping public partners acquire important places, including properties along the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, an expansion of Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, and a place called Wayne Morse Ranch — our first project with the City of Eugene.

One of our board chairs during this time was Dr. Bert Brehm. His contribution to conservation science has been enormous.

We chatted with Bert last fall. Let’s hear some of what he said.

A lot of things came together in our first two decades — the skills and capacity to acquire land, expanding responsibilities for land stewardship, trailblazing scientific research, and a growing reputation among Oregon leaders in natural resources, business and philanthropy — a reputation for getting results.

We were poised for the next big thing.

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