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Culture of Conservation: In appreciation of sagebrush

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I like to joke that for us Eastsiders, the Washington state evergreen is actually big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), not the legislature-adopted Douglas-fir tree. In our arid region of low rainfall, cold winters and hot dry summers, big sagebrush grows five to eight feet tall, forming a canopy above a sea of grasses, smaller shrubs, and wildflowers.

Wildlife species from birds to mammals to insects utilize sagebrush for food, shelter and nesting materials. Eighteen different species of sagebrush are abundant yet under appreciated by many of us who inhabit its range across much of western North America. I nominate today to be “sagebrush appreciation day.”

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