Thursday, March 22, 2018

Phillip Elden on the Opossum

The opossum, or colloquially, ‘possum, is a small mammal native to North America, explains Phillip Elden. However, it made its arrival in the Pacific Northwest and specifically Oregon sometime in the early 20th century. Its introduction to the area was most likely the result of people keeping the animals as pets and inadvertently releasing them into the wild.

The opossum is an adaptable creature and can make use of many types of resources. They can eat virtually anything and have very little problem disturbing a garden or trash can, says Phillip Elden. Unfortunately, they are often considered a nuisance by homeowners who may be intimidated by this creature’s reputation for self-defense.

Phillip Elden explains that as adaptable as the opossum is, it has numerous predators to fear. This includes owls, bobcats, and coyotes. The opossum’s first line of defense is its ability to play dead. It does this by lying stiffen and motionless and excreting a foul-smelling substance from their anal glands, which tells potential predators that their dinner has gone bad. This is where the term “playing possum” comes from.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Phillip Elden On the History of His Home State

Phillip Elden
Conservationist Phillip Elden explains that Oregon is home to thousands of species of land and aquatic animals. Here, Elden opens up about Oregon’s geologic history, which has shaped and remolded the layout of the land and its diverse biohabitats since the dawn of time.

Q: The Columbia River Gorge is habitat for many species. How was it formed?

Phillip Elden: The Columbia River Gorge came to be between 700,000 and 2 million years ago, in the last Ice Age during the Pleistocene era. It was formed when the Columbia River begin to notch its way through the Cascade Range. It’s important to note that the Columbia River experienced extreme flooding during this time.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Phillip Elden | Land Trusts

Phillip Elden
Throughout Oregon, there are a number of programs that help protect and preserve local wildlife. Here, conservationist Phillip Elden answers frequently asked questions about land trusts.

Q: What is a land trust?

Phillip Elden: A land trust is a charitable organization with the mission to preserve and protect specific areas of land and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. They are established with a mission to protect land in perpetuity and work with local wildlife management agencies, watershed councils, landowners, and farmers to maintain the state’s economic and natural heritage.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fire a Force That Knows No Bounds, Says Phillip Elden

According to wildlife and forest conservationist Phillip Elden, the best way to prevent forest fires is to thin the land with controlled combustions. Though it may seem counterproductive, organized burning practices not only eliminate fuel for wildfires, but also makes the forest healthier from the ground up.

It is not enough, however, to simply treat Forest Service land, says Phillip Elden. Private land and other public acreage must be thinned as well. It is only with cross-boundary work that the most widespread forest fires can be contained or prevented.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Phillip Elden: Olympia Unshelled

Oregon’s native oyster, the Olympia, was nearly devoured into extinction by 1915. Today, in spite of a waning population, a group of conservation enthusiasts who prize the quarter-sized mollusk’s meat are working to ensure this regional flavor isn’t washed away forever. According to Phillip Elden, unfortunately, oceanic acidification is hampering the process.

The Olympia first came into fashion in the 1800s when California’s Gold Rush brought scores of hungry workers to the San Francisco area. Phillip Elden explains that it did not take long for the shores of the West Coast to be depleted of what was formerly one of its most abundant native lifeforms. The Olympia oyster has been all but replaced by the Pacific oyster, which is native to Asia, in restaurants up and down the Western seaboard.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tips from Phillip Elden on Reducing Environmental Footprints

The concept of going green is a hot topic in the media. But, what does it really mean and why is it important? According to conservationist Phillip Elden, adopting greener practices is safer for the body, home, and environment.

Eat locally

Some of the most profound negative impacts on the environment are directly related to agriculture. Phillip Elden explains that mass farming practices and excessive preservation methods have depleted the nutritional value of most conventionally sourced food products. For instance, studies have found that organically-derived milk contains greater than 65% more omega-3 fatty acids than “regular” milk. Buying fresh, local foods also helps to stimulate the local economy and reduces reliance on cross country transportation, which in itself is a detriment to the environment.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Going Green with Phillip Elden

Environmental stewardship not only helps conserve resources for the next generation, says Phillip Elden, it also offers a host of benefits that will make your neighbors green with envy. In the following Q&A, Elden discusses the most compelling arguments for joining the eco-revolution.

Q: What is likely to have the most impact on the environment?

Phillip Elden: The construction industry is in a position to help conserve resources for the next generation. Consider this–nearly 40% of energy expended is directly related to structural use and buildings in the United States consume nearly 15% of all potable water. The construction industry uses 3 billion tons of raw materials every year, much of which could be substituted with recycled materials.