A group of searchers ignores the Douglas fir trees that spear into the sky hundreds of feet overhead. Instead they train their eyes closer to their feet, at the small and often overlooked plants that carpet the forest floor at Oxbow Regional Park.
These young students on Marci Krass' work crew, based at Mt. Hood Community College, are collecting seeds from native plants such as enchanter's nightshade, sweet cicely and Pacific waterleaf.
"What we're really focusing on are the workhorse species of the forest understory," says Krass, conservation crew leader. "It's a treasure hunt, really."