Posted by|20 August 2014
Once upon a time on a hot day in July, a group of dedicated Mountain Rose Herbs volunteers struck out to help one of our non-profit partners. With water in our canteens and homemade organic sun screen in tow, we followed the river path to our worksite – the herbicide-free butterfly meadow.
Over 24 species of butterflies once called this former upland prairie and oak savanna home. Due to loss of habitat, only 7 remain. The Whilamut Natural Area is located in an urban park and is particularly special to both us and the Walama Restoration Project (WRP), who is working to provide a corridor for rare butterfly species with their seed collection and nursery program.
Walama Restoration Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental stewardship and biological diversity through education and habitat restoration. They are committed to the rehabilitation of threatened or degraded areas in our community. One of the first steps is to remove invasive plants and make room for the natives. WRP’s preferred method to remove invasive plants is to do it chemical-free and we agree!
Conventional weed control involves spraying harmful, toxic herbicides. With care and conscience, WRP removes unwanted plants by hand and utilizes shade cloth, thermal treatment and an organic foam treatment. That day, our group of volunteers helped to maintain the shade cloths already in place. We also removed invasive plants by hand that were creeping out at the seams and border of the plot.
The belief that we can and need to do better without pesticides brought us to this meadow. And WRP has real success stories. In 2004, the Great Copper butterfly (Lycaena xanthoides), a species absent since the 1970s, reappeared in the West Eugene Wetlands across from the Mountain Rose Herbs campus!
After a long day in exhausting 90 degree heat, we packed up our shovels, loppers, mattocks, and wheel barrel. It was time to call it a day. Along with organizing Mountain Rose River Projects like these, we help to educate and build awareness about natural alternatives to pesticides.
Take a stand by pledging not to use herbicides and post a Pesticide-Free Area sign in your garden or on your lawn.
The end…or only the beginning?
Posted by|16 July 2014
Last November, Mountain Rose Herbs was recognized as the first Eugene business to become Salmon Safe certified! Along with businesses, Salmon Safe helps farms, vineyards, campuses, developers, and parks transform land management practices to protect Pacific salmon. The team of experts evaluated our current practices and praised us for being on the right track. They also gave recommendations for how to improve, and we’re taking their advice!
In the spring, we reached out to the Long Tom Watershed Council, a local non-profit devoted to improving water quality in our watershed. On a hot day in July, it felt like 97 degrees in the sun, but that didn’t stop us from walking the parameter of our campus, slogging through the bio-swale, and taking plant and sediment samples. Sarah Whitney, Interim Project Manager for LTWC, educated us about best practices and overall goals of storm water management.
“Managing stormwater as close to the source as possible helps to mimic pre-construction (if not natural) conditions of the site, allowing the water to be slowed, cooled, and cleaned before entering the ground water or streams. On a typical site, stormwater flows over parking lots, roofs and garbage areas, picking up pollutants before entering a stormdrain which pipes the water directly to streams bringing pollution and scouring the banks.”
Our campus is sandwiched between sensitive wetlands and the Amazon canal which flow into the Long Tom River, a tributary of the Willamette River, one of the most important waterways in Oregon. That is one reason we feel so strongly that it is our responsibility to care for on-site water runoff and refuse to landscape with pesticides.
Sarah continues, “To mitigate these impacts you must create an area for stormwater from these hardscape areas to flow through vegetation and soil before entering a storm drain. These areas can often be sized so that no water overflows from the site in a typical rain event, instead allowing the water to be up taken by plants and to flow down, recharging the aquifer. The best plants for these areas are wetland plants, so additional pockets of habitats are created that provide food and shelter for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.”
Sarah and the team also helped us assess and prioritize projects. Potential projects include: planting native Bigleaf Maples to provide shade and habitat, installing a rain garden to manage parking lot runoff, cleaning out our bio-swale and retention pond, and building a green roof above our recycling area. Exciting things to come!
Learn more about our commitment to sustainability!
Photo credit: Ephraim Payne, Long Tom Watershed Council
Posted by|02 July 2014
Our very own Shawn Donnille, Vice President and co-owner of Mountain Rose Herbs, was recently honored by one of our beloved non-profit partners for his leadership and service! Shawn, former President of Beyond Toxics’ Board of Directors, was completely surprised when they presented him with the Visionary Leadership award at the Bee-Fest Celebration!
In true form, Beyond Toxics threw a fabulous party filled with live music, sweet treats, face painting, and of course chilled Hibiscus High Tea. Eugene, Oregon is gaining recognition as the most bee-friendly city in the U.S. for our work protecting pollinators and specifically for passing a resolution to ban neonicotinoids pesticide application on city property. We are proud to live and work in a city leading the way to fight colony collapse and protect our food system.
Mountain Rose is a long-time supporter of Beyond Toxics. We support their mission through charitable giving, disseminating literature, in-kind donations, and employee volunteer projects. Annually, we remove invasive plants by hand to maintain a no-spray corridor along a scenic roadway in Oregon. Read about our Fall Weed Pull project last year: http://mountainroseblog.com/pullingfallweeds/
“Beyond Toxics represents the finest culmination of hard-working individuals that produce the results we can all live by. Our industry, livelihoods, and communities are dependent upon a healthy landscape, and our prospects would be very bleak indeed if we did not have the steadfast commitment of Beyond Toxics.” - Shawn Donnille
Get Involved with Beyond Toxics!
Learn about other Organizations We Support!
Posted by|14 May 2014
Drum roll please… introducing Mountain Rose Herbs’ new employee-led Green Team!
Our Green Team is committed to environmentally and socially conscious operating practices by informing and motivating co-workers about waste reduction, energy and water conservation, alternative transportation options, workplace giving, and volunteer opportunities. This fantastic group works with the Director of Sustainability and serves as a resource to co-workers. Each member brings something unique to the table. We look forward to sharing ideas at our monthly meetings and continuing to improve our sustainability initiatives for everyone here at Mountain Rose!
Learn more about our sustainability efforts here!
Posted by|23 April 2014
Here at Mountain Rose Herbs, we are passionately committed to protecting both the herbs we use and provide to our customers, and the beautiful wild medicinals found in our forests. But how do we go about this tricky task as individuals and as a community? Educating ourselves about which plant communities (and their eco-systems) are considered sensitive, at-risk, threatened, or endangered is a good first step. Understanding the realities of poaching and the harm caused is another. Only taking what we need from the plant world, finding alternatives that are bountiful or weedy (hello, Dandelion!), and spreading the word to our friends and family about sustainability are all crucial steps.
We can all have “good practices” in mind when selectively harvesting wild herbs, but on a broader scale we need research. Since our inception in 1987, we have relied on organizations like United Plant Savers to help us make informed decisions and help educate our fellow herbalists about what not to pick, what to pick, when to pick it, and how much is sustainable. We work closely with our vendors and wild harvesters in this effort.
This year, we adopted Trillium through United Plant Savers’ At-Risk Healing Herb Program. This is a five year commitment to sponsor one of twenty medicinal herbs found in North America. Trillium is a beauty that greets us in Oregon each spring, and with its history of once being widely sold on the herb market, we wanted to spotlight the risks to our natural splendor and celebrate the efforts to conserve it.
Can you imagine our forests without them?
“United Plant Saver’s role as the recognized voice for our native medicinal plants has never been more important and necessary. By adopting one of the plants that UpS has identified as ‘at-risk’, you are significantly supporting our mission to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come.” – Sara Katz, Board President
A copy of our adoption certificate is displayed at United Plant Savers’ Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, Ohio as well as our meeting room in our main facility in Eugene, Oregon.
It’s more than just talk. We are dedicated to the sustainability of North America’s medicinal botanicals. You can be too! Please visit United Plant Savers website and adopt an ‘at-risk’ herb today! Find out how to adopt an ‘at-risk’ herb and the benefits of doing so. More information can be found in the brochure here.
United Plant Savers continues to be a resource and inspiration for us!
Posted by|01 April 2014
It is our great pleasure to announce our April Matching Gift Challenge benefiting our dear friends at the McKenzie River Trust! We will match your donation dollar for dollar up to $5000 from April 1st through the 30th. Make your donation go twice as far to protect the special places of Western Oregon!
“Whether you want to admit it or not, wild fish, free flowing rivers, and pristine waters chock full of invertebrates is what defines the character of that curious specimen called the Oregonian. Our cultural heritage would be amiss without the rapture and delight that pure rivers provide and thankfully we have organizations like the McKenzie River Trust to protect this cultural heritage born of water, rock, and fish.” -Shawn Donnille, Co-owner and Vice President of Mountain Rose Herbs
Online: To give your tax deductible donation now, please click here!
Mail: Send a check to the McKenzie River Trust at the address below:
McKenzie River Trust
1245 Pearl Street
Eugene, OR 97401
Donate during the April Matching Gift Challenge and you will become a founding member in support of the Trust. If you donate $100 or more, you’ll receive their new ceramic mug as a “thank you” gift!
Local to Eugene?
Join us at the McKenzie Memories fundraiser, Friday, April 4th from 6 – 8:30pm at Cozmic (199 W. 8th Ave. Eugene, OR) where we will kick off the matching gift challenge.
Posted by|21 January 2014
Mountain Rose Herbs is leading the way to reduce CO2 emissions and flip the switch on global climate change. Our Carpool, Bus, and Bike program was put into place in June 2007 and has been extremely popular among the staff.
Who wouldn’t love a cash incentive to ride their bike to work?
We pay employees who drive a carpool or take the bus to work 12 cents per mile. For those who commute by bike, we compensate them 20 cents per mile. At the end of the year, we offer $750 in bonuses to the individuals who log the most miles. Talk about positive reinforcement! Our main facility is located on a well maintained bike path, making it a lovely ride to and from work. In addition, we provide a covered and locked bike area so employees have a safe spot to stash their ride. Not to mention the health benefits!
In May 2013, we participated in the Business Commute Challenge and 22% of our staff joined in! The week was filled with fun events and raffle drawings. Troy, our Master Recycler on staff, even won the coveted Burley bike trailer! It is much deserved seeing as he’s been riding to work every day for the past 2 years!
We recently got the exciting news that Mountain Rose Herbs has been recognized with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Business award from the League of American Bicyclists!
“Businesses like Mountain Rose Herbs are leading the way to a healthier and more sustainable future,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “While helping boost the economy in their communities, Bicycle Friendly Businesses are also investing in a happier and more productive workforce.”
Learn more about our sustainability initiatives and guiding principles!
Posted by|07 January 2014
What an exciting time for us here at Mountain Rose Herbs! We are the first Eugene area business to be awarded Salmon-Safe certification!
“Salmon and water health are the cornerstones of environmental well-being here in the Pacific Northwest. Any conservation efforts must include rigorous changes in how we live and work at every level.” – Shawn Donnille, Co-owner and Vice-president
Salmon species in the Northwest are not only significant ecologically but culturally and spiritually. They face many challenges due to habitat degradation, over-harvesting, and climate change. We feel it is our responsibility to protect them. Salmon-Safe is a non-profit that works with other conservation organizations to improve land management practices and ensure a future for our scaly friends. They have certified more than 60,000 acres of farm and urban lands in Oregon, Washington, California, and British Columbia.
Since we relocated to our current facility in 2010, we have dreamed of applying to Salmon-Safe. In July 2013, we took the first step. A team of expert scientists conducted a site assessment and looked at our overall wastewater management practices, water quality, and neighboring riparian corridors.
To gain this third party certification, we underwent a thorough assessment and evaluation. The good news is that we’re on the right track. We conserve water with a satellite controlled irrigation system, maintain a pesticide-free facility, and utilize a bio-swale which naturally filters roof and pavement runoff. And now we have the tools to do even more!
At the end of the day, it’s about being accountable. With the help of Salmon-Safe, we are working to achieve this kind of transparency by gathering the facts, analyzing them, and improving our policies and procedures. Mountain Rose Herbs has taken a firm stance on protecting aquatic life in urban ecosystems and we hope that other businesses, farms, and campuses will join us. Read more about our Sustainability Projects on the website!
Posted by|23 December 2013
It’s our great pleasure to share the 2012 Mountain Rose Herbs Sustainability Report!
This is an important tool that will help us measure and monitor our greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, employee programs, charitable giving, and many other key indicators. Throughout 2013, I worked closely with every department at Mountain Rose Herbs to gather information for our first annual report.
The project wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of an inspiring team of Graduate students from the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business including Peter Kaupert, Tzvetan Gatchev, Pam Birkel, Alex Velasco, and Grace Chang. In June, we completed data collection and analysis, and now at long last, we are ready to debut our findings in a beautifully crafted 24 page document…
We invite you to sit back with a cup of your favorite Mountain Rose Herbs’ tea and enjoy the read!
Posted by|16 December 2013
As 2013 comes to a close, it’s a time to reflect and a time to make those year-end contributions to non-profit organizations. This year, Mountain Rose Herbs’ is honoring Oregon Wild with a matching gift of $5000. We will match your individual donation dollar for dollar through December 31, 2013!
Thinking back to this summer, Mountain Rose Herbs sponsored Oregon Wild’s 4th Annual Wolf Rendezvous! Nine adventurers, two Oregon Wild staffers, and other experts in the field, trekked around the northeast corner of Oregon for four days, immersing themselves and learning about the people, plants, predators, and history of the area.
“When we led our first Rendezvous, there were far less than 20 wolves in the entire state and ours was the first trip of its kind. Since then, Oregon has become home to over 50 wolves, the trip has generated positive attention for wolves around the country, and one of our first participants is starting a responsible ecotourism outfit focused on wildlife in Wallowa County. Mountain Rose Herbs has played a big role in supporting that evolution and we appreciate it very much!” – Rob Klavins, Wildlands & Wildlife Advocate for Oregon Wild
2013 Highlights and Accomplishments:
- Legislation to protect 58,000 acres of wilderness and 93 miles of wild and scenic rivers around the Rogue River in Oregon passed the US House and US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- Successfully negotiated a legal settlement with Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife, giving Oregon the most progressive wolf conservation plan in the nation.
- Passed Senate Bill 838 in the Oregon legislature to limit noisy and polluting suction dredge mining, protecting key salmon habitat across the state and reducing the number of suction dredge mining permits by two-thirds.
- Led nearly 40 wildflower, mushroom, wildlife viewing, snowshoe, and old-growth hikes to protected and proposed wilderness areas in Oregon, educating over 600 people who signed up!
Please join Oregon Wild and help keep this a special place to live, work, and play by supporting their conservation work.
Posted by|20 November 2013
They like keeping it wild… and so do we! During the month of November, Mountain Rose Herbs will double your donation to Cascadia Wildlands. We will match your donation dollar for dollar up to $5000!
You only have until November 30, 2013, so make that pledge today!
We are extremely proud to support Cascadia Wildlands and the work they do to protect wild salmon, old growth forests, endangered predators, and the natural environment we hold so dear. This year, we are focusing on the pressing issue of wolf recovery and the proposed federal delisting, which would remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states.
By giving to The Wolf Defense Fund, you are supporting the efforts of Cascadia Wildlands to use legal tools and grassroots efforts to remind the United States Fish and Wildlife Service of their duty to defend an endangered animal hunted to near extinction in the 1920’s. Now, they are threatened once again.
The Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, needs to hear from you. The public comment period on delisting the gray wolf has been extended to December 17, 2013. Click the link below and make your voice heard!
“With the federal gray wolf delisting comments closing in mid-December and much work needed to ensure that wolves are properly protected in Oregon, Washington and California, Mountain Rose Herbs’ $5000 matching gift program in support Cascadia Wildlands’ wolf programs is perfectly timed to help us is our efforts to get more wolves in more places in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks Mountain Rose Herbs!” – Bob Ferris, Executive Director, Cascadia Wildlands.
How to Donate:
Please donate online today and help protect this iconic and keystone species.
Donate by mail: Cascadia Wildlands, P.O. Box 10455, Eugene, Oregon 97440
Contact Camille Gullickson with questions, firstname.lastname@example.org, 541.434.1463
In the Eugene, Oregon area? Join us for an enchanting evening at Cascadia Wildlands’ 11th Annual Wonderland Auction, Saturday, December 14, 2013. For more details click here.
Posted by|04 November 2013
Vine Maple and Red Alder leaves crunch underfoot as our team of volunteers make their way down the road. Heads bent, eyes scan back and forth. We’re intent on finding pineapples. No, not the sweet tropical fruit, but the widespread, invasive species, Meadow Knapweed.
This plant produces a deceptively beautiful purple flower which blooms in late summer and fall, leaving behind a pineapple shaped cone perched upon a stalk that grows up 3 ½ feet tall. Meadow Knapweed out-competes native grasses and other plants like wild daisies, lupine, and Oregon Grape.
Three times since 2012, Mountain Rose Herbs’ employees have participated in this kind of “No Spray” project organized by our friends at Beyond Toxics. Many of us have come back year after year and it’s so encouraging to see the native plants retake the area where invasives once thrived.
This year, Mountain Rose River Project volunteers partnered with the GreenLane Sustainable Business Network volunteers and Beyond Toxics to remove Meadow Knapweed and Scotch Broom. The feisty, tenacious, grassroots non-profit organization, Beyond Toxics, has an agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation to not spray pesticides and herbicides on a 10 mile stretch of highway west of Eugene, Oregon. These types of sprays not only kill weeds but other plant and animal life. To prevent pesticide use that eventually runs off into streams and to protect salmon in the Siuslaw watershed, we must pull the weeds by hand.
The team stopped for lunch at Triangle Lake and had a wonderful time soaking up the sun. These sorts of opportunities make me appreciate Mountain Rose Herbs’ Paid Time for Community Involvement Program. It’s hard work that leaves us sore, but the joy of getting outside and helping groups like Beyond Toxics is well worth it! We removed a total of 25 bags of invasive species, ensuring that at least this stretch of the road will not be sprayed with pesticides which harm our watersheds, wildlife, and communities.
Photos taken by Nichole Hayward, CAWOOD