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28 May . 2024

Quick Guide to Local Flora and Fauna in Tehaleh

Tehaleh is surrounded by lush greenery, scenic trails, and a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna. It’s quite literally a home in the woods. Whether you're a seasoned naturalist or just looking for a family-friendly adventure, bring along a few insights and tips for your next nature outing.

Like evergreens? You’d love the evergreen state!

Keep an eye out for a couple of Tehaleh’s most prominent neighbors: the Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock. These two are natural friends, which makes sense why the Douglas fir is Oregon’s state tree, and the Western Hemlock is Washington’s.

The Douglas fir provides the perfect shady habitat for new Western Hemlocks, and they’re commonly found together. Both can withstand mother nature’s rough conditions and thrive in a wide range of wet and dry climates. Throughout the region, their soaring heights pepper the landscape and both species can live for over a thousand years!

Equally impressive are the Western Red Cedars. Known for their aromatic wood and resilience, they can grow up to 200 feet and love the mild PNW climate. Don’t feel bad for the Western Cedar, as it has found a welcoming home as British Columbia’s official tree. Maybe it prefers the metric system.

Overall, these species are vital to the ecosystem, offering shelter and food for wildlife, and also play a critical role in maintaining soil health.

Fun Fact: Did you know that there are redwoods in Washington state? Washington based PropagationNation is leading the charge to plant giant sequoias around the state to help reduce carbon from the atmosphere.

Time to bloom

Tehaleh's greenery bursts into color each spring and summer casting a pleasantly aromatic sight of flowering plants. Rhododendrons, with their large, vibrant blooms, are a highlight, typically flowering in late spring. You'll find them along many trails, adding splashes of pink, purple, and white to the green backdrop. Plus, they’re the state flower making them an essential part of many Northwest gardens.

Lupines, with their tall spires of blue and purple flowers, are often found living in open meadows. These blooms not only beautify the landscape but also support local pollinators.

Among Tehaleh's flora, some unique and rare plants stand out. One such example is the Western trillium, a delicate, three-petaled flower that blooms in early spring. These plants are sensitive to environmental changes, making them a valuable indicator of forest health. Another interesting plant is the ghostly Indian pipe, which lacks chlorophyll and gets its nutrients from decaying organic matter. These are rare and fascinating finds for those exploring deeper into the woods.

Traces of wildlife high and low

Tehaleh is a haven for birdwatchers, with a rich variety of species to observe. Bald eagles can often be seen soaring above the treetops, a majestic sight for any visitor. Woodpeckers, including the pileated woodpecker with its distinctive red crest, can be heard drumming on tree trunks. Hummingbirds, with their iridescent feathers and rapid wing beats, flit among the flowers, especially around those rhododendrons and lupines.

Into the woods

Around the forests of Tehaleh you might make eye contact with some peaceful animals roaming through their favorite habitats. Catch sight of black-tailed deer gracefully moving through the underbrush. Red foxes, with their bushy tails and keen senses, are often spotted in the early morning or late evening. Raccoons, a bit shy, are known for their nocturnal foraging habits. Even beavers have made their way to Tehaleh’s Discovery Park. These animals all play vital roles in the ecosystem, from seed dispersal to controlling insect populations.

Discover beauty in the small things

It’s true, insects are the unsung heroes of many ecosystems. Bees, both native and honeybees, are crucial for pollinating the flowering plants. Butterflies, such as the striking monarch and the colorful swallowtail, add beauty and contribute to pollination. In addition to their ecological roles, these little guys are fascinating to observe, offering endless opportunities for education and enjoyment. Keep an eye out for the bright red ladybugs and the industrious ants, each playing their part in the forest community.

Nature’s best throughout the seasons.

Spring is a time of renewal. Look for the first blooms of rhododendrons and trilliums, as well as the birth of fawns and other young wildlife. The trails are alive with the sounds of birds and frogs, making it an ideal time for a nature walk.

Summer offers the ideal conditions for hiking and wildlife viewing. We love our longer days and that means more opportunities to spot elk, bears, and birds. Further up in the mountains, once the snow and ice has thawed, you’ll find plenty of chance encounters with mountain goats. When you're finished hiking, stop by Discovery Park to view the gorgeous community garden and visit the community center, where you can kick up your feet and enjoy the fire pit and gorgeous views.

Fall brings a dramatic change to Tehaleh's landscape. The foliage turns vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, providing a stunning backdrop for a quick family photo. Animal behavior also changes, with many species preparing for winter. Look for squirrels gathering acorns and birds migrating.

Winter in Tehaleh is a quieter time but no less interesting. Evergreen trees provide a constant splash of green, while the bare branches of deciduous trees reveal new sights. Wildlife adapts to the cold, with deer growing thicker coats and many birds becoming more visible as they forage for food.

Bring a few respectful tips on your travels

The best times for wildlife viewing: Early morning and late afternoon are generally the best times to see wildlife.

Recommended trail: The Forest Loop Trail is an excellent year-round choice for seeing a variety of flora and fauna.

Responsible observation: Stay on designated trails to protect the environment and avoid disturbing wildlife. Bring binoculars for a closer look and keep your distance from wildlife.

A treasure trove of natural beauty

From its towering evergreens and colorful flowers to its diverse wildlife, there's always something new to discover around Tehaleh. Exploring the 40+ miles of trails is a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the intricate web of life that thrives here. So pack your binoculars, lace up your hiking boots, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Tehaleh.

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