an urban oasis of nature and wildlife

An oasis exists in Moscow where children and parents alike get glimpses of wildlife on their daily commute to and from McDonald Elementary School.  Ducks, geese, songbirds, pheasant, raccoons, muskrats, cottontails, and occasionally, beaver provide uncommon companionship and a welcomed pause during the urban shuffle to and from school. 

Maynard Fosberg and the prairie restoration planting

Maynard Fosberg and the prairie restoration planting

The twenty acres owned and now preserved by Maynard Fosberg in in the heart of Moscow.  Maynard and his late wife, Margaret purchased the property in 1951 when their land was considered too far out of town for public services, like milk delivery.  Gradually the city grew up around them, making their little homestead a natural sanctuary in the midst of urban development. 

The property would have been an ideal subdivision with its central location in town, but the Fosbergs appreciated the land far beyond its monetary value.  In 1999 they worked with the Land Trust to permanently protect their property from future urbanizing, ensuring it would retain its natural, scenic, and agricultural function, as well as provide valuable open space and educational opportunities for the town of Moscow. 

The Fosberg’s conservation ethic of valuing open space and appreciating nature motivated them to improve on the property by restoring a portion of Paradise Creek and reestablishing native Palouse Prairie to the segment of land not producing hay.  They worked closely with the Latah Soil and Water Conservation District and the Palouse Prairie Foundation to plant riparian vegetation, as well as native grasses to restore the health and habitat of the creek and prairie, making welcome and unexpected habitat for urban wildlife.  More recently, with the help of the Latah Soil and Water Conservation District, Maynard has installed a pollinator garden strip along the property edge on D Street.

Not only have the Fosbergs taken great steps to return a portion of urban Moscow to its original state, but they have created a natural sanctuary for wildlife and the community to enjoy.  Sometimes it’s the little projects such as this that create the biggest ripples.