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Yotokko Kilpatrick

"The Willamette Valley was once a mosiac of prairies, savannah, and riparian hardwood forests, burned annually by Native Americans," notes Yotokko Kilpatrick, founder of the Walama Restoration Project. "Now it's highly fragmented -- less than one percent left." WRP enlists schoolkids and other volunteers in projects designed to maintain and restore natural habitat. "We've worked mostly in urban parks," Kilpatrick says. "We've done invasive species removal and riparian habitat revegetation." To honor his Cherokee ancestry, Oklahoma native Kilpatrick adopted the name Yotokko: "mud where shore and water meet." He moved to Eugene in 1991, just before the Gulf War, and helped organize Food Not Bombs, an informal group that served meals under the Washington Street bridge. He left In '96 to study permaculture and sustainable living in several NW locations, aided in the Lomakatsi Restoration Project for the regeneration of watersheds in southern Oregon, then returned to Eugene in '01 to start WRP. "I try to foster connections with the natural world," Kilpatrick says. "These kids will be environmental advocates in 20 or 30 years."

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 24 July 2003

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