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August 2018 ENews

Welcome to E-News - A monthly brief to inspire us all to care for the land of the Methow Valley.


Fire ResourcesTorching_JP
As we go to press with this edition of enews, we are all keeping our eyes on the Gilbert/Crescent Fires up the Twisp River Drainage.  Since fires present ever-changing news, we offer below some of our go-to links for on-line resources you can use to stay informed re: wildfire activity in our community AND links to help you get your home or property better prepared:

Note that as of August 2nd, wood fires and charcoal grills are prohibited in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.  Info here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/okawen/home/?cid=fsbdev3_053600

Big thanks to the firefighters who have been working tirelessly and to all the people who have been helping friends and neighbors up the Twisp River.  Be safe out there!

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Clearer Air?
MV Clean AirWondering where you can go to find clearer air? Check out the new Methow Valley Clean Air Project sensors reporting real-time, air quality conditions throughout the Valley.

This network of “purple air” sensors represents Phase 1 of the new, citizen-science based Clean Air Ambassador project from the Methow Valley Clean Air Project. We anticipate it will have many exciting applications for our community and especially provide an important public health tool. The Methow Conservancy is pleased to sponsor one of these "purple air" sensors in the Valley.

Further details about the project, including how you can get involved, can be found on the Methow Valley Citizens Council website.

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Happy Face Dragonfly_WalkerFirst Tuesday: "Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Pacific Coast"
Tuesday, August 7 
with speaker Jim Walker 7:00pm, at The Merc Playhouse, free.

Dragonflies are fascinating creatures, with a rich heritage of folklore and fables that vary greatly from culture to culture. European cultures tend to see them as dangerous — even deadly. Asian and Native American cultures see them as signs of good luck, longevity, and prosperity. The facts about dragonflies are even more interesting than the fables: 

• They have six legs, but don’t walk.
• They have acute vision, but can’t hear.
• They pre-date dinosaurs, but are going strong today.
• They can spin at 1,000 rpm in mid-flight — the fastest spin in nature

Join Jim Walker, "The Dragonfly Whisperer" for a fascinating look and the lives of dragonflies and damselflies. The doors at The Merc Playhouse will open at 6:30pm.  The event is free and open to everyone.  For more information, contact 996-2870 or email us. Photo by Jim Walker

Dragonfly & Damselfly Field ClassBlue Dasher
Wednesday, August 8th, 11:00am – 2:00pm, $15

Did you know a group of dragonflies and damselflies is called a “dazzle.”  How appropriate!  If you want even more dazzle, then join Jim Walker on Wednesday, August 8th for a field class.  August is prime-time for dragonflies and damselflies, and Jim and his wife will help us identify and observe some of the 60 species that live in the Methow Valley.

During this field class you will view their colorful bodies and unique behaviors via binoculars and spotting scopes – this field-class will not involve catching the insects with nets.  Check out Jim’s blog The Dragonfly Whisperer for more great photos and stories of finding dazzles!

The class costs just $15, and can accommodate 15 people. To register, call us at 996-2870 or email us. Photo by Jim Walker

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Join us for Some Fun Events !
Whether you find yourself in the Methow Valley or just loving the Valley from afar, we’ve got a few late summer through fall events to put on your calendars.
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Thursday, August 9th, 9:30am - Noon for Volunteer Seed Collection!
Help promote healthy riparian areas and steelhead and spring Chinook spawning habitat. Show up to get your feet wet at Hancock Springs for seed collection! We are collecting local sedge seeds to send to a specialty grower in Idaho who cultivates sedge mats for use in the final phase of this local restoration project. Expect to wade in wetlands and work in the sun, so bring rubber boots or sandals (no flip flops please!), sun protection and plenty of water. Collection materials will be provided. For more information contact us at 996-2870 or email us.  Sign up on Volunteer Methow!

Saturday, September 15th, 9am – 1pm  Volunteer Work Party
Join us on the Heckendorn Hillside for some weeding, barb wire fence removal, and wood cleanup. Tools, snacks, and water will be provided. Please bring your own gloves if you have them! We will have a short guided walk into the park at 12:30pm for those who are interested. Sign up on Volunteer Methow!

Thursday, September 27th, 3 – 6pm  Volunteer Work Party
Join us again on the Heckendorn Hillside for a follow up work party of weeding, barb wire fence removal, and wood cleanup. Tools, snacks, and water will be provided. Please bring your own gloves if you have them!  Sign up on Volunteer Methow!

appleSunday, September 30th, 2 – 4pm  Cider Squeeze
It’s the Cider Squeeze:  a sweet celebration of conservation.  We’ll use an historic press to make fresh apple cider juice and enjoy a classic Methow fall afternoon at the Sabold’s house in Winthrop. It’s free!  Everyone welcome!

Tuesday, November 13th  7 –  8:30pm  Methow Mixer in Seattle
We’re bringing our First Tuesday series to Seattle.  We’ve invited Lauren Danner, who gave a really compelling presentation in June in Winthrop on the creation of North Cascades National Park.  We’re still looking for a location – if you have a suggestion, let us know.   

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Quick Shout Outs!
Thanks to Methow Valley Superintendent Tom Venable who sent us (and an impressive number of fellow nonprofit organizations) a really nice email earlier this month noting that the summer edition of the MV Pride is “intended to serve as an acknowledgement of the exceptional teaching and learning taking place in support of the students we serve through our strong partnerships with a variety of educational partners and community-based mentors - you!”  We were excited to see a note about School Yard Science and so inspired by the creativity and engagement of so many Methow Valley nonprofits in our schools. 


Doris Duke ScholarsLots of gratitude to the Doris Duke Foundation Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington for sharing your awesome students with us for a day in the Methow. The Conservation Scholars Program is a 2-year undergraduate research program designed to expose individuals from underrepresented (in conservation) racial and ethnic groups to conservation careers and to provide them with in-depth knowledge on conservation issues and challenges. The focus of our fieldtrip, which was co-lead by UW Fire Ecologist Susan Prichard, was on fire ecology of the Methow, community response to fire, and land stewardship and community issues as relates to fires and fire preparedness.  We spent the day with 20 plus scholars plus 2 program leaders, observing fire-affected and fire-excluded areas, coring trees, discussing fire ecology and also social-equity aspects of conservation, and of course, taking a swim in Patterson. We learned from each other, built connections, and had a great day.

Appreciation to the State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, and Kaleen Cottingham and her staff at the Recreation and Conservation Office for choosing to hold their summer meeting in the Methow Valley this last month.  If you have ever skied across the suspension bridge in Mazama, hunted or fished on Fish and Wildlife land, biked along conserved farmland along the East County Road, or taken a dip in the Wagner Pool, then you have enjoyed the work of the State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board and the important funding they oversee! We were proud to have been invited to share examples of the work that YOU make possible here in the valley, featuring our work with willing private landowners to conserve priority habitat and farmland throughout the Methow Valley. Thanks, too, to the many partner organizations and elected officials who participated alongside us including Mayor Soo Ing Moody, Mayor Sally Ranzau, Senator Brad Hawkins and Representative Mike Steele.

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Speaking of Protecting Land.... heath
If you are thinking about buying property in the Methow Valley and you’d like to be play a role in protecting critical wildlife habitat, fertile agricultural soils, or scenic views, you just might be a conservation buyer.  Conservation buyers can purchase properties already protected with a conservation easement and help us ensure they are well-cared for into the future.  Or, after purchasing a property, they can choose to place a conservation easement on a property in order to protect high quality habitat, significant river frontage, connection to existing protected areas, or productive agricultural soils that are at risk of subdivision and degradation. It’s a great opportunity to join a wonderful community of conservation heroes!!


If you would like to learn more about conservation buyer opportunities or if you would like to add your name to our list of interested conservation buyers, please contact us at 509-996-2870 or email us .

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Methow Grown GuideGot Your Farm Guide?
Keep your eye out around the Valley for this eye-catching 48-page Methow Grown guide.  Agricultural Programs Director Alyssa Jumars worked with 20 different local farmers, ranchers, and orchardists and photographers Rachelle Weymuller and Sasha Swerdloff to create this compelling look at the innovative approaches agriculturalists are taking to ensure agriculture thrives in the Methow Valley.  The farm profiles are an extension of our Methow Grown project, where you can see our short films on various farms, ranches, and orchards around the Valley . 

Thanks to the Methow Valley Fund of the Community Foundation of North Central Washington for providing funding for this publication.

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Support Stewardship and Once-in-a-Lifetime Land Protection Opportunitiesheckendorn_jp
Your support of our Annual Operating Fund is essential to ensuring we can inspire people to care for the land.  Thank you!

In addition to our Annual Operating Fund, you can also give to our Tina Scull Stewardship and Land Protection Opportunity Fund.  This fund helps us complete land protection projects like our recent purchase of the Heckendorn property just outside of Winthrop and will ensure we have adequate funds to care for it.  If you are interested in learning more about the many ways your financial support can help protect and care for more land, please contact our Associate Director Sarah Brooks at 509-996-2870 or email her . You can also give online - just be sure to type in Land and Stewardship Opportunity Fund in the comments section. Thank you!

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Gen NXT Re-Cap by Daniel Senner
It was another hot day in the Valley--the kind that makes you wish you were a river raft guide. Yet there we were gathered down in Twisp Park for the Third Annual Gen Nxt Summer Social Event for a game of capture the flag. The grass field was laid out with bright green and orange cones, two teams of eight were randomly selected, and Sarah with megaphone in hand was tasked with refereeing what was sure to be a competitive match.

GenNxt July 2018Thanks to a little gerrymandering, the teams were evenly matched. (If you're curious about the competition, check out our super short video from the epic play.)

After an hour of hot, competitive fun, it was time to move on.  Exhausted, we all walked over to the OSB Twisp Works where the air was cooler and enjoyed a pint, some East 20 pizza, and got to know each other. While our group was a mix of long time and new residents, many were first time participants in GenNxt.

Once everyone had their fill, we gathered outside in a power circle for a short debrief. Jason spoke about how great it is to see a new generation of Valley residents showing up to care for the Valley, preserve a Methow way of life, and offered a preview of upcoming Gen Nxt events focused on getting out into the community to get things done. Then Miles from Methow Recycles shared a few words about the significance of Volunteer Methow to their operation and the desire to see more young people out volunteering in the community. Everyone left chatty, happy, and ready for a dip in the river.

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Did You Know: About the Douglas-fir Tussock Moth
Tussock CaterpillarHave you seen this caterpillar lately?  If so, you are seeing the caterpillar stage of the Douglas-fir tussock moth (Orgyia pseudotsugata), aka DFTM.  The DFTM is native to our region and is episodic in its population abundance, with outbreaks occurring about once every 10 years.  The last outbreak in the Methow Valley peaked in 2010. Outbreaks generally last for 2 to 4 years, with significant damage to host trees occurring for 1 to 2 of these years.Doug Fir Damage


The DFTM is a defoliator that as a young caterpillar (June in our region) feeds primarily on the new needles of Douglas-fir and grand fir (and also ornamental spruce trees and subalpine fir at higher elevations).  As the caterpillar matures, it feeds on both new and old needles.  During peak infestation periods, up to 40% of Douglas-fir and true firs in an area can be killed.  Young trees and trees growing in dense stands are most vulnerable to mortality.

As a native insect with outbreaks that are self-regulating, DFTM can create beneficial forest effects to low-elevation mixed Douglas-fir/Ponderosa pine (typical forest type of private forestland owners in the Methow) by reducing Douglas-fir density in areas where the density of this species has become higher than desirable.  However, depending on the amount of mortality, the resulting forest can be at higher risk of fire impacts due to higher fuel loads from the dead trees. 

In riparian areas where Douglas-fir provides the main source of shade, defoliation can negatively impact salmonid habitat. Some additional impacts that can be of concern include aesthetics and timber values. In addition, the hairs of the caterpillars can cause an allergic reaction in people, with symptoms including itchy skin, rashes, water eyes, and sneezing.

Current Status in the Methow
This summer, Methow Conservancy staff have sighted DTFM caterpillars a couple of times in the Mazama area.  Follow-up field reconnaissance by USFS Forest Entomologist Connie Mehmel did not identify additional caterpillars, and it appears that the DFTM population in our area is still low but may be building.

Monitoring and What You Can Do
The USFS and Washington Department Natural Resources (DNR) keep track of DFTM populations and outbreaks. If you own forestland, you can help them by looking for DTFM sign.  The needles of infected trees will turn and orangish-brown in their upper crowns first, followed by needle color change to the lower parts of the tree.  Egg Mass_Glenn Kohler


This time of year (August thru the winter), you can look for egg masses on the underside of Douglas-fir branches.  The egg masses are about 1-inch across, gray, and hairy with pearly-white eggs (see photo).  It is best to avoid touching the eggs masses directly, as the hairs can be irritating to your skin and eyes. 

Connie Mehmel has mentioned that it would be very helpful if you could collect (using gloves) egg masses you observe and place each egg mass in its own paper bag labeled with the date and place of collection.  You can bring them to the Conservancy, or Connie can pick them up at your place. The USFS will analyze the egg masses to determine the level of virus and parasitism. This information is used when considering whether bio-control treatment is warranted.

Sources and Contacts:
Photos by: WDNR and WSU (2017) and Glenn Kohler of WDNR
Connie Mehmel, USFS Forest Entomologist: cmehmel@fs.fed.us; 509-664-9213
Glenn Kohler, WDNR Forest Entomologist: glenn.kohler@dnr.wa.gov; 360-902-1342)
Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). 2012.  Forest Health Alert: Douglas-fir Tussock Moth
WDNR and Washington State University (WSU) Forestry Extension.  2017. Time for Another Outbreak of the Douglas-fir Tussock Moth? 

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Our August Reading List:
Our email inboxes here at the Methow Conservancy are often full of articles we share with each other to help inform our work or inspire discussion.  We thought you might be interested in seeing what we’ve been reading. 

Editor’s note: These articles do not represent the beliefs or opinions of the Methow Conservancy or its staff. We offer them purely as a means of sparking discussion.

Jeanne ReadingSeattle Times: Seattle Tops the Nation in Tower Cranes for Third Straight Year as Construction Reaches New Peak.
Snapshot: We all know that Washington State’s population is growing, especially around King County. Here is further proof, and a reminder that rapid growth on the Westside translates to increased pressure on Eastside land and natural resources.

The Nature Conservancy: Can White Canvas Bags Reduce Deer – Vehicle Collisions?
Snapshot: Mule deer populations are in decline in many locations in the West. One of the causes of their population decline is becoming roadkill. So Wyoming Department of Transportation conducted research on three wildlife-vehicle collision hotspots in Wyoming and came to an interesting conclusion.

New York Times:  California’s Birds Are Testing New Survival Tactics on a Vast Scale
Snapshot: A super-interesting read about scientists’ efforts to track how birds have been adapting over the last century. 

National Public Radio: A Few More Bad Apples, as the Climate Changes, Fruit Growing does, Too.
Snapshot: Warmer temperatures are causing problems for fruit producers: it leads to more pests, diseases, weeds, and even sunburn. If it doesn’t get cool enough at night for their pigment to fix in place, an apple won’t turn red. Producers now use a calcium carbonate as a form of sunscreen for apples. Other problems seen here in the Valley, don’ have such a simple solution, like the recent outbreak of apple maggots.

If you’ve got a good article to share with us, send it to us

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Methow Conservancy Events
River JewelwingAugust 7:  “First Tuesday” Program, “Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Pacific Coast” with speaker Jim Walker 7:00pm, at the Merc Playhouse, free. (River jewelwing photo below by Jim Walker)

August 8: Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Pacific Coast” field class with Jim Walker 11:00am-2:00pm, $15*, limited to 15 people. To register, call us at 996-2870 or email us.  

August 9th: Volunteer Seed Collection, 9:30am - Noon Help promote healthy riparian areas and steelhead and spring Chinook spawning habitat. Show up to get your feet wet at Hancock Springs for seed collection! We are collecting local sedge seeds to send to a specialty grower in Idaho who cultivates sedge mats for use in the final phase of this local restoration project. Expect to wade in wetlands and work in the sun, so bring rubber boots or sandals (no flip flops please!), sun protection and plenty of water. Collection materials will be provided. For more information contact us at 996-2870 or email us.  Sign up on Volunteer Methow!

September 4: "First Tuesday" Program - Apples to Apples: What You Need to Know About the Apple Maggot Quarantine and Caring for Backyard Fruit.  Location TBD.  Free.
Mike Claus of the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and Dan McCarthy of the Okanogan County Horticultural, Pest, and Disease Control Board will inform us about the proposed Apple Maggot Quarantine in the upper Methow Valley.  They will also offer solutions for managing backyard tree fruit and preventing the spread of critical pests like Apple Maggot and Coddling Moth.  

September 15: Volunteer Work Party on Heckendorn Hillside, 9am – 1pm: Weeding, barb wire fence removal, and wood cleanup. Tools, snacks, and water will be provided. Please bring your own gloves if you have them! We will have a short guided walk into the park at 12:30pm for those who are interested. Sign up on Volunteer Methow!

September 27: Volunteer Work Party on Heckendorn Hillside, 3 - 6pm: Join us again on Heckendorn Hillside for a follow up work party of weeding, barb wire fence removal, and wood cleanup. Tools, snacks, and water will be provided. Please bring your own gloves if you have them!  Sign up on Volunteer Methow!

Cider SqueezeSeptember 30:  Annual Cider Squeeze,  2 - 4pm, free.  Save the Date!  It’s a sweet celebration of conservation.  We’ll use an historic press to make fresh apple cider juice and enjoy a classic Methow fall afternoon at the Sabold’s house in Winthrop. Free.

Oct 6-7: Wildlife Track & Sign Certification Class, $200*.  Spend two full days in the field with professional wildlife tracker, naturalist and educator, David Moskowitz.  David's approach is highly interactive, with "test" questions starting the moment we meet-up. David actively engages participants in identification and interpretation of tracks and signs, and builds in lots of time for questions and discussion, too.  This style is an excellent way to learn and investigate, and you might even achieve a wildlife tracking certificate through Cybertracker Conservation. Certificates are awarded on three levels. The whole experience is a lot of fun to boot!  The class is limited to 11 people, and costs $200* per person. Lodging and food are on you own. There is currently a waitlist for this class.   Coyote Skull_Kiesau

Nov 11: The Wide World of Animal Skulls & Bones, indoor class with Marcus Reynerson,9:00am-4:30pm, $65*, limited to 20 people.  All animals engage with the world through their sensory perception via the skull. Through studying the evolutionary history that is evident in the structures of skulls, we can get a rich glimpse into the lives of animals. What are its dominant senses? What is its primary diet? How is this animal adapted to live in particular environments? How do you identify an animal based on its skull? These are some of the questions we will work through with wildlife and skull expert Marcus Reynerson of the Wilderness Awareness School during this in-depth daylong workshop exploring the fascinating world of the skulls and bones of some of our local species.  The class is $65.  Space is limited and registration is required. Contact us at 996-2870 or email us to reserve your spot. (Skull photo to right by Mary Kiesau.)

Nov 13:  Methow Mixer in Seattle, with Lauren Danner presenting “Crown Jewel:  Creating North Cascades National Park”.  7 – 8:30pm, location TBD.  North Cascades National Park is remote, rugged, spectacularly majestic, and 50 years old this year.  Writer and historian, Lauren Danner, chronicles how politics and the wilderness movement of the 1950s and 1960s resulted in the park's 1968 creation.  The story is a window into the modern environmental movement in the Pacific Northwest and a reminder that national parks are not only wild landscapes of national significance, but the result of political negotiation and compromise. Join us for this insightful look into our backyard and mix and mingle with others who love the Methow Valley!

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News from Other Organizations
cibSeptember 8th:  Help support Classroom in Bloom's garden education programming at their annual Fall Garden Party on September 8th from 5:00-7:00 PM. Click here for more information and to buy tickets. 

September 14th – 15th:  Join the USFS Chelan/Entiat Ranger District, HawkWatch International, and North Central Washington Audubon Society this fall for the 9th annual Chelan Ridge Hawk Migration Festival. This free family event combines activities in Pateros, WA and migration trips to the Chelan Ridge migration site to learn about and celebrate raptors as they journey to winter territories. See more details here.

Looking for a job with a Washington Land Trust? There are several great job postings from organizations in WA (and beyond) at the Washington Association of Land Trusts jobs page.

Get on the ENews mailing list
If you got to this Newsletter through our website, but would like to get the link monthly in an email, let us know by emailing us.

Republishing of any part of Methow Conservancy E-News is by permission only. 
Contact us at 509-996-2870 or info@methowconservancy.org

*Our Cancellation and Refund Policy
If you cancel or leave a fee-based course for any reason:
Full refunds will be given if the request is received two weeks or more before the day of the program (class, workshop, field trip, etc.).  If the cancellation is made less than two weeks before the start of the program, the Methow Conservancy will give a full refund only if we are able to fill your spot.  If you cancel 24 hours or less before the start time of the program or after the class has started there will be no refund of the program fee.  Although we rarely need to do so, we reserve the right to cancel a program.  In this case you will receive a full refund.

 
 
 
 
 
 
315 Riverside Avenue / PO Box 71    Winthrop, WA 98862     509.996.2870