Mary Kiesau

April 2019 ENews

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

Harlequin Duck

First Tuesday - Tuesday, April 2nd
Avian Ambassadors: Stitching Continents Together with Don McIvor 
Doors Open at 6:30pm, Presentation is from 7-8pm. 
Free. @ The Merc Playhouse

Join local ornithologist Don McIvor as he considers migratory birds as international citizens who know no borders. In the Methow, our avian migrants knit us together with landscapes as distant and exotic as the high arctic tundra and the pampas of South America. So come explore the fascinating natural phenomena of bird migration, tying in what we know—or can guess—about the seasonal movements of “our” migrating feathered friends.

Photo of Harlequin duck at right by Peter Bauer.

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Save the DateHeadwaters Success!
Hopefully by now you’ve heard that the new Public Lands Package that was signed into law in early March included permanent protection of the Methow Headwaters from mining.  This is a huge victory for the land and water of the Methow Valley and a reminder for all of us that we can have a voice in the future of our communities.  Thank you!

The Methow Headwaters Campaign – a true coalition of many diverse interests, including the Methow Conservancy – is planning a community celebration at the Winthrop Barn on Saturday, April 20th.  Mark your calendar and plan to come celebrate clean water and clear community voices with appetizers, drinks, live music and a program celebrating the community who made it all possible!

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Calling All Volunteers!
Are you celebrating National Volunteer Week?  We are!  And, so are lots of Methow Valley nonprofit organizations.  And, actually, since the Methow Valley is full of over-achievers, we’ll all be celebrating 10 Days of Service, rather than just one week! 

Thanks to Volunteer Methow for spearheading the effort to encourage all of us to get involved in the causes we care about. During the 10 Days of Service in the Methow Valley (April 5th through the 15th), we will be offering 3 different volunteer opportunities for you to get outside and help restore the Earth: 

Bluebird Boxes by mary KiesauSaturday, April 6th - Nest Box Maintenance & Relocation
9am – 1pm, Location: Carpool meets at the Winthrop Barn
For our first in-the-field volunteer work party for the season, we are teaming up again with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. We will be building on last year’s efforts to install wooden bird-boxes for local cavity-nesting species around the Methow Wildlife Area land near Winthrop and Twisp. This year we will be relocating nest boxes that were in unsuccessful locations to new locations and installing predator guards around boxes. We will provide the expertise and tools. You will just need to bring warm clothing, work gloves, water, snacks, and sturdy footwear. Registration is necessary and space is limited to 15. Sign up via Volunteer Methow here.

Saturday and Sunday, April 13th and 14th - Homestream Park Weekend Work Party
First round 9 – 12pm, Lunch 12-1pm, second round 1-4pm, both Saturday and Sunday
As you may have heard, Methow Conservancy Board Member Phil and his wife Kathy Davis have purchased two acres downstream from the town of Winthrop and are in the process of turning that land into a public park! With plans to build a trail, sculptures, and a public gathering area it will be another jewel in Winthrop’s cap. But to get all of this started we need your help. We will be conducting a general cleanup of the property by making piles of the various debris, doing some careful Highway Clean updemolition of the structures (so that materials can be reused), and sorting materials. Sign up via Volunteer Methow here.

And, of course, we’ll still be volunteering even after the 10 Days of Service!

Saturday, May 4th - Walk a Mile & Clean-Up the Road, 9am – 11:30am
The snow is melting and it's time for our first Adopt-a-Hwy clean-up of the year! Volunteers help us twice a year to clean-up our 2-mile section of Hwy 20 between Winthrop & Twisp. Sign up via Volunteer Methow here.

Photo of bluebird box installation by Mary Kiesau, photo of highway clean-up by Laurelle Walsh.

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Heckendorn Work PartyEarth Day Events!
April 22nd marks the 49th celebration of Earth Day.  Now a global event, it is estimated that more than 1 billion people from more than 190 countries will commemorate the day by doing something for the earth.  You can, too, here in the Methow Valley!

Join us for a volunteer work party at our property in the Heckendorn neighborhood on Earth Day, April 22nd from 5:30 to 8pm.  We’ll be celebrating Earth Day and the one-year anniversary of our purchase of the backdrop to the town of Winthrop-- the Heckendorn Hillside Property. We will be picking up, sorting, and hauling off whatever ever debris we can find on the property in order to get the land safe and ready for more work to come! We will provide the expertise and most of the tools. You will just need to bring layers, work gloves, water, snacks, and sturdy footwear. Sign up here.

Or, get a two-for-one celebration with a joint Earth Day/Arbor Day commemoration in the Twisp Commons Park (that’s the park right near the Farmer’s Market and Community Center).  Dwight Filer, long-time Twisp resident, spearheads an effort every year to raise our community awareness and appreciation for trees.  He’ll be in the park from 11 to 1pm on Earth Day with a demonstration on how to effectively plant a tree, pruning tips, and more to keep your trees happy. 

images bar 3Apples by Rachelle Weymuller

Day Dreaming of Summer?
Check out these cool opportunities to work on Methow farms! 

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Tending to Your Trees…
While it may still be too early to muck about in the garden, there is something that those of you with apples and pears can be doing for your trees. Now is a critical time of year to control fire blight, which has been prevalent in recent years.  Here is what to look for and some recommendations from the WSU Tree Fruit Extension.  

Photo of apples by Rachelle Weymuller.

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Mary KiesauWe’re Looking for Landowners!
The Methow Conservancy is gearing up for the spring field season and we want to invite you to apply to participate in a special, limited edition pilot project. We’re calling our new effort the Good Neighbor Project and the goal is to support smaller-acreage landowners in being great stewards (and good neighbors) of their land.  We believe that small-acreage landowners can have a big impact on the land and on the community’s conservation culture. We are planning to pilot our new Good Neighbor Project with about 20-25 smaller-acreage landowners this April and May. We can guarantee that you will learn a lot being part of this project and you will help us learn even more!  Participation is free, we only ask for your time and feedback. 

To apply for this pilot project you will need to have general availability in late April-May and send your name, email, and property address to Daniel. Successful applicants will be emailed with further instructions. Any questions about this project can be directed to Daniel or call (509) 996-2870.

Photo of by Mary Kiesau.

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Happy New Year!
Our fiscal New Year starts on April 1st (no joke!) and we’ll be celebrating with a toast to all of you March Thankswho helped 2018-19 be at truly great year for conservation in the Methow.  You’ve made so many amazing things possible – from our purchase of the Heckendorn and Mazama riverfront parcels to Headwaters Campaign success to hundreds of hours of educational inspiration and so much more.  Thank you! 

More than 100 of you also helped us meet our “March Matchness” goal and close out our 2018-19 fiscal year with another victory for conservation!  Thank you (and big thanks to our challenge donors, too!). 

If you missed the chance to renew your support over the last 12 months, you can start off fiscal year 2019-20 on the right foot and donate any time!  Just visit our secure website or mark your calendar now for GIVE BIG on May 8th.

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Methow Grown GuideMethow Grown Pocket Guide 2.0  
We’re excited to announce that we recently received a grant from the Methow Valley Fund of the Community Foundation of North Central Washington to support continued outreach for our agricultural program. Specifically, we have received funding to produce version 2 of our Methow Grown "pocket guide" to Methow Valley farms and ranches.

Version 1 was so popular, we’ve run out of the free guides that feature farmer stories, stunning photographs, much more. We’re looking forward to updating the guide, adding in even more farms, and printing another visually inspiring guide to make available for free.  We know the guide is a great way to endear and connect our community to our local farmers and ranchers, who work so hard to raise wholesome food for us and to steward our valley's farmland. Thank you Methow Valley Fund and the Community Foundation of North Central Washington! And, if you’d like to pre-order of a copy of the guide, just email us. 

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It’s Time to Begin Getting "Fire Ready!”
by Mary KiesauNow’s the time to begin preparing your home and property for the coming wildfire season. Research repeatedly shows that homes and landscapes designed and maintained to Firewise standards have a greater chance of surviving when fire does sweep through or throws embers from fire nearby (or from more than a mile away with erratic winds).  

The Okanogan Conservation District is offering a series of "Landowners Wildfire Boot Camp" classes in April and May for landowners who want to learn the best management practices to care for their forest and shrub steppe land and to protect their land and homes from wildfire. The classes will be held in Omak at Wenatchee Valley College. Class descriptions, dates and registration can be found on the web at or call 509-682-6900.  Stay tuned for announcements of fire preparedness classes and activities in the Methow Valley.

In addition, you can join Okanogan County Long Term Recovery and the American Red Cross for an open house event at the Methow Valley Community Center to learn about and access resources aimed at making the Methow Valley more fire resilient.  The Fire Strong Workshop will be held on May 1st from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Methow Valley Community Center.  Drop in when you can! Info on other Fire Strong workshops being held across the county can be found here.

And, on our website you can find links to a plethora of Firewise tips and guidelines for home and landscape.  

Photo by Mary Kiesau.

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Learn With Us This Spring
There’s no better time to be a wondering student of natural history in the Methow Valley than spring!  Join us for one of our upcoming educational events.  We’d love to learn with you! 

Tuesday, April 16th - Rocking and Rolling: A Presentation on Sediment in the Methow River
Doors Open at 6:30pm, Presentation is from 7-9pm.  Free. @ The Grange
The Methow Watershed council has invited Jennifer Bountry who has worked as a hydraulic engineer for over 20 years for the Bureau of Reclamation and was recently named Federal Engineer of the Year for her effort on the Elwha Dam Removal Project to come and speak. Jennifer will discuss where different important sediments in the Methow River come from, describe more about an ongoing project to pit tag rocks in the Methow, and how sediments will affect western rivers into the future.

Thursday, April 18th - Molly’s Soap Tour
4:30-5:30 pm, Free.
Introducing our new Methow Share Your Knowledge series! This tour will be an incredible opportunity to experience an inside look at a local craft. Soap maker and small business owner Gabby Beaudin will share her talents for hand-crafting natural, small batch soap made with essential oils and botanical ingredients. For more information about Gabby’s product, visit Registration is necessary and space is limited to 12. Contact us at 996-2870 or email us to reserve your spot.

Birders by Mary KiesauTuesday April 23rd and Wednesday April 24th - Two Spring Mornings of Bird Watching in the Methow with Libby
8am – 1pm, $55 for both days, Location: TBD
Join longtime Washington naturalist and Methow avian expert Libby Mills for two full mornings of learning to use one's ears to recognize bird songs. Libby will also explore how migratory birds use the Methow Valley and how birds tell us what places need protection. Registration is necessary and space is limited to 12. Contact us at 996-2870 or email us to reserve your spot. Photo at left by Mary Kiesau.

Thursday, May 2nd - Spring Flower WalkThrough the Heckendorn Hillside with Mary
3pm – 4:30pm, Free.
Join local botanical expert Mary Kiesau as you meander through the Heckendorn Hillside Property uncovering the surprising variety of wildflowers in the shrub steppe! Registration is necessary and space is limited to 12. Contact us at 996-2870 or email us to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, May 7th - Our May First Tuesday – Reflections on Salmon RecoveryRiver Restoration
Doors Open at 6:30pm, Presentation is from 7-8pm.  Free. @ The Winthrop Barn
Join recently retired local Bureau of Reclamation fisheries biologist Jennifer Molesworth who has worked in the Valley for over 20 years as she takes us on a personal account of the genesis of the salmon recovery process, into the modern era, and extrapolates into the future. Jennifer has been an important presence in this Valley and this will be one presentation that you should not miss.

Wednesday, May 8th - A Methow GenNxt Event- Beers of the Shrub-Steppe   
6pm – 8:30pm, Free. @ TBD
During this GenNxt gathering we will be exploring the relationship between hiking in shrub-steppe and the beers that make it better. Whether it’s the similarities in flavor, aroma, essence, or just the thoughts they can both inspire, they undoubtedly have a bond. And we intend to explore it!! “Methow GenNxt” is the Methow Conservancy’s effort to engage, learn from and support the “next generation” of young adults (early 20s to early 40s). Registration is necessary, as space is limited. Contact us at 996-2870 or email us to reserve your spot.

Purple HoneycreeperFriday, May 17th - A May Special Presentation –The One-of-a-Kind Bird Life of Trinidad and Tabago
7pm – 8pm, Free. @TBD
May is not usually when Methow Valley residents dream of heading south to a tropical island. So, instead, the tropical island and its residents will be coming to the Methow! Martyn Kenefick is a world renowned ornithologist who has spent the last 15 years leading tours and studying the bird life of Trinidad and Tabago. He will be sharing a glimpse of this incredible world and other wonders from the Atlantic coast of South America!

Photo at left is a Purple Honeycreeper by Noel Snyder.

Saturday, May 18th - The Dual Life of our Spring Migrants
8am – 12pm, $20, @TBD
Join world renowned ornithologist Martyn Kenefick from Trinidad and Tabago as we go bird watching in the Methow Valley and hear the other side of the story of our spring migrants as we get the South American perspective on their life histories. We will finally find out if they behave the same in the U.S. as abroad! Registration is necessary and space is limited to 12. Contact us at 996-2870 or email us to reserve your spot.

Monday, May 20th - Spring Bird Walk with Mary
8am – 9:30am, Free, @TBD
Join local avian expert Mary Kiesau for a morning bird walk in a place you’ve probably never been. This is a good time to brush up on those bird songs! Registration is necessary and space is limited to 12. Contact us at 996-2870 or email us to reserve your spot.

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Did You Know?  Science Facts with Julie
By Julie Grialou, our Conservation Biologist
snow meltThe waning of our snowpack is a common conversation this time of year and made me think that it’d be a good E-News topic.  Searching on the web, I came to learn that this process is a lot more complex than one might think.  There are many different factors that affect the rate of snowmelt, the most obvious being air temperature and sun exposure.  When we think of sun exposure, we think of the sun melting the snow into water.  However, some of the effect of solar radiation is actually to turn solid snow into a gaseous phase (water vapor), a process called sublimation.

But there are several other important factors – think about how quickly we lose our snowpack when we have warm Chinook winds.  Why?  Strong, warm winds cause snow to sublimate by rapidly removing water vapor from the snow surface, allowing drier air to come along and thereby removing more water vapor (i.e., removing the snow).

What about the influence of dark objects and snow melting at a faster rate around dark objects? This is known as the “black body effect” and includes some quite complex physics.  I’ll direct you here to learn more about this process. 

Rain - the warmth of water (warmer than snow) causes some direct melting of the snow.  In addition, rain results in snow melt indirectly through the loss of airspace in the snowpack. Air in the snowpack serves as an insulator and makes the snow less sensitive to melting from warm air temperatures. And then there’s the influence of snowpack density and ground temperature.  Ah, so much to ponder.  Happy Spring!

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New Members  - Thank You!

We are always grateful when new people join our list of supporters each month. This month we welcome and thank: Mandi and Clint George, Sally Hunsdorfer, Christina and Van Vanosdoll.

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SarahOur April  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. 

New York Times: Go Home to Your ‘Dying’ Hometown
This article explores the personal story of a woman who has come home to rural Minnesota after a decade of living the urban Portland life to find that she is a whole lot more important than she thought. This is a good one to show your kids before they take off for college, although, they may not fully understand it till years later. Hopefully, one day they decide to come home too.

Seattle Times: Snake River Dams could Save Salmon and Orcas but Destroy Livelihoods
Governor Inslee’s task force for Puget Sound Orcas recovery has recently recommended the breaching of the lower four dams on the Snake River in order to open up historic habitat for Chinook Salmon. This is a controversial recommendation to say the least, and it is a complicated subject that everyone should take the initiative to be well informed on the science and economic impacts of this action. This article is an opinion piece that offers an important insight into the economic impact viewpoint held by some who live and work with the Snake River dams on a daily basis.

Crosscut: He finds humans ‘too unpredictable’- so he studies cougars for a living
This is an interesting interview that is a part of their “I am STEM” series that tells the origin stories of people in science and technology. We all take our own path in life and it’s fun to see how different people make it from point A to point B.

Harvard University: Land Conservation Helps Local Economies Grow
A new study recently published in the Journal Conservation Biology takes a look at the economic impact of public and private land conservation in New England over 25 years. This study adds further proof to our opinion that everyone benefits from land conservation!

New Yorker: How the Little Ice Age Changed History
Starting in the 14th century and lasting for several hundred years there was a period known as the little ice age. During this time temperatures dropped by almost four degrees Fahrenheit and the world started to freeze. The changes in social power structures caused by this climactic shift are still present to this day and may have played a part in our current climate predicament.

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News from the Community

  • The Okanogan Land Trust is hiring an Executive Director.  This is a great opportunity to make a real difference!  For more information, check out their job posting.

  • The Okanogan Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society offers flower and other naturalist hikes through the spring and summer.  See their offerings here

  • Spring Thaw & Draw nature journaling series with Perri Howard and Mary Kiesau:  themed classes will meet on Fridays, 12:30pm-5:00pm, on April 19th, May 3rd, May 17th and May 31st.  You can attend individual classes for $65 each or the whole series for $240.  Each class will begin with a nature walk and lesson, then will move indoors to Perri's studio at TwispWorks.  There are also two day-long sessions for more experienced drawers on April 27th and May 18th.  All materials are included, and space is limited to 12 people per class.  See the themes and other details, and register online at  

  • April 27-28th - Methow Recycles Metal Drive - 9am - 3pm each day. Methow Recycles annual metal drive will be at Cascade Concrete on Horizon Flats Road in Winthrop. More details here.

  • Ruby Slippers Farm is offering a 4-part class on Korean Natural Farming Methods. Join them every Sunday on the farm, starting April 28th, and learn how to make traditional preparations that enhance plant growth and encourage beneficial microbes.  For more information, call Cloudbird (509) 997-2348.

  • The Russians Are Coming!  Join in a dialog with six Russian environmental educators from Siberia and the Russian Far East on Sunday, March 31st at 7pm at Trails End Bookstore.  The Russian botanists/educators are in Washington State to study the American approach to environmental education and they will share their approach, too.

  • MVCC April 19th Climate March: Join MVCC in Twisp on the afternoon of Friday April 19th for the Methow Climate March! In solidarity with actions taking place all over the world, marchers will travel from the TwispWorks campus to the Methow Valley Community Center calling for real action on the climate crisis. Listen to inspiring speakers, learn about education and activism opportunities, and enjoy local food, drink and music. This gathering is about creating positive solutions together as a community---all are welcome! The march starts at 4:30pm at TwispWorks, with event continuing into the evening at the Community Center. Event organized by Methow Valley Citizens Council & North Cascades Indivisible. Email Cameron Green with any questions.

  • Help NCW Audubon across the finish line! Join NCW Audubon on the Sagebrush Songbird Survey, a multi-year shrub steppe avian occupancy study of the Columbia Plateau in eastern Washington. The Survey is a partnership of Audubon Washington, local chapters and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife since 2014 and they are hoping to complete field work in 2019! Field trainings provided in early April. Surveys are performed once a month in spring; one within the last two weeks of April, one within the first two weeks of May and a final survey within the first two weeks of June. For more info and to sign up Contact Christi Norman Audubon WA Program Director or North Central Washington Audubon Chapter Chair, Richard Scranton.

If you are with a community organization and you would like to submit an event to our Enews or Events calendar, please email us before the 25th of each month for consideration.

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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

*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