Monthly Program - “Methow Water Rights: Protect them, use them or lose them”
Tuesday, January 9, 7:00-8:30pm at the Methow Valley Community Center

Do you have questions regarding your water rights? Are you concerned about your water use or maybe you need a vacation from irrigating? Do you just want to understand more about how water rights work?  Washington Water Trust will shed light on all this plus one of the best kept secrets for water right holders: Washington’s Trust Water Rights Program. "Use ‘em, or loose ‘em" is real. Learn tips and tools to better protect and manage your water rights, the environment, and even your bottom line.

Even if you don’t have water rights this program will explain this sometimes confusing but important Methow issue so you can be an informed citizen!

This is a “First Tuesday” program on the 2nd Tuesday of January! Co-hosted by the Methow Watershed Council & the Methow Conservancy. The doors open at 6:30pm. The program is free and open to everyone. For more information, contact 996-2870 or

2017 Methow Conservancy Conservation Award Winners
Dawn by Jason PaulsenThe Methow Conservancy proudly announced the recipients of its 2017 Methow Conservation Awards at the December communityprogram and year-end social at the Winthrop Barn. 

Rachelle Weymuller and Val Stouffer share this year’s Susie Stephens Award for their exceptional volunteer service to the Methow Conservancy’s Methow Grown project.  Kelli and Neil Rotstan were honored with the You Inspire Us Award for their commitment to creating and sustaining the Volunteer Methow websiteDawn Woodruff was named this year’s Ken White Award winner for her 18-year commitment to conservation in the Methow Valley as the longest tenured employee of the Methow Conservancy.  

For more information on the organization’s awards and to see past recipients go to

These awards, and much more, are featured in our recently mailed bi-annual Newsletter, including a tribute to Dawn who retired from our organization at the end of December.  We miss you Dawn!  Find her at the Twisp library where she continues her community work as the Twisp Librarian.

Win-Win! Methow Grown Film Festival & Experience the Methow Auction
Online Auction runs February 12th - 18th, culminating at the Methow Grown Film Festival February 18th, 4 to 6pm at the Winthrop Barn

Our popular online “Methow Experiences” auction is back!  And to top it all off, as the auction closes on the Sunday of Presidents’ Day Weekend, we’re throwing a film festival party.  Mark your calendar now and be sure to look for reminder emails about the online auction from February 12-18th.  Wherever you are, you’ll have a chance to bid onJohn S by MC Staff incredible, unique, amazing experiences that will remind you why you love this Valley so much and, in the process, you’ll support our conservation efforts.  A win-win for conservation and your fun in 2018! 

The Methow Experience Auction - Feb 12th - 18th
We've asked Methow Conservancy Board Members, Staff, and Members to share some of their favorite things to do (or see) in the Methow Valley (or beyond). This is not your usual auction of "stuff" but rather a chance to celebrate the “special nature” of this Valley.  For example, items include a kid-friendly tour of Jane Gilbertsen’s famous chicken farm, a special Last Salmon dinner party featuring live performances from the popular Methow-grown musical, and maybe even the Methow Conservancy staff weeding your property!  (If you have ideas for a Methow Experience or item you’d like to donate, contact Sarah at

We’ll send you a special email when the auction website is up in early February, so you’ll have time to preview the items and plan your bidding strategies.  Bids will begin on Monday, February 12th and close on Sunday February 18th.  Remember, this is an online auction, so winning bids can come from anywhere!

The Methow Grown Film Festival & Party - Feb 18th, 4 to 6pm at the Winthrop Barn
The online auction will close in the midst of our Methow Grown Film Festival event.  We hope you’ll join us on this fun holiday weekend for a great happy hour party!  We’ll have food and drink while sharing some of our original short films showcasing local Methow agriculturalists. Their creativity, resilience, sense of humor, and dedication to raising wholesome food and stewarding the land will inspire you in these “virtual farm tours.”  Mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details!

Winter Wildlife & Nature Classes
Winter is a great time for natural history and learning new things.  We have a few spaces left in some of our popular classes.  See below!

Bringing the Outside In: Drawing Nature
Joyce BergenKick off the New Year with a natural history & nature drawing class series with instructors Perri Howard & Mary Kiesau.  Each class will start outdoors for the first hour then move to Perri’s indoor studio at TwispWorks for about three hours.  The outdoor hour will be a natural history lesson lead by Mary on the class topic (animal tracks or winter plants for instance). 

We’ll pick locations close to Twisp that are easy to access and may or may not need snowshoes. The indoor session, led by Perri, will focus on drawing lessons and practice.  All materials, including pens, pencils, paper, and photos and drawings from which you may work, will be included, but feel free to bring your own materials if you’d like.  Themed classes will be every other Friday, 12:30pm-5:00pm, on the following dates:
Jan 5: winter birds (full)
Jan 19: animal tracks (one spot available)
Feb 2: winter plants (full but waitlist available)
Feb 16: mammals  (space available!)
Classes are $65 each.  Space is limited to 8 people per class, and registration is required. Contact us at 996-2870 or to reserve your spot or for more information. 

The Wide World of Animal Skulls & Bones
Saturday, January 13th, 9:00am-4:00pm at the TwispWorks Education Station. $65by Mary Kiesau
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 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  to reserve your spot.

Winter Wildlife Tracking 
Always popular, our three tracking classes have filled but it never hurts to get on the waitlist!  Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife trackers and educators.  Learn how to identify and interpret wildlife tracks and signs so that you can connect with the hidden lives of the creatures that share this land with us!  Snowshoes and good fitness are necessary. Contact us at 996-2870 or  to get on the waitlist for the day you prefer.  Each class is $45/person. 
January 14th, 8:30am-12:30pm with Marcus Reynerson (full but waitlist available)
February 3rd, 8:30am-12:30pm with David Moskowitz (full but waitlist available)
February 4th, 8:30am-12:30pm with David Moskowitz (full but waitlist available)


From the Ag Desk: Farmland Linking
by Rachelle WeymullerAccess to affordable farmland in the Methow Valley is undeniably a challenge for our local farmers.  However, many of our farmers and ranchers don’t aspire to own all of the land they work.  Instead, they often own a core farmstead, and reach out to create a successful patchwork of formal or informal lease arrangements on lands nearby.

Last spring, we created the beginnings of a match-making database – with the hope of gathering information about landowners in the Methow Valley who may have land they would like to make available to local farmers.  If you are such a landowner, and would like to explore the possibility of actively supporting a local farmer and strengthening our valley’s foodshed, follow this link or contact our Agricultural Coordinator, Alyssa Jumars, at  

(Photo caption: Jennifer Hover uses a restorative approach to her grazing rotation. Photo by Rachelle Weymuller

Studying Herps
Mondays, February 12th to March 19th, 6:00 - 8:00pm at the Winthrop Barn, $170

Animals that slither, slide, creep and crawl are the focus of the 2018 “Methow Conservation Course.” Sound scary? Nah! Cold blooded sure, but they’re far more fascinating than scary. We’re talking about amphibians and reptiles - snakes, salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles and lizards - or “herps.”

by Mary KiesauFrom slimy to scaly, scurrying to slithering, aquatic to dry desert, egg layers to live birthers, deadly poisonous to downright cute – reptiles and amphibians are as diverse as they are cool. There are over 6,700 species of amphibians and over 9,000 species of reptiles in the world, and while we’ll only focus on a large handful of them, we will dive deep into learning about species both from the Methow and in other areas of Washington, as well as a few very interesting herps from around the globe.

With well-known scientist-instructors including Dan Beck, John Rohrer, Scott Fitkin and several others from around Washington, the course will remind you of a college-level seminar, with engaging lectures, optional reading materials, discussion amongst your peers, and a small class size.  We will hear from scientists who are monitoring herps, working on species management plans and conducting research to better understand what these sensitive creatures can tell us about what is happening to local and global environments.

In addition to providing interesting education on a few dark winter nights, this year’s course will be the launching lily-pad for a Spring “Amphibian Survey” citizen science project.  Course participants will be given priority in signing up for the one-day mid-April training for the survey and then taking part in the 4-6 week survey of Methow ponds this spring. However, even if you can’t take the conservation course this winter, you’ll still have a chance to participate in the spring Amphibian Survey.  We’ll keep you posted on that.

The Herpetology Conservation Course will run from February 12th to March 19th with one class per week on Mondays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Winthrop Barn. Tuition is $170 and registration is open now.  Need-based scholarships, in the form of a reduced or waived fee, are available to a limited number of people who are able to help with the course.  Contact Mary at or 509-996-2870 for questions about the course or to register.

Conservation Easement Properties on the Market
Hungry Mtn RanchWhen the Methow Conservancy and a landowner protect a piece of property with a conservation easement that is just the beginning of the conservation story. As with all private land, these protected properties may be sold to new owners. The conservation easement stays with the land, and the Methow Conservancy continues to work in partnership with any new landowners to ensure the conservation values of the property are maintained. 

There are often conservation easement properties for sale in the Methow Valley. We have a webpage featuring all these special properties, complete with direct links to their realty pages. Take a look at our “Conservation Buyer” webpage

The Methow Conservancy hopes to promote the purchase of conservation easement properties to those with a strong understanding and pride in the conservation values and ongoing stewardship of the land.

New Members  - Thank You!
We are always grateful when new people join our list of supporters each month. We’ve had so many new members this month, in fact, that we are still entering them all into our computers, so this list includes people who became new members of the Methow Conservancy in the first part of December: Sarah Buhayar, Leonard & Nicole Henzke, Michele & Curtiss Koger, Tessa McGee, Marchell and Steve Tomschin, and Jaime Welfelt.  Thank you!

Methow Conservancy Events

January 9th: “First Tuesday” Program, "WA Trust Water Rights” with the Methow Watershed Mary Kiesau 7:00pm at the Methow Valley Community Center, free.  Washington Water Trust will shed light on one of the best-kept secrets for water right holders: Washington’s Trust Water Rights Program.  See above for more details.

January 13th: Animal skull and bone identification class with instructor Marcus Reynerson, 9:00am-4:00pm at the TwispWorks Education Station. $65, space limited, registration required. Space is available!  See above for more details.   

January 14th: Snowshoe Wildlife Tracking Class with instructor Marcus Reynerson, 8:30am-12:30pm, $45, space limited, registration required. See above for more details.    (class is full but a waitlist is available)

January 19th: “Bringing the Outside In” Natural History & Nature Drawing class on animal tracks with instructors Mary Kiesau & Perri Howard, 12:30pm-5:00pm, $65.  Space limited, registration required. See above for more details.    

January 22nd (5:00 to 6:00pm) Introduction to NRCS cost-share opportunities for on-farm conservation practices
This will be a workshop for farms or ranchers looking to partner with the NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service), to engage in on-farm conservation practices.  Attendees will learn more about applicable NRCS programs, the grant application cycle, and the application process.  Contact for details or to RSVP.

January 22nd (6:00 to 7:00pm) YOU can impact how NRCS resources are allocated in our region
Especially those who have worked with NRCS in the past are encouraged to attend this workshop and learn about the “Local Working Group” process – and how their input can significantly affect how NRCS resources are allocated among conservation programs in our region. Contact for details or to RSVP.

February 2nd: “Bringing the Outside In” Natural History & Nature Drawing class on winter plants with instructors Mary Kiesau & Perri Howard, 12:30pm-5:00pm, $65 or $240 for 4-class series (1/5; 1/19; 2/2; 2/16).  Space limited, registration required. See above for more details.    

February 3rd: Snowshoe Wildlife Tracking Class with instructor David Moskowitz, 8:30am-12:30pm, $45, space limited, registration required. See above for more details.    (class is full but a waitlist is available)

February 4th: Snowshoe Wildlife Tracking Class with instructor David Moskowitz, 8:30am-12:30pm, $45, space limited, registration required. See above for more details.    (class is full but a waitlist is available)   

February 6th: “First Tuesday” Program, “River of Hope: The Columbia River, from Source to Sea” with speaker Peter Marbach, 7:00pm. Location TBA.

February 12-18th: Methow Experience Online Auction.  Wherever you are, bid on unique Methow (and beyond) adventures, services, items, performances and more! See above for more details. 

Joyce BergenFebruary 16th: “Bringing the Outside In” Natural History & Nature Drawing class on mammals with instructors Mary Kiesau & Perri Howard, 12:30pm-5:00pm, $65. Space limited, registration required. See above for more details.   

February 18th:  Methow Grown Film Festival, 4:00-6:00pm at the Winthrop Barn.  Join us for food, drinks and our Methow Grown film, festival plus the end to our entertaining Methow Experience online auction!  See above for more details.

March 6th: “First Tuesday” Program, “Sasquatch: Man-Ape or Myth?” with speaker David George Gordon, 7:00pm. Location TBA

April 3rd: “First Tuesday” Program, “Native Bees” with speaker Don Rolfs, 7:00pm. Location TBA

News from Other Organizations

The Confluence Poets present the Second-Annual William Stafford Birthday Reading on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 from 5:00-6:30 pm at Trail’s End Bookstore in Winthrop.  Featured readers include Alana Blusol, Christine Kendall, Kelleigh McMillan, Danica Ready, Julianne Seeman, Julie Tate-Libby, along with Liberty Bell High School students Lazo Gitchos, Kyleen Romero, and Leo Shaw, and host Cindy Williams Gutiérrez.  The featured readers will read one Stafford poem and a poem of their own that resonates with the Stafford poem.  Following the featured readers, audience members will then be invited to share their favorite Stafford poem or a personal story about William Stafford.  Please join in this communal tribute to poet William Stafford remembered for his wisdom and his love of the Methow Valley.  Bring your favorite Stafford poem or tale to share!

Methow Trails hosts “Nature of Winter Snowshoe” Tours every Saturday from Jan 6 - Feb 24 at both Sun Mountain and Jacks Hut at the Freestone Inn.  These family-friendly snowshoe tours start at 11:00am and are led by local volunteers who focus on winter ecology, wildlife and tracks, snow science and more.  See more details here.

The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust (CDLT), based in Wenatchee, WA, is hiring an Associate Director to help lead the growing and successful land conservation organization in North Central Washington.  See more details here.

The Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS) seeks an Executive Director to lead their grassroots organization in North Central Washington. The mission of IRIS is to foster sustainable rural communities by gathering and sharing success stories that enhance a sense of belonging, inspire action, and build community.  For more information email

The Okanogan Conservation District has two openings.  See details for the District Treasurer job here, and the Americorps Conservation Educator (K-12) job here

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 Mary.

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