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January 2019 ENews

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

David HillFirst Tuesday on a Thursday: January 3: Citizen Scientists and Seasonal Snow Modeling with David Hill
The Merc Playhouse. Doors Open at 6:30pm, Presentation is from 7-8pm.

OSU Environmental Engineering professor and co-leader of the NASA-funded Community Snow Observation Project, David Hill will share more about this ongoing project to better understand mountain snow distribution using citizen science and satellite remote sensing. Given how important snow is for fish, wildlife, recreation and human activity, it’s no surprise that scientists work hard to figure out just how much snow has landed on the ground. But even with sophisticated modeling programs and technological tools, citizen scientists can play a role and add to our understanding of snow.  Come learn more about this fascinating project and, if you are interested, how you can get involved! 

Photo by David Hill.

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Winter Wildlife & Nature Classes
Did you make a New Year’s resolution to be more mindful or to learn something new?  Our upcoming wildlife and nature offerings are great opportunities to practice being a thoughtful observer and to gain fascinating insights into this Valley we love! 

trackingWinter Tracking with Nate Bacon - 8:30am-12:30pm, $45.

January 12th
February 9th

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!  We are offering two separate half-day field-classes with extremely knowledgeable local wildlife track and sign teacher Nate Bacon. Snowshoes and good fitness are necessary.  Registration is required and space is limited.  Contact us at (509) 996-2870 or email us  to reserve your spot for one or both sessions. Photo by Mary Kiesau.

Great Horned Owl_JP Big Valley Owling Adventure, 7 – 8:30pm, Free. Both sessions are full with waitlist!

January 16th
Feb. 20th

We'll do a night walk (or ski!) of the Big Valley loop looking and listening for owls! To sign up for one or both sessions,  email us or call (509) 996–2870.  Free.
Photo by Jason Paulsen.


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Soil_SwerdloffGet the Dirt on Soil
This year we are hosting our winter Conservation Course on soil health, in the hopes of demystifying some of the basics of soil science and applied practices for improving soil health.

We’re excited to offer our community of avid gardeners the opportunity to dig in, and hear from speakers from Washington State University, Wenatchee Valley College, and our local agricultural community. 

We’ll be introduced to the basics of soil chemistry and soil biology, and we’ll take a closer look at the role and the cycle of carbon in the soil.  We’ll also explore common practices for improving soil health, and come away with some hands-on lessons to take to the field or the garden in the spring!  Below is a quick look at each class:

  • February 25th: Basics of Soil Chemistry, with Dr. Jeff Bullock, Ph.D of Agricultural Sciences, Wenatchee Valley College
  • March 4th: Basics of Soil Biology, with Dr. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, Ph.D of Soil Science, WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • March 11th: Carbon Cycling in the Soil, with Dr. Haiying Tao, Ph.D of Crop and Soil Sciences and director of WSU’s Soil Fertility Lab. 
  • March 18th: Applied Practices for Improving Soil Health, with local garden gurus including: Tess Hoke, creator of YardFood, and Brad Halm, author of High-Yield Vegetable Gardening: Grow More of What you want in the Space You Have

The seminar series will meet from 6-8 pm on Monday evenings, location Your Space @ Twispworks.   The price for the course is $95, or $30 per class. To register or for more information, email Alyssa or call (509) 996-2870. Photo by Sasha Swerdloff.

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All the Latest News
Hopefully you received our twice-a-year printed newsletter in mid-December.  If you only receive our newselectronically or if your page 1newsletter got lost in the holiday catalog shuffle, here’s a link to the newsletter as a PDF

The issue features many articles not covered in E-news, including a shout out to our 2018 Conservation Award Winners – Scott Stluka for the Susie Stephens Award, Hannah Dewey for the You Inspire Us Award, and Tina and Eliot Scull for the Ken White Award. 

The newsletter also highlights the findings from the recently completed study to fully understand livestock producers’ need for improved access to slaughter and butchering.  The study was funded by a grant from the USDA Rural Business Development Program and was conducted in partnership with the Okanogan Conservation District and the TwispWorks Foundation.  The study work was led by our Agricultural Coordinator, Alyssa Jumars, and was advised by a group of a dozen livestock producers from across the county, including several producers from the Methow Valley. 

If you’d like to be added to our printed newsletter mailing list, just email us or call us at 996-2870. 

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Weymuller_BCSMethow Grown: Farmer Podcasts
Some of you may already have already heard the Methow Grown farmer podcasts on KTRT in the past month.  Our rock-star volunteer (and retired radio anchor) Val Stouffer has compiled a dozen interviews of farmers and ranchers in the Methow Valley.  In her interviews, Val helps us get to know our local producers a little better, and explores all of the creative and diverse ways that our local farmers and ranchers are stewarding the land and raising wholesome food for the community.

You can listen to these podcasts anytime, at

Photo of Val Stouffer interviewing BCS Livestock by Rachelle Weymuller.

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Ski by JaosnCalling All GenNxt’ers
We hope you’ll join us upstairs at the Winthrop Ice Rink on Tuesday, January 8th at 6pm for a special Snowpack Outlook presentation and a Night Ski Social.  Local professional ski guide and avalanche forecaster Drew Lovell will share what he knows about the present snowpack and seasonal outlook while we eat pizza and then we will head outside to night ski on the Methow Community Trail! 

Methow GenNxt is a gathering of Methow Valley’s future leaders (ages approx. 21-45) where we come together, have fun, and make lasting connections.

Photo by Jason Paulsen

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Upcoming February Events for All
We’ve got a jam-packed calendar of interesting community educational events planned for everyone in February. 

Paul SoudersFirst Tuesday February Arctic Double Header:

February 7th - The Winthrop Ice Rink Meeting Room. Doors open at 6:30pm, presentation from 7-8pm. Mary Gallagher of the Alaska Wilderness League and Susan Ballinger Conservation Fellow at the Chelan Douglas Land Trust will share their photos and experiences traveling through the Alaska’s Arctic Coastal Plain and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Friday, February 8th - The Winthrop Barn. Doors open at 6:30pm, presentation from 7-8pm. Join Seattle based writer of “Arctic Solitaire” and award winning photographer Paul Souders as he showcases his amazing photos and tells his incredible tales from a three year quest to photograph polar bears in their Canadian arctic home. Photo by Paul Souders.

February 26th: Special Feature! Melissa Arnot the Athlete, Advocate, and Adventurer The Winthrop Barn. Doors open at 6:30pm, presentation from 7-8pm.
Winthrop-based professional mountaineer Melissa Arnot will share stories from her adventures and advocacy in Washington, Nepal, and beyond! This should be an amazing talk by a truly inspirational human being. You won’t want to miss it!

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auctionGet Ready to Bid!  The Methow Experience On-line Auction - Feb 21st – 28th  If you missed out on a great auction item last year or just love this Valley and want to support conservation, keep your eyes out for more information about our upcoming Methow Experience On-Line Auction.  We've asked Methow Conservancy Board Members, Staff, and others 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. 

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 Thursday, February 21st and will close on Thursday the 28th.  Remember, this is an online auction, so winning bids can come from anywhere! (And, if you have a supercool idea for a Methow experience, let Sarah know). 

Photo of some of last year's auction winners by Sarah Brooks.

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We Love our Volunteers!
Kiesau_volunteersWe have an awesome crew of volunteers.  From field work to citizen scientist, from office help to sharing their talents in photography and graphic design, volunteers make so much happen around here! 

We’re looking forward to celebrating a great year at our Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party (and spring preview of upcoming volunteer opportunities).  If you’ve volunteered with us in 2018, look for a special invite to join us at Six Knot Taphouse on Thursday, February 28th for dinner and drinks while we share tales from the volunteer field and get excited for the work yet to come!!

And, as always, keep your eyes of Volunteer Methow for all the latest volunteer opportunities with us and with so many great Methow Valley nonprofits!

Photo of volunteers collecting sedges by Mary Kiesau.

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A Word About Owls
Fidalgo Island resident Bob Jepperson visited the Methow Valley and was so excited about his experience that he shared this reflection with us: 

WLS coverWe camped at Pine Near RV Park in Winthrop last spring and at 5am in a nearby tree two Great Horned Owl babies were screeching. One thing I love about owls is that no matter where we go, owls are already there. 

Nearly every day for ten years, I have been following and recording the voices of owls and other wild residents in the forests of Fidalgo Island.  Beginning in late fall Great Horned Owls become very vocal, especially from dusk until dawn.  They advertise their territories and during the wintertime, the drama of courtship begins, and they make their most dramatic sounds of the year. When the hormones flow, they put on quite a show. 

Many Great Horns have unique voices and calls.  In the area I visit most often, I can recognize ten different Great Horns by their sounds. I’ve been keeping recordings of the owls and if you are interested you can visit: and listen to 33 recordings of Northwest species, with 33 paragraphs that give meaning to the sounds.  The recordings go with the stories in the book Wild Love Story, available at Trail’s End Bookstore in Winthrop.

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New Members  - Thank You!
We are always grateful when new people join our list of supporters each month. In the first half of December, we welcomed: Robert Alexander, Thomas Carter, and Greg Studen. Thank you for loving this Valley!

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Our January 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.

Mary MorganSeattle Times: Changes to dams on Columbia, Snake Rivers to benefit salmon, hydropower and orcas.
A monumental agreement has been reached between the States, tribes, and federal agencies that will change the way water is spilled over hydro-electric dams during spring salmon migration. The crux of the agreement is to increase spillage during lower electricity using times of the day (like mid-day and late at night). More water over the dams makes it easier for more fish to get downstream and thus increases their survival rate. In return for letting more water over, the dams will have more flexibility to sell power when the demand and price is higher.  The agreement is good from 2019 through 2021, during which there will be ongoing monitoring and research to understand the benefits of the increased flow.

Earth and Space Science News: Crowd Sourcing Snow Data with Citizen Scientists
Snowpack is a tricky thing to measure, it’s a constantly changing entity that is highly variable in space and time. For this reason, both scientists and winter recreationalists pay obsessive attention to any and every available piece of information they can find on snow conditions. Somewhere along this shared weather obsession these two groups realized they could scratch each other’s backs, and thus the NASA funded Community Snow Observation project was born. Read this article to find out how you can contribute to snowpack data collection or come listen to OSU professor David Hill come talk about it at our First Tuesday at the Merc on January 3rd at 7pm.

High Country News: What the 2018 farm bill means for the West
Not much gets through both the House and Senate these days. Thankfully, the 2018 farm bill is the exception to this rule and should be signed into law shortly. This year’s bill could be important for Okanogan County with legalization of industrial hemp and continued funding of conservation programs like CSP and EQIP through 2024.

Wenatchee Outdoors: Dream Homes for Outdoor Folks
There is a silent crisis sweeping across the Methow Valley:  families are being buried and inundated by all of their outdoor gear. Luckily, a cure has been discovered. Build your home around your outdoor gear. When you realize that every nook and cranny has purpose and could be the perfect place to store your skis or backpacking gear your life starts to make sense and you become liberated to do what you really want to do, go outside.

New York Times: To Teach Children to Give, Tell Them How Much Your Family Has Been Given.
The principles behind giving can often go over the heads of kids and are forgotten by adults. That’s why it’s important to tell your kids how their family has been directly helped by the generosity of others. Here in the Valley we should all remember that we benefit every day from the work of amazing non-profits and their amazing supporters!

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Methow Conservancy Events & Beyond
For a full listing of our upcoming events see our Events Calendar.

Check out a full calendar of Methow Valley community events here.

And, a quick note from our friends at Classroom in Bloom: Classroom-in-Bloom Hiring an Education Coordinator! Lead curriculum for K-12 students, inspiring connections to the land through farming, art, science, and outdoor education. Contact Kim at Classroom in Bloom or see their website for details. 30hrs/week. Applications due January 11th.

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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

*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