The Methow Conservancy, in Washington State's Methow Valley
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February 2009 ENews

1st Tuesday Program :  “Ecology and History ~ Why Societies Really Easter IslandSucceed and Fail,” Tuesday, February 3rd, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub
History is often told as a chronicle of advancing and retreating armies.  Another way to view history is through the lens of ecology: how have different societies related to air, soil, water and wildlife?  Join us as local biologist and naturalist Dana Visalli shares a lively account of how people have succeeded or failed to understand the natural world through the ages. 

The pub will open at 6:00 p.m. for attendees who would like to purchase drinks or something from the light menu.  The event is free and open to everyone.  Questions?  Contact Mary at 996-2870 or info@methowconservancy.org.

2009 Conservation Course Starts February 9th – only a few spots left!
“A Bird’s-Eye View of the Methow: the Ecology and Conservation of Birds” will be held Mondays, February 9th – March 16th (except Feb 17th) from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  There will be a special introductory gathering for the course on Monday, February 2nd from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  This is a brief, informal get-together for registered participants or for those still deciding and interested in getting more information.  We’ll chat briefly about class goals and topics; hand out the course binder of reading material; meet each other and go over course logistics.  Click here for more detailed information on the Conservation Course including the full syllabus and registration form.

More information
Using the perspective of the Methow’s birds, we will explore connections to this place we have chosen to call home.  Townsend's WarblerBirds are an excellent indicator of the health of our ecosystems, and can teach us a great deal about how well we manage our environment.  Students will learn about the conservation of birds, and what we can do to make our surroundings (including our backyards) healthier for birds, and ultimately ourselves.  And because many species of birds are migratory international citizens, the course will explore migration and our connections to the Western and Southern Hemisphere, as well as some of the challenges birds face when they are not in Washington.

The course will ground participants in key topics in ornithology (the study of birds), and use the perspective of the Methow’s birds to help participants explore and learn more about the Methow Valley. Participants will learn about the evolution and adaptations of birds, and how they have carved a unique niche in the animal kingdom.  This information will provide the basis for understanding conservation challenges facing birds, as well as opportunities to affect bird conservation.  Instructors will use the Methow’s three key habitats—riparian, shrub-steppe, and conifer forests—as the basis for their classes and bird conservation. Varied Thrush The course is offered with the goal of inspiring more observation and knowledge of, interest in and connections with the natural world.

This year’s course instructors are a great group of local and northwest bird and natural history experts, including: Don McIvor, Dr. Dan Stephens, Libby Mills, Dale Swedberg, Ken Bevis, Kent Woodruff, and Dr. Mike Schroeder.  The full syllabus and registration form are available here.

The course runs for six weeks from February 9th to March 16th with one class per week on Mondays from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  The week of the President’s Day holiday, class will meet on Tuesday Feb. 17th instead of Monday the 16th.  There is also be an optional introductory class and informal get-together Monday, February 2nd for all class participants. 

Tuition is $125 for Methow Conservancy members. The tuition for non-members is $150 and includes a discounted membership.  Dinner will be available at the Pub for an additional $10/person.  Scholarships are available to those who need financial assistance.  Registration is limited. 

The course is filling quickly so register soon! Contact Mary at info@methowconservancy.org or 509-996-2870 if you have questions.

Special Presentation: “The Owl and the Woodpecker: Encounters with North America's Most Iconic Birds,” Sunday, February 15th, 7:00 p.m. at the Merc Playhouse in Twisp.
Join us at the Merc Playhouse on February 15th at 7:00 p.m. for an evening of stunning bird images with Seattle-based photographer and naturalist Paul Bannick as we celebrate the release of his new book The Owl And the Woodpecker: Encounters with North America's Most Iconic Birds.  Paul will treat us to a slideshow featuring amazing photographs from the book, which profiles all 41 of North America's owl and woodpecker species across 11 key habitats, from familiar birds like the northern flicker and great-horned owl as well as rare ones such as the ferruginous pygmy-owl, red-cockaded woodpecker and northern hawk owl.  His presentation will provide an inside look at the way owls and woodpeckers define and enrich their habitat and how the life-histories of these cavity-dwellers are intertwined.  The images will be accompanied by natural history information and Paul's fascinating stories distilled from thousands of hours in the field observing owl and woodpecker behaviors.  Paul will sell and sign books after the presentation.Yellow-shafted flicker, photo by Paul Bannick

The event is free and open to everyone but space will be limited and donations will be accepted.  The Merc will open at 6:30 p.m. for attendees who would like to purchase drinks and get seats.  For more information contact Mary at 996-2870 or info@methowconservancy.org.
Paul Bannick, a family member of the Methow Valley Bannicks, is an award-winning photographer, specializing in natural history imagery.  An experienced naturalist and outdoor educator, Paul creates many of his images while kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been featured in numerous books and magazines, including The Seattle Times' Pacific Northwest Magazine, Sunset and PhotoMedia, and he is the official photographer for "Birdnote," a popular radio show found on several National Public Radio stations.  "The Owl And the Woodpecker: Encounters with North America's Most Iconic Birds," is Paul's first book.  The book reached #5 on the Pacific Northwest Independent Booksellers Bestseller List in December 2008.  For samples from the book go to www.paulbannick.com 

Conservation and Methow Ski Trails
With the incredible help of a crew of volunteers, the Methow Conservancy hit the ski trails on a busy Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend to spread the word about the conservation efforts along the groomed ski trails.  In collaboration with the Cross-Country Skiing in the Methow Valley, photo by Mary Kiesau.Methow Valley Sport Trails Association (MVSTA), we had free hot cider and hot chocolate at five of the busiest trailheads on Saturday, January 17th.  MVSTA volunteers were on hand to answer questions about the 200km ski trail system—which uniquely includes trails through the private property of more than 160 volunteer families.  Methow Conservancy board members and volunteers also greeted skiers and reminded people that the surrounding scenery hasn’t remained beautiful by accident.  Did you know that 19 families directly along the ski trail system have voluntarily placed conservation easements on their land - permanently protecting more than 1,443 acres?

We made some new friends, surprised some long-time supporters with the amount of conservation along the ski trail, and even managed to stay warm on a cold, winter morning.  The information cards we distributed will be available throughout the valley during the month of February.  Pick one up or click here to register to win a framed Sean McCabe painting.  And, the next time you hit the tracks or corduroy, pause for a moment and thank the families who have left a lasting legacy of wide open spaces for us all to enjoy. 

Special thanks go to Dave Sabold, Ann Henry, Gordy Reynaud, Wendy Waichler, Roxie Miller, Carl Miller, Suzi Jennings, Scott Jennings, Sue Roberts, Dick Roberts, Midge Cross, Nancy Gode, Char Alkire, Ed Alkire, Lisa Peters, Kristin Devin, Jane Gilbertsen, Connie Mehmel, and Marie Tracy for bundling up and helping spread the word about conservation in the Methow Valley.

Winter Fieldtrips
Bundle up and come outside with wildlife and botanical experts!  Winter is a great time to examine and learn about the natural world!

Saturday January 31st and Saturday February 28th
“Art of Wildlife Tracking” Field Workshops
These classes are both full but if you are interested inattending we encourage you to get on the waitlist for the February class as spaces might open.  Read more on our Events Page.

Saturday, February 21stfrozen grass, photo by Mary Kiesau
“Botany in Winter” Field Class, 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Plants are surprisingly beautiful in winter when we stop to look at them, and they can actually be identified, even without leaves and flowers!  Join this fun mid-winter botanical excursion with local botanist Dana Visalli, and enjoy both the beauty and the taxonomic challenge of our native flora in the snowy season.  This fieldtrip will be conducted on skis or snowshoes along the Big Valley Trail, and is limited to 15 people.  Cost is $10/person and registration is required.  Contact Mary at 996-2870 to sign up or for more info.

Protected property in the Rendezvous, photo by Susan Crampton.Saturday, March 14th
Land Conservation in the Rendezvous Field Tour, 9:00 am - Noon.  Join our always knowledgeable and interesting Stewardship Staff, Steve Bondi and Eric Bard, for an excursion on protected land in and around the Gunn Ranch area.  This tour is free and open to the public – no registration is necessary.  Depending on the amount of snow, and your personal preference, bring boots, snowshoes or skis.  Meet at the Okanogan Country Electric Co-Op on the West Chewuch Road at 8:45 for carpooling.

3rd Annual On-line Board of Directors Auction Coming in March!
How can you enjoy a Flyfishing with board member Kevin van Buerenday of guided fly-fishing, get local honey for a year, or go birding in Arizona all while helping us protect the rural beauty of the Methow Valley?  Participate in our unique online auction of course!  We are once again holding our Board of Directors Auction where our Board Members offer interesting, fun and helpful skills to you, and 100% of the winning bids go toward our conservation efforts.  Stay tuned to our website and March e-news for more details.  The auction will be run online from March 16-20th.  The auction is the perfect chance to enjoy some great Methow activities and help preserve our rural Methow landscapes!

Welcome New Members!
We are constantly amazed and humbled by the support of all our members!  Your donations and assistance provide the backbone to our efforts to protect the special places of the Methow and inspire people to care for the land.  We’d like to begin highlighting and thanking new members in each month’s E-News.  Below are the people and businesses that have provided new membership support from December 1st, 2008 to the present.  Join us in thanking them!Winter Scene, photo by Mary Kiesau

Susan and Eric Adamson; Kathleen and Jon Blake; Joan Hsiao and James Bromley; Susan Burgdorff-Beery; Kathy Busse; Carol and Jim Carlson; Shirley and David Clawson; Computer Wise; Christopher Cripps; Renee Duprel; Gayle and Bill Erxleben; Shannon Skibeness and Peter Fitzmaurice; Elizabeth Flagg; Jo Flannery; Deb and Tim Flynn; Thurid Clark and Robert Fodor; Trudi and Dick Garing; Karen and Alan Gillespie; Gregg Services; Jo Ellen Kuwamoto and Tony Halstead; Karen and Cooper Hart; Linda Hart; Lara and James Henricksen; Robert Jorgensen; Rebecca and Jim Kahl; Annie Kennedy; Mary Lee Moseley and Tom Kennedy; Glen Kenney; Leigh and Brad Kilcline; Denise and Mike Kittleson; Doreen and Jason Ladum; Kim and Richard Manderbach; Karen Boxx and Todd Maybrown; Carmi Weingrod and Ed McCarthy; Gina and Tom McCoy; Michael Militescu; Meghan and Dale Navish; Deborah and John Olson; Teri Pieper and Ken Bevis; Victoria Rader; Carol Ranck; Rover's Ranch; Mark Ruebel; Charles Ryan; Carolyn and Glenn Schmekel; The Clement- Schneider Family; John Schoettler; Jennifer Elden and Mike Schuh; Christel and Klaus Schulz; Jeremy  Steward; Mary Thompson; Connie and Andrew Toth; Becky VanSteenkiste; Philip Welch; Julie and Mark Wenzel; Randall Wingett; Diane and Jack Zebley

The Eternal Frontier is our book club choice for February.Natural History Book of the Month
This month’s book follows a similar-ish theme to our February 1st Tuesday program.  The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples by Tim Flannery is an interesting and detailed narrative of North America's complex ecological history.  In this book which evolved out of one of Flannery’s Harvard classes, Flannery is both scientist and storyteller, weaving a vivid account of how, why, and when North America's ecology has evolved.

Events
Below, you'll find announcements about events or publications (ours and those of other organizations) that we think you might find interesting.

January 31st:  "The Art of Wildlife Tracking" Field Workshop, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife tracker, Gabe Spence. See our events page for more details.

February 2nd:  Free, introductory gathering for the upcoming 2009 Conservation Course “A Bird’s-Eye View of the Methow: the Ecology and Conservation of Birds,”6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  This is a brief, informal get-together for people who are attending the course, which starts Feb. 9th, or for those still deciding and interested in getting more information.  We’ll chat briefly about class goals and topics; hand out the course binder of reading material; meet each other and go over course logistics.  Find more details about the course here. 

February 3rd:  Methow Conservancy 1st Tuesday “Ecology and History: Why Societies Really Succeed and Fail,” 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  See above for more info.

February 9th – March 16th:  2009 Conservation Course “A Bird’s-Eye View of the Methow: the Ecology and Conservation of Birds,” Mondays, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  More details here.

Northern Pygmy Owl, photo by Paul Bannick.February 15th: The Owl and The Woodpecker: Encounters with North America's Most Iconic Birds, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Merc Playhouse in Twisp.  See above for more info.  

February 21st:  Botany in Winter Field Class, 9:00 a.m. - Noon
Plants are surprisingly beautiful in winter when we stop to look at them, and they can actually be identified, even without leaves and flowers!  Join this fun mid-winter botanical excursion with local botanist Dana Visalli, and enjoy both the beauty and the taxonomic challenge of our native flora in the snowy season.  This fieldtrip will be conducted on skis along the Big Valley Trail, and is limited to 15 people.  Cost is $10/person.  Contact Mary at 996-2870 for more info.

February 28th:  "The Art of Wildlife Tracking" Field Workshop, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife tracker, Gabe Spence. See our events page for more details.

March 3rd:  Methow Conservancy 1st Tuesday, “Tracking Fish and Connecting Streams in the Methow,” 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  Free and open to the public.

March 14th: Land Conservation in the Rendezvous Field Tour, 9:00 am - Noon. Join our always knowledgeable and interesting Stewardship staff, Steve Bondi and Eric Bard, for an excursion on protected land in and around the Gunn Ranch area. This tour is free and open to the public – no registration is necessary. Depending on the snow (or lack thereof), and your preference, bring boots, snowshoes or skis. Meet at the Okanogan Country Electric Co-Op on the West Chewuch Road at 8:45 for carpooling.

2008 Susie Bike Ride Crew
March 21st: 7th Annual Susie Stephens Memorial Bike Ride, 11:00 a.m. Join us for a fun bike ride to celebrate the inspiring life of our friend Susie Stephens. We'll meet at the Winthrop Barn at 11:00 a.m., break up into a couple different groups depending on ability and time, and head out for a ride. Join us for lunch afterwards whether you ride or not. Bring your own bike and helmet. RSVPs are not necessary but feel free to call us at 996-2870 if you’d like.

April 7th: Methow Conservancy 1st Tuesday, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.


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