First Tuesday Program - “Understanding Human-Carnivore Interactions”
What fosters a rancher’s participation in mitigation to coexist with wolves? This is one of the questions Carol Bogezi, a Ugandan Ph.D. candidate in the Wildlife Science program at the University of Washington, is asking. Bogezi was recently awarded the Bullitt Foundation’s Environment Leadership Award for her research on human-carnivore interactions and coexistence strategies to reduce conflict between people and wildlife. Bogezi’s current research has been focused in the Puget Sound as well as the Methow Valley, and she hopes her work will further wildlife conservation not just in Washington but also in Uganda and throughout the world.
The Bullitt Environmental Prize is awarded to people who have overcome big obstacles and who bring new perspectives to environmental work. Raised on a farm, Bogezi is the oldest child in a large polygamous family, which required her to hone her diplomacy skills early in life. As a young woman in a patriarchal society, she had to overcome social pressures against women, both in her quest for education and again when she took control of her family’s farm after her parents passed away. Through these challenges, Bogezi never lost her passion for science and conservation and in 2012 she received the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Beinecke Africa Wildlife Conservation Scholarship, which allowed her to pursue a PhD in the USA.
The program is free and open to everyone. The doors open at 6:30pm with light refreshments available for purchase. For more information, contact 996-2870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Life & Times of Methow Mammals - the 13th Annual Conservation Course
This year’s “Methow Conservation Course” will provide an overview of every family of mammals found here and explore select groups and species of significant conservation or ecological interest in more detail, including current research on certain species, and how climate change and other local factors like wildfires are affecting animals and their habitats. Lectures and optional outdoor field sessions will also cover methods for studying mammals in the field including wildlife tracking, camera trapping, live capture and release, and direct observation. The course should provide participants with both broad and specific information about our local, wild, mammalian world, and encourage more observation of and connections with native mammals while engaging class members as advocates and partners in long-term conservation.
A stellar line-up of wildlife biologists and educators in the Methow and around the state are participating as speakers in this year’s course. The course is similar to a college-level seminar, with optional reading materials, extracurricular sessions, and a limited class size. For complete details about the course including a syllabus, click here.
If you can’t attend the course, don’t worry! You can follow along with weekly notes and a videoed class session on our blog. Stay tuned to the blog starting shortly after the first class.
The course runs for six weeks from February 6th to March 13th with one class per week on Mondays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Winthrop Barn. Tuition is $170*. Space in the course is limited to 50 people and is nearly full. Contact Mary at email@example.com or 509-996-2870 for questions about the course or to register.
Discovering the Story – Outdoor Adventures with 4th Grade “School Yard Science”
“Sloth, Sloth, come over here. I think I’ve figured out the story,” Mustang yelled excitedly. (Note: We use our “animal names” in our 4th Grade School Yard Science program and each of us have names that start with the first letter of our first name. Thus, I am Sarah the Sloth).
I raced over to the bitterbrush shrubs as fast as my snowshoes would carry me and found a group of 4th grade boys all staring intently, barely moving, but talking amongst (and sometimes over) each other excitedly. Each had their own story about what they think happened at the small conglomeration of tracks in the snow and who or what gnawed on the tips of the bitterbrush.
In January, Stewardship Director Heide Andersen and I took the two Methow Valley Elementary 4th grade classes out into the school yard on snowshoes for our monthly “school yard science” session. Yes, it was ambitious thinking we could get snowshoes on (and off) 22 4th graders twice in one day, but it was so worth it. The young scientists were literally overflowing with questions, wonder, and hypotheses – just like the world’s best scientists.
We did not set out to teach a tracking class – our adventure was focused more on observing closely and then wondering. Left to their own explorations, all of the students, including some of our usually quiet ones, came to life. They loved the freedom of moving atop of the snow on the snowshoes and they quickly found the joy in seeing something and then using their outdoor detective skills to try to hypothesize about what happened.
“There are stories everywhere out here,” we overheard. And there were. And how fortunate we are to live in a place where our young people can seek out those stories in their own school yard. Sort of ironic to think that our least complicated lesson plan resulted in the richest discoveries. We’ll definitely be spending more time just looking and wondering!
Special thanks to high school PE teacher Mike Putnam who let the 4th graders use the school’s set of snowshoes. For many students this was their first time on snowshoes and it was magical.
You Sure Love this Valley!
Local photographer Steve Mitchell took some amazing photos from the night and The Paperboys were so taken with their return to the Valley after a 13 year hiatus, that they made a short video. It’s a night we’ll always remember!
At the party, we unveiled our Methow Love Stories Project. As we reflect on 20 years of our conservation work, we realize that what you’ve help us do is so much more than protect acres of habitat or fertile soils and miles of riverfront. We preserve a Methow way of life. We empower people to see they can make a difference in a place they care about. We build community by getting people out on the land and by having people share what they value about this Valley.
We hope that at some point in 2017, you’ll think about your Methow Love Story. What it is you love about this place or that moment when you knew this place had your heart? We encourage you to audio record your Love Story and share it with us. We’ve created a website with easy instructions for you to share your Love Story with us. Imagine if we can collect hundreds of Methow Love Stories so future generations know WHY we do the conservation work we all believe in!
Wildlife Tracking Intensive
This series will be an excellent follow-up to our Conservation Course, “The Life and Times of Methow Mammals” (see above for details), and will also be designed to support the learning process for those who wish to participate in the Wildlife Tracking Certificate Courses we regularly offer (there’s one planned for Oct 7-8).
Both beginning trackers and seasoned veterans are welcome and encouraged to attend as there will be plenty of opportunity to learn from and with each other. The course will be structured to include plenty of field time for direct learning, but will also focus on the process of learning how to learn the various dimensions of wildlife tracking. Course content will provide not only lots of “dirt time,” but will also include explorations of the fundamentals of wildlife tracking skill and knowledge, including animal behavior, ecological tracking, gaits and locomotion, the aging of tracks, foot morphology, and trailing (actually following the tracks of animals). We will also give our attention to practices that support the development of these skills such as nature awareness and developing good study techniques to take advantage of the wealth of resources available to wildlife trackers today.
The series will take place at various field locations throughout the Methow and will be a great opportunity to explore the wonders of this valley including protected conservation easements. The course will meet from 8:30am to 4pm on April 15, May 13, June 10, July 8, August 19, and September 9. Tuition is $450*. Space in the course is limited to 12 people. Contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-996-2870 for questions or to register.
Please Help Advance the Methow Headwaters Campaign!
After you’ve commented, make plans to attend the Methow Headwaters Campaign community celebration and film release party! It’s Sunday February 19th at the Winthrop Barn featuring: local live music, catered appetizers and beverages, and a live Q&A with the filmmakers Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele, and local characters. Free and open to the public. Doors open at 5pm, Film Premiere at 6pm. The event is made possible by Patagonia and Mountaineers Foundation. For more information visit www.methowheadwaters.org or email email@example.com.
New Members - Thank You!
Methow Conservancy Events
February 4th Winter Wildlife Tracking, with David Moskowitz, 8:30am – 12:30pm, $45. Full.
February 5th Winter Wildlife Tracking, with David Moskowitz, 8:30am – 12:30pm, $45. Full.
February 6th – March 13th: The Life & Times of Methow Mammals - 13th Annual Conservation Course. The course will run for six weeks from February 6th to March 13th with one class per week on Mondays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Winthrop Barn. $170. See all the details here.
February 7th: First Tuesday Program "Understanding Human-Carnivore Interactions" with Bullitt Foundation Environmental Prize winner Carol Bogezi, 7:00-8:30pm, free, at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. See above for more details.
March 20th: Methow Conservancy Spring Equinox Walk. Join us for a free walk to see what’s sprouting on the first day of Spring! 3:00 – 5:00pm, free but space is limited. Contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-996-2870 to register. Stay tuned for more spring walk dates soon!
April 11th: “First Tuesday” Program (on the 2nd Tuesday!), “Alchemy of Herbs,” with local herbalist Rosalee de la Foret, 7:00-8:30pm, free, location TBA.
April 15th: Wildlife Tracking Intensive, first of six sessions with instructor Nate Bacon. See above for more details.
April 22nd: Earthday Spring Clean-up Event for Pearrygin Lake State Park. Volunteers Wanted! Please join us.
May 2nd: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” Program, “Tides” with Jonathan White, 7:00-8:30pm, free, location TBA
June 1st – 4th: Methow Conservancy Spring Naturalists’ Retreat. The Naturalists’ Retreat is an annual celebration of the Methow Valley in springtime! Come spend a long weekend with us where we’ll enjoy beautiful days in the field and engage in presentations and group dinners in the evenings. With guidance from naturalist instructors Libby Mills, Dana Visalli and Mary Kiesau you will be amazed by all that you learn and soak up in this fantastic nature and educational experience! Participants should be willing and able to take part in the entire retreat including two evenings and three days. Participants should be in good physical condition, able to complete moderate hikes and spend 6+ hours in the field. Free tent camping is available at Dana’s property along the Methow River near Twisp, or you can make your own lodging arrangements. The class is limited to 20 people and costs $200*/person, including one catered dinner. To register or for more information, contact Mary at 509-996-2870 or email@example.com.
News from Other Organizations
The National Park Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service recently released their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Grizzly Bear Restoration in the North Cascades Ecosystem. The draft EIS is available for public review and comment at this website through March 14, 2017. There are also several information “open-house” meetings planned on both sides of the Cascades, including one in Winthrop on Wednesday Feb 15 from 6-8pm at the Winthrop Barn. Read more about the whole plan in this Methow Valley News article.
The Okanogan Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society is hosting its annual meeting February 21st from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Education Station at TwispWorks. There will be a brief presentation on 'plant ID made easy,' followed by a short hike-planning session, the election of Chapter officers, and then a showing of members' favorite plant images from last year. All are welcome-- one need not be a Native Plant Society member to attend, nor to join the hikes. For more information, contact Chapter Chair Dana Visalli at 509-997-9011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Okanogan and Ferry USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently announced that the two counties are accepting applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP). This program may cost share are replanting of trees in areas burned in 2014 and 2015 fires. Cost share includes labor and cost of trees. The deadline to sign up is March 1. See this link for more info.
Methow Trails hosts “Nature of Winter Snowshoe” tours every Saturday from Dec 31 - Feb 25 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 Methow Valley Clean Air Project (MVCAP) recently develop an iPhone App to give people air quality and burn ban information during the winter months. The “Methow Air” app is available from the Apple App Store here, or on your iPhone or iPad, go to the App Store and search for “Methow Air” in the upper right corner.
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315 Riverside Avenue / PO Box 71 Winthrop, WA 98862 509.996.2870