First Tuesday Program - “The Era of Megafires”
Tuesday, February 28th (yes, a week early!), 7:00-8:30pm at the Methow Valley Community Center, Twisp.
2014 Carlton Complex. Photo by Jason Paulsen.The Era of Mega Fires is a multi-media, traveling presentation hosted by Dr. Paul Hessburg.  Hessburg is with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, in Wenatchee, WA, and the University of Washington, Seattle, where he has researched wildfire and landscape ecology for more than 27 years. The presented material comes in the form of fast-moving, short, topic-based talks interspersed with compelling video vignettes. Think Ted-X mixed with snappy documentary shorts.

“Megafires, wildfires over 100,000 acres, and the destruction caused by them to communities, wildlife and our natural spaces are a serious and growing issue to our region,” said Jeff Ostenson, Director of the project.  “Our communities, homes, businesses and our very way of life are threatened. If we are going to make effective progress towards increasing fire resiliency, we must increase awareness and stimulate conversation about this important issue across all levels of society. Through education, we firmly believe we can change the way we receive fire and smoke.”

The presentation debuted last summer in Wenatchee WA.  A Northwest tour of the presentation has been making stops since then in nearly 50 communities across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia, including numerous North Central Washington towns.  The Twisp program, hosted by the Methow Conservancy and the Okanogan Conservation District, is the only one planned for the Methow Valley.

For more information on The Wildfire Project and The Era of Mega Fires, including upcoming presentations in Washington, visit:

The program is free and open to everyone.  The doors open at 6:30pm.  For more information, contact 996-2870 or

Community Engagement Fair
March 27th, 5:00-7:00pm at the Methow Valley Community Center, Twisp.

Come learn about the Methow Valley’s nonprofit organizations and opportunities to volunteer!  Sponsored by the Methow Conservancy’s GenNxt Project, this community Fair is the first time all the diverse organizations active in the Methow Valley have been asked to come together in one place to share who they are, what they do, and what volunteer opportunities they have.  It’s an opportunity for everyone in our community (not just the 40 and under GenNxt folks) to learn more about issue-specific work happening here and ways to get involved as a volunteer. 

The fair will feature dozens of organizations at individual tables (if you are one and haven't RSVPed, contact us for more information!), a“60-second “speed-round” to introduce them, a few mini-presentations attendees can choose to attend, and snacks and drinks.  It will be a fun and engaging way for community members to meet new people, chat with old friends, and learn about all the amazing work organizations are doing in the Methow.  We hope you’ll attend this Community Engagement Fair! 

For more information, feel free to contact Jason Paulsen at 509-996-2870 or

Methow GenNxt is a project of the Methow Conservancy to engage, learn from and support the next generation of leaders in our community.  These energized young adults love the Methow Valley community and are interested in learning more about how organizations are working to address issues they care about, and how they can get involved!

Make a Match:  Donate in March and Every Dollar Doubles!
March is the final month of our fiscal year.  While many of you will be eaRuby crowned kinglet. Photo by Mary Kiesau.gerly awaiting March Madness, we prefer to celebrate March “Matchness,” our super-exciting, drive-to-the-hoop bonus time when every dollar donated to our Annual Operating Fund is matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000 total until March 31st. It's always thrilling! 

We’re focused specifically on encouraging new members and those who haven’t yet renewed their membership in the last 12 months.  So, if you have already supported our conservation efforts in the past 12 months, thank you!  You can still help us play great offense by sharing this message with others you know who love the Methow Valley.  We’ve even got a handy PDF “flyer” you can email to friends on our special March Matchness webpage.

If you haven’t yet supported our conservation efforts this fiscal year (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 1017) and you can help with a few “hoops,” simply click here and put your gift in our basket today!  Conservation is definitely a team sport and we want you on the court with us.  Thanks you!

Follow Along with “The Life & Times of Methow Mammals” 
Our annual 6-session weekly “conservation course” is on the mammals of the Methow this year, and it started in early February.  We have a stellar line-up of wildlife biologists and educators participating as speakers in this year’s course.  Click here for complete details about the course including the syllabus and reading materials.  Even if you aren’t in the class you can follow along and take the class “virtually” by reading the class materials at the link above, and reviewing post-class notes and watching a video recording of each class on our blog.  Stay tuned to the blog through March for weekly updates.

School Yard Science:  One Great Balancing Act
Students in Mr. Haley’s and Mrs. Surface’s 4th grade classes were just finishing up their International Baccalaureate unit on “How We Organize Ourselves” when we visited for February’s School Yard Science day.  Each class showed us the community they had designed (an awesome display of construction paper and a whole lot of thought) and they eagerly shared the intense discussions they had been having in their fictional debate about whether or not to allow a McDonald’s in their community. 

It was the perfect segue to our session focused on natural resources and the balancing act that all communities must work through as they consider human needs and the environment.  We started with a dramatic and interactive reading of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (and it was quite a reminder that most students were familiar with the story – but from the movie, not the book).  As always, Dr. Seuss led to smiles, and laughter, and some deep questions.

We had a great conversation about how communities might need “Thneeds” from the “Truffula” trees, but you have to be careful about not over-using resources. We talked about how they would manage the Truffula forest.  We then pretended to each be wildlife managers of a deer herd.  Using our math skills and some basic probability, we imagined what might happen to our deer herd if we took certain actions – allowed hunting, planted new shrubs, etc.  Two students debated whether or not adding a trail might hurt the herd (disturbing the deer, stressing them out) or help (creating public awareness and maybe even raising trail fees to help pay for more plantings). They seemed to get the idea of the complex balancing act.

We concluded the session with a physical representation of nature’s efforts to keep animal populations in balance, with a ruckus game of Oh Deer – where some students are deer and others are either food, water, or shelter.  The deer populations naturally fluctuate as resources are or are not available for them.  We saw that, for sure, but really, it was also fun to just run and play the game! 

Next month, the students will move on to studying “How We Express Ourselves” and we’re hoping enough snow will melt to get us out in the schoolyard again to do some nature journaling.  If you are interested in coming along to help, just let us know (

Spring & Summer Field Classes
Even though the skiing is still great and the piles of snow have a ways to go, the days are getting longer, buds are forming on trees, and we are starting to think about spring!  Cougar Track, photo  by Scott Fitkin

Mud Season Wildlife Tracking
March is that funny time of year where you can ski on snow and hike on dirt in the same day.  We call it mud season because of the melting snow and it’s actually a *great* time for wildlife tracking because of the variety of substrates you can find on a single day.  We have a special instructor, Marcus Reynerson, joining us for 2 days.  You can attend an indoor class exploring the fundamentals of mammal foot morphology and track identification, or an outdoor wildlife tracking excursion, or both!

      Saturday, March 11th from 3:00-5:30pm is the indoor lecture on mammal tracking, foot morphology, locomotion/gait and more.  The cost is $35.
      Sunday March 12th from 8:30am – 12:30pm is the outdoor wildlife tracking excursion where we’ll look for tracks in snow, mud and dirt, and learn how to identify and interpret them.  The cost is $45 and this class is limited to 12 people.
Take both classes for $70 and save $10!

Marcus Reynerson is the Lead Instructor and Coordinator for the Anake Program, a yearlong intensive naturalist training program for adults, at the Wilderness Awareness School. He is a Track and Sign Specialist as certified by CyberTracker International, and has been teaching wildlife Tracking and ecology for over 10 years.

Naturalist Walk & Talks
Starting in just a few weeks and then running throughout the spring and early summer, Mary Kiesau will once again lead free, casual naturalist “walk and talks” at a wide variety of places around the Photographer Mary KiesauMethow for all ages.  The first one is scheduled on the first day of Spring, March 20th from 3-5pm.  Space is limited so sign up if you want to join us! 

Wildlife Tracking Intensive Series
Join local wildlife tracker and educator Nate Bacon for a six-month wildlife tracking series to explore the lives, behavior, and ecology of local wildlife through the art of track and sign identification and interpretation. The course will meet all day 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 and there are just 2 spots left!

Spring Naturalists’ Retreat
Our annual Naturalists’ Retreat is June 1st – 4th. With guidance from naturalist instructors Libby Mills, Dana Visalli and Mary Kiesau spend a long weekend learning and exploring Methow birds, flowers and plants, and whatever else we find (butterflies and other insects, geology, frogs, lizards and snakes, scat and tracks and much more!) With glorious days in the field and engaging presentations and group dinners on two evenings you will be amazed by all that you learn and soak up in this fantastic nature and educational experience!  The class is limited to 20 people and costs $200*/person, including one catered dinner.

Learn more about each of these at our Events Page, and or simply contact Mary at 509-996-2870 or to register or get more information.

Farmland Match-Making
Access to affordable farmland in the Methow Valley is a struggle for our local farmers.  And like most challenges, our producers tackle this one creatively.  Many of our Methow farmers and ranchers don’t aspire to own all of the land they work.  Instead, they often own a core farmstead, and then reach out from there to create a patchwork of formal or informal lease arrangements on lands nearby.

Since creating the Agricultural desk here at the Methow Conservancy, we’ve received many calls from farmers, asking if we can put our ear to the ground and help them suss out opportunities to lease new pastures or other well-suited farming ground. Oddly enough, we’ve also received a similar number of inquiries from local landowners with irrigated acreage they’re not using, and they’d like help finding someone interested in farming their land.  

We’ve concluded that we have a match-making role to play here.  We see the real and tangible opportunity to help our local farmers expand and strengthen their patchworks of working land. Beginning now, we are creating a database of willing local landowners with irrigated, farm-able land who would like to explore the possibility of actively supporting a local farmer and strengthening our valley’s foodshed.  If you are such a landowner, we encourage you to follow this link or to contact our Agricultural Coordinator Alyssa Jumars at  

New Members  - Thank You!
In February, we welcomed new members Christine Clausen, Dana Milani, and Sara Slater & Martin McDonald.  Thank you for inspiring people to care for the land of the Methow Valley!

Methow Conservancy Events
February 28th: Program, “Living in the Era of Megafires,” a multi-media presentation lead by Dr. Paul Hessburg, 7:00-8:30pm, free, at the Methow Valley Community Center, Twisp.  (This was our March “First Tuesday” program and it had to be rescheduled to Feb Photo by Mary Kiesau28.) See above for more details.

March 11th: Wildlife Tracking class, indoors with Marcus Reynerson, 3:00-5:30pm, $35*. See above for more details.

March 12th: Wildlife Tracking outdoor excursion with Marcus Reynerson, 8:30am – 12:30pm, $45*.  Combine this class with the March 11th class and save $10.  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 or 509-996-2870 to register.  Stay tuned for more spring walk dates soon!

April 11th (note: 2nd Tuesday!): “Can You Eat That?" with local herbalist and author, Rosalee de la Forêt, 7:00-8:30pm, free, at the Methow Valley Community Center, Twisp. From deliciously edible to potently poisonous, join local herbalist and author, Rosalee de la Forêt, on a photo tour of the Methow and discover the edible, medicinal and poisonous plants of this beautiful valley. She’ll be covering many plants found in her brand new book, Alchemy of Herbs: Transforming Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies that Heal, which will be available at the program from the Trails End bookstore. The program is free and open to everyone. The doors open at 6:30pm.  For more information, contact 996-2870 or

April 15th: Wildlife Tracking Intensive, first of six sessions with instructor Nate Bacon.   Click here for more information.


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.   TheNaturalists’ Retreat is an annual celebration of the Methow Valley in springtime! 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 mary@methowconservancy.orgClick here for more information

October 7-8th:  Wildlife Track & Sign Certification Class, $200*.  Spend two full days in the field with professional wildlife tracker, naturalist and educator, David Moskowitz.  David's approach is highly interactive, with "test" questions starting the moment we meet-up. David actively engages participants in identification and interpretation of tracks and signs, and builds in lots of time for questions and discussion too.  This style is an excellent way to learn and investigate, with the goal being to attain a wildlife tracking certificate through Cybertracker Conservation.  Certificates are awarded on three levels. The whole experience is a lot of fun to boot!  The class is limited to 11 people, and costs $200* per person. Lodging and food are on you own. Contact Mary to register at 509-996-2870 or

News from Other Organizations
The Okanogan Conservation District in collaboration with TwispWorks present Fire Resistant Construction: A Methow Skills for Small Business Workshop for Builders, Designers and Architects.  March 1, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Free.  Get details on the latest research into how homes ignite in wildfire events from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety and the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service. Review Firewise best practices for home siting, excavation, and construction, and Representatives from manufacturers of products specifically designed to reduce home ignitions will be available to answer questions.  This workshop is presented free of charge but registration is required and seating is limited to 20 participants.  Learn more and sign up here.

The Methow Watershed Council is seeking to fill an open spot “at-large” position to work cooperatively on local water use and management issues.  Individuals wishing to volunteer for this position must live within the boundaries of the Methow Watershed and be willing to attend monthly meetings the 3rd Thursday of each month.  Learn more about the Methow Watershed Council here.  Please submit a simple Letter of Interest containing a brief description of your background related to water and why you are interested by: Friday, March 10, 2017 to Greg Knott, P.O. Box 154, Winthrop, WA  98856, or email    

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 1See this link for more info.
The Community Foundation of North Central Washington Scholarship Program (CFNCW) is now accepting applications. The deadline for most scholarships is March 1st.  CFNCW manages over 90 scholarship funds with varying criteria established by generous donors who want to help students achieve their dreams. Many of the scholarships seek to support students with the greatest financial need.  Students can review scholarships through the online Scholarship Guide, which allows students to sort and filter scholarships by geographic area, GPA, award amounts, study area, and other specific criteria.  See all the details here.

Life on the Pacific Crest Trail. March 30th the Twisp Library hosts sociology professor, and PCT thru-hiker Richard Brinkman as he presents "Life on the Pacific Crest Trail". 6pm. FREE.

Earthday Spring Clean-up Event for Pearrygin Lake State Park.  April 23rd 8:30am - noon. Volunteers needed to pile debris and spruce up the trails and park.  We’ll BBQ afterwards and you can take a short spring hike on the trails afterwards.  Please join us – we’ll need lots of helpers!

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 April 28th.

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*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