Jason Paulsen \

March 2019 ENews

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

Ryan BellFirst Tuesday: March 5th
Comrade Cowboys with Ryan T. Bell
The Winthrop Barn.
Doors Open at 6:30pm, Presentation is from 7-8pm.  Free.

Methow Valley resident Ryan T. Bell is a National Geographic Explorer who has ridden with many of the world's great cowboy cultures—from Argentina, to Russia, Mexico to Montana. Join him for an evening of documentary photography and stories from his 20 years in the saddle as a "cowboy journalist." He will share his experiences and his process of working in these remote landscapes, uncovering the common culture that connects all people who are defined by the place they call home!

Photo at right by Ryan T. Bell in Kazakhstan.

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Make a Match:  Donate in March and Every Dollar Doubles!

JP Basketball Hoop SnowMarch is the final month of our fiscal year.  While many of you will be eagerly awaiting basketball's March Madness, we also 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 $30,000 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.

If you haven’t yet supported our conservation efforts this fiscal year (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019) and you can help with a few “hoops,” simply click here and put your gift in our basket today!  We’d love to count you on team Methow Conservancy.  Thank you!

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Methow Headwaters Campaign Nears Finish Line!

Barn Celebrating_daniel senner
It just so happened that we hosted an inspiring talk by Winthrop-resident and high mountain climber Melissa Arnot on the night the House passed the Public Lands package that includes protection of the Methow Headwaters. Jason filmed the packed Winthrop Barn saying thank you to our local and state officials who led the way on this important legislation.

With leadership from Representative Dan Newhouse and overwhelming bi-partisan support, the Methow Headwaters Protection Act introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon (February 26th) as part of S. 47 The Natural Resources Management Act.

As we await the President’s signature on the Bill over the next 10 days, we encourage all who are celebrating this historic milestone to join us in thanking our federal elected officials and their dedicated staff teams who have made this possible.

Here’s how you can reach them:

We also thank the Valley’s small business community, our 12th District elected officials, the Okanogan County Commissioners, and our local Mayors and Town Councils for their support along the way!

Please watch the Methow Headwaters home page for updates as this Bill becomes law and we all begin to plan for what promises to be a community celebration you won’t want to miss!

Last but not least, thank YOU for your support of the Methow Conservancy, and for the capacity it provides for our organization to play a role in multi-year efforts such as the Methow Headwaters Campaign!

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Experience the Methow Extravaganza Closes 8pm Feb. 28th

Ollie Flor  FlyrodWe’ve been having so much fun with our Experience the Methow On-line Auction and the real fun is only just beginning.  As we go to press with this edition of E-news there are just a few hours left in the bidding frenzy.  Methow Conservancy Board and Staff Members and a few supporters have put together 28 very unique and interesting ways to deepen your love for this Valley.  From a farm to table dinner to a custom painting of your favorite Methow Valley view, the offerings are truly as special as this place.

Once the auction closes, the “winning” bidders will then get to enjoy their adventures, often in the company of Methow Conservancy Staff or Board members.  “That’s one of the things we love about this auction,” notes Associate Director Sarah Brooks.  “It is not only a powerful fundraiser, but the experiences provide terrific opportunities for our Board and Staff Members to get to know our supporters by enjoying the adventures together.  It’s a great way for us to share what we love about this Valley.” 

If you’d like to view the auction offerings (and maybe even get in a last minute bid if it’s before 8pm on February 28th when you read this), you can check it all out here. A big shout out of thanks to all of our item donors and winning bidders!

Photo on left: What fisherman (woman) wouldn't have great Methow adventures with a hand-crafted-by-local-Ollie Flor bamboo fly-rod. Just one of the amazing and unique items in our Experience the Methow extravaganza.

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Come Learn with Us!
We’ll keep you busy in March and April with a full calendar of ways to get out and explore the Methow Valley. 

March 13th: Big Valley Owling Adventure Round 3, 8 - 9:30pm, Free. In our final installment of owling in 2019 we will be back at the Big Valley loop looking and listening for owls! To sign up, email us or call (509) 996–2870.  Moon by JP

March 20th:
 Evening Equinox Adventure 7:30-9 pm, Free. Location: TBA. Join us for a snowshoe or walk under the bright full moon to welcome the formal first day of spring and enjoy the wonders of our natural world at night. The March full moon is considered to be a Super Moon because the Moon is near its closest distance to the Earth along its elliptical orbit--in other words, extra bright for nighttime nature walks! For more information on this astronomical phenomenon visit this link. Registration for the Equinox Adventure is necessary and space is limited to 20. Contact us at 996-2870 or email us  to reserve your spot.

April 2nd: First Tuesday with Don McIvor - Doors open at 6:30pm, presentation from 7-8pm. Location TBD. Join local ornithologist Don McIvor as he talks about Migratory birds as international citizens who know no borders. In the Methow, our avian migrants knit us together with landscapes as distant and exotic as the high arctic tundra and the pampas of South America. So come explore the fascinating natural phenomena of bird migration, tying in what we know—or can guess—about the seasonal movements of “our” migrating feathered friends.

April 18th: Molly’s Soap Tour 4:30-5:30 pm, Free. Location: 211 Twin Lakes Rd, Winthrop (Molly’s Soap shares a headquarters with Wild Plum Farm). Introducing our new Methow Share Your Knowledge series! This tour will be an incredible opportunity to experience an inside look at a local craft. Soap maker and small business owner Gabby Beaudin will share her talents for hand-crafting natural, small batch soap made with essential oils and botanical ingredients. For more information about Gabby’s product, visit www.mollyssoap.com. Registration is necessary and space is limited to 12. Contact us at 996-2870 or email us  to reserve your spot.

For all upcoming events, see our Events Calendar.

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Digging In: 2019 Conservation Course Begins!

Soils ClassThis past week we launched the first in our four-part series on dirt. Our class is full and we're already learning a lot.

Agricultural Coordinator and this year's Conservation Course Coordinator Alyssa Jumars shared 3 Things Students Learned from Class #1, The Basics of Soil Science with Dr. Jeff Bullock, Ph.D of Agricultural Sciences, Wenatchee Valley College:

1) Soil is composed of minerals, organic matter, water and air.  Soil "texture" is determined by the relative composition of three types of mineral particles: clay, silt, and sand. 

2. The texture of soil (the proportion of clay, silt, and sand particles) affects both the water-holding capacity of a soil, as well as the "cation-exchange-capacity."

3. Many plant nutrients come in the form of cations (positively-charged ions).  Clay particles and organic matter carry a negative charge, which allows them to retain nutrients -- such as positively-charged calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  The more clay or organic matter in a soil, the greater the cation-exchange capacity, or ability of the soil to hold nutrients.

In March we'll explore the Basics of Soil Biology, Carbon Cycling, and Applied Practices for Improving Soil Health. We'll share what we've learned in next month's E-news!

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Methow GrownPodcasts and Farm Opps

Our Methow Grown webpage has some exciting additions this month.  Thanks to our rock-star volunteer, Val Stouffer, we have three new farmer-podcasts episodes to share: https://www.methowgrown.org/farmer-podcasts.

We’ve also added a new page to the site, featuring exciting opportunities to work on our local farms in the 2019 season!  Want to get your hands dirty this summer and learn from the very best?  Visit: https://www.methowgrown.org/farmworkopportunities

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Expressing Ourselves:  4th Grade School Yard Science Update 
by Sarah Brooks, Associate Director

4th gradeOur 4th grade school yard scientists just started their International Baccalaureate unit on “how we express ourselves.” Before Johnnie and I arrived, they had already been considering all the different ways there are to share emotions or information from facial expressions to your flair on the basketball court to writing poetry or creating art.  We considered what scientists might need to do to effectively express themselves and we realized quickly that finding ways to capture keen observations is key. 

Several different exercises helped us test our observation skills – from using all of our senses to tricks that help you “remember” better (e.g., notes and sketches!). Using beautiful local bird photography and Methow Valley landscapes, we also practiced noticing big and little details, asking questions about what the images make us wonder, and doing some quick sketches.  The students were very keen observers – and quickly realized that doing the swift sketches helped them see deeper than just looking. 

Then, we went outside….brrrr….It was pretty cold.  Pretending to be visitors from a planet far far away, we carefully inspected a new-to-us species (a tree!).  We noticed things, we recorded what it reminded us of, and what questions or wonderings it left us with.  We sketched it…and then our hands got cold!  Arctic conditions aside, it was a great reminder that sometimes we look at something every day but we still don’t really see it until we stop and pause.

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Did You Know:  Red Crossbills – The Birds with the Criss-Cross Bill
By Julie Grialou, Conservation Biologist

BPHave you observed groups of birds chirping and fluttering around high in the pines recently?  If so, you were probably observing red crossbills. To me, these birds are iconic of late winter, as they are the noisiest birds I hear during this time.

Red crossbills travel in small flocks, and their occurrence is closely-related to the presence of mature, seed-bearing conifers, especially large pine trees in our area.   Crossbills feed almost exclusively on the seeds found inside the cones of these trees. 

These birds’ crossed bills are used to push up the cone scales and access the seeds inside.  Unlike most other birds, crossbills breeding time is dependent almost solely on the presence of an adequate cone crop, since even the baby birds rely on seeds for food. Consequently, these birds can breed at almost any time of year.

To learn more about these fascinating Methow neighbors, check out more facts, beautiful photos, and a recording of their call here.

Photo at right: One of our conservation easements that would be a great place to be a red crossbill.

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VolunteersWe Have Amazing Volunteers!

We know we are so lucky to have so many people who choose to share their time and talents with us. From office work to field work, from event help to scientific expertise, we gain so much from our volunteers.

So, we're throwing a Volunteer Party to say thank you! If you've volunteered with us in the past year, we hope you'll join us on March 14th from 4:30 – 6pm at the Six Knot Taphouse for appetizers and drinks while we share tales from the volunteer field and get excited for the work yet to come!!

And, if you are inspired to volunteer with us (or any other great local nonprofit) keep your eyes on Volunteer Methow for all the latest volunteer opportunities.

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New Members  - Thank You!

We are always grateful when new people join our list of supporters each month. This month we welcome and thank: Zak Nelson, Laura and Richard Smith, and Alison Willis.

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Our March  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.  

JPEditor’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. 

Outside Magazine: Alpinist Melissa Arnot-Reid
If you missed the incredible February 26th Special Feature with Melissa Arnot-Reid, here is a piece that gets into what Arnot-Reid has overcome to become one of the top alpinists in the world. You should also check out the Juniper Fund, a non-profit Melissa cofounded that uses microloans to help the families of Nepalese mountain workers who have lost their primary breadwinner. The Methow Valley is incredibly lucky that Melissa and her husband Tyler have chosen this place as their home! As MC Jason Paulsen said at the Barn, “Once you’ve been to the top of Everest six times, you can see where the best place on earth is to live.”

The Economist: How to Preserve Nature on a Tight Budget
This is a sobering but thought-provoking article about a growing realization among conservation organizations that financial resources for conservation are limited and we need to use a blend of economics and science to prioritize conservation projects that will maximize biodiversity benefits. One of the most cost effective conservation strategies is turning out to be working with local agriculturalists on their property.

The Crosscut: A bold plan to curb wildfires, create jobs, and build affordable housing
DNR, headed by Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary Franz, has come out with a new 20-year forest health plan that calls for increasing thinning on DNR lands to reduce fuel for wildfire and working with lumber yards to produce cross-laminated timber, which can be made out of the byproduct of thinning. It’s a bold plan that will have a big impact on eastside forests and economies.

New York Times: Tom Cade, a Savior of the Peregrine Falcon, Dies at 91
World renowned researcher and conservationist Tom Cade was Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the 1960’s when wide-spread DDT use was ravaging species like bald eagles and peregrine falcons. He was able to work with a diverse coalition of partners to reintroduce peregrine falcons in the Eastern United States, culminating with their removal from the endangered species list in 1999.

National Geographic: Kazakhstan, Where Horses are Revered and Eaten
Next Tuesday, March 5th, at 7pm in the Winthrop Barn, local photographer and writer Ryan T. Bell will be giving a presentation on his work covering the cowboy cultures of the world. Here is a piece he wrote for National Geographic in 2015 that juxtaposes the horse cultures of Kazakhstan and the United States. Be prepared to get sucked in and we’ll see you on Tuesday night! To see more of Ryan’s work checkout his website.

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News from the Community

Methow Master Naturalist Program:  Dana Visalli and the writers for The Methow Naturalist journal are offering a natural history intensive program this spring called the Methow Master Naturalist program. It will consist of 5 classroom sessions and 5 weekend field trips, most taking place in May. Participants will become familiar with the dominant flora and fauna of the Methow watershed, and with the ecosystems and ecological relationships of life in the valley.  Cost is on a sliding scale, $0-$200, children interested in nature are welcome; clock-hours for teachers are available. Contact Dana for more information: 509-997-9011. 

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

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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 info@methowconservancy.org

*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