First Tuesday Program - “Crown Jewel: Creating North Cascades National Park”Danner
Tuesday, June 5th, 7:00-8:30pm at the Winthrop Barn, free

North Cascades National Park is remote, rugged, spectacularly majestic, and 50 years old this year.  Writer and historian, Lauren Danner, chronicles how politics and the wilderness movement of the 1950s and 1960s resulted in the park's 1968 creation.  The story is a window into the modern environmental movement in the Pacific Northwest and a reminder that national parks are not only wild landscapes of national significance, but the result of political negotiation and compromise.

The doors open at 6:30pm.  The event is free and open to everyone.  For more information, contact 996-2870 or mary@methowconservancy.org.

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Conservation Success!
Heckendorn viewHave you heard our big news?  In May we became the proud new owners of a 146-acre hillside property just outside the town of Winthrop.  The stunning shrub-steppe land had been a part of the Heckendorn family homestead and serves as the back-drop to town.

We broke from our traditional mode of working with conservation easements to buy this property outright because it is well-suited to become an open space park, providing learning and trail opportunities close to town. 

It was a bold move, made possible by the generous support of Tina and Eliot Scull, who about a year ago established the Tina Scull Land and Stewardship Opportunity Fund for the Methow Valley.  That fund, combined with support from members like you, gave us the chance to open a conversation with the Heckendorn family about conserving this iconic property. 

Heckendorn view 2“The timing was just right,” notes Jeanne White, our Land Program Manager who negotiated the transaction.  “It really is a win-win-win:  the Heckendorn family preserved a legacy for a property they care deeply about, the wildlife who use the hillside will continue to benefit from the quality habitat, and residents and visitors to the town of Winthrop will enjoy the scenic vista and, ultimately, access to an educational walking trail close to town.”

We’ve been reaching out to our new neighbors adjacent to the property and we’ve been listening to the community’s desires for the property’s use.  So far the purchase has received rave reviews. We intend to spend the summer months getting to know the property and working on a management and trails plan.  We will look forward to sharing that with the community in early fall.   

If you’d like to learn more, you can read this recent Methow Valley News article.  If you’d like to share any thoughts or questions, email Jeanne White at Jeanne@methowconservancy.org.

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Summer Field Classes
Summer is coming and we are ready for mountain hikes, butterflies, and dragonflies!  Join us for two different programs on these fascinating insects, and more! 

Contact us at info@methowconservancy.org or 509-996-2870 for questions or to register for any of the following activities.  Space is limited and registration is required even for free events.

Butterflies and Moths of the Methow Valley and beyond
June 15, 6:00pm - 8:00pm, Indoor Presentation, $5
June 16, 9:00am – 4pm, Field Class, $25

Get ready for the butterflies of summer with an evening lecture and full-day field class learning about the world of the Lepidoptera – butterflies and moths!  With instructor and passionate “Lep” expert David Dropper, learn about the butterflies that you often see during your outdoor adventures, including how to tell different families of “flutterbys” apart.  Over both sessions, we’ll cover butterfly biology, anatomy, ecology, phenology, and species identification.  We’ll also spend some time getting acquainted with some of our local moths that fly under the cover of darkness. 

The Friday evening lecture is open to about two dozen people and costs just $5.  The Saturday field-class will have some additional volunteer assistants and can accommodate about 20 people and costs $25*.  Take one or both!  We highly recommend that Saturday participants come to the Friday evening session, but it is not required.  Read more details here. 


Alpine Wildflower Hike Silky Phacelia_Kiesau
Monday, July 23, 8:00am – 4:00pm, free -- this hike is currently full.

It’s time to head for the mountains!  Join naturalist and educator, Mary Kiesau, to view, identify and enjoy alpine wildflowers in their splendid summer glory.  Mary will choose the location based on conditions.  Good physical fitness is necessary, but this won’t be a death-march!  Bring your own lunch and plan to be out all day.  This field-trip is free and open to anyone but space is limited to 12 people.  Registration is required.

Dragonfly & Damselfly Field Class
Wednesday, August 8th, 11:00am – 2:00pm, $15
Jim Walker

Jim Walker, author of “Common Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Pacific Coast” and our August “First Tuesday” speaker is staying in the Valley an extra day to offer a field class.  August is prime-time for dragonflies and damselflies, and Jim and his wife will help us identify and observe species and behaviors of some of the 60 species that live in the Methow Valley.  Learn names like Meadowhawks, Darners and Skimmers, and be prepared to view their colorful bodies and unique behaviors via binoculars and spotting scopes – this field-class will not involve catching the insects with nets.  Check our Jim’s blog The Dragonfly Whisperer.

The class cost is $15 and can accommodate 15 people.

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A New Chapter - by Mary Kiesau
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” — Winnie The Pooh

I have struggled to put into words a thank you and goodbye after 13 years with the Methow Conservancy (over half of the Conservancy’s life and nearly a third of mine), and so I’ve turned to Pooh for guidance, as he often has the best advice and outlook on life.  

Mary KiesauIf you missed the May E-News or haven’t heard otherwise, I decided in March that it was time for me to let go of this chapter of my life.  My last day will be June 6.  The entire Methow Conservancy community — from fellow staff and Board members (current and former), to conservation easement landowners, to volunteers, to educational program participants, and of course supporters and members — has made me who I am today, and I am forever grateful.  All of you have taught me what community truly means, and I feel exceptionally fortunate to be able to live and work and play and learn with this particular community that we all love so much.  I have loved my work with the Methow Conservancy, and with all of you, and I am extremely proud to have been a part of this organization that does so much to take care of the Methow Valley and to inspire all of us to do our part.  Not only have you supported me and this organization and made my work so meaningful and enjoyable, but many of you have also become an important family of friends to me.  To people who embraced and mentored me from day one, to people I just met this spring, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Many of you have asked me what I’m going to do, and I’ve half joked that I’m going to clean out my t-shirt drawer and spend the summer on my paddleboard.  Here are some answers:  I am not leaving the Methow, and I’m sure I’ll remain an active member of the community and the Methow Conservancy.  I do not have a new job or any set ideas or plans for one; I am leaping into the great unknown.  (However, I will be in a Merc play, Bike America, opening July 13!)  With your help, I’ve learned over the years that I love being a naturalist, an educator, a communicator, and a facilitator and do-er.  I’ve given myself a short cushion of time to think and explore.  I want to see what percolates and bubbles up within me, and of course within the community too.  I’m open to ideas if any of you have some!  Embracing change is hard, as we all know, and I’ll be honest, a part of me is sad and scared, but I know this is a good thing for me to do, and I firmly believe it’s also good for the organization.  I’m excited to watch the organization grow and evolve, and I’m excited for my next chapter here in the Methow.  I hope and trust that we will continue to see each other in many capacities!     

If you want to contact me directly or just stay in touch, my personal email is kiesau@gmail.com.  If you have any questions for the Methow Conservancy, please email info@methowconservancy.org.  

Our Commitment Continues

We want to reassure the community that our commitment to connecting people to the land and each other remains strong.  Mary has grown a robust educational program for us and we have every intention of continuing to offer top-notch programs, workshops, and field trips to help all of us learn to appreciate the natural wonders of this Valley.

Mary has pre-organized a variety of terrific summer and early fall programs, and Daniel Senner will be helping us put them into action. 

We plan on hiring for an educational/outreach position sometime this fall.  

In the meantime, we’d like to hear from you about programs you hope we’ll add to our mix and favorites you hope always stay the same.  Share your thoughts with us at:info@methowconservancy.org.


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Thank You Ranger Liu!
Ranger LiuOn behalf of the Board and Staff of the Methow Conservancy, we would like to publicly thank Mike Liu, retiring District Ranger of the Methow Valley Ranger District for his leadership, wisdom, integrity, and community-mindedness.  Together, we have shared in exciting partnerships like the Methow Beaver Project, significant challenges in the form of major wildfires in 2014, 2105 and 2017, and issues as diverse as trail building, wildfire mitigation, grazing management, and the Methow Headwaters campaign.

In every interaction, Mike Liu has set the bar high, balancing diverse interests and always remembering that he was entrusted with the care of “our” lands, the largest block of land in the Methow Valley -- land that each of us owns as our public lands held in trust by the United States Forest Service.

Mike Liu will be missed, but the example he has set will live on.  We look forward to being a part of that future, and to ensuring that our next District Ranger Chris Furr has the same opportunity to be welcomed into our community and to work collaboratively in leading the stewardship of the USFS lands in our community.

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Apple Maggot Quarantine Proposed
It's extremely likely that the upper Methow Valley will soon be under an apple maggot quarantine.  For several years in a row, traps in the upper Methow Valley have caught multiple apple maggots, in multiple life stages -- indicating that the pest population is reproducing.  While the western half of the state has been under the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s quarantine since the early 1980s, the spread of the apple maggot over the Cascade range is new – and very bad news. 

For the handful of small commercial orchards in the upper Methow above the proposed demarcation line at Gold Creek, the quarantine will mean they cannot sell or move their fruit outside of the quarantine area without a certificate of inspection.  The quarantine may also mean that yard and household wastes cannot be transported outside of the quarantine area to the county landfill, without some kind of risk mitigation or treatment.
apple tree

While the apple maggot populations appear to be limited to the upper Methow at present, there is concern that populations will spread throughout the county, to the larger commercial orchards. 

The greatest threat, according to county pest control agent, Dan McCarthy, is backyard gardeners inadvertently transporting infested fruit outside of the quarantine.  Infested fruit can be extremely difficult to detect until the larvae develop – so it is absolutely critical that home-grown fruit not be transported outside the quarantine.  It’s also important to note that backyard and feral apples also serve as hosts --- not only for the apple maggot, but also for the coddling moth, which is a major pest and economic burden for orchardists in the Methow.  For more information about the apple maggot and quarantine protocol, visit the WSDA page.

Watch E-News and the Methow Valley News for a WSDA public comment period, likely to be opening up soon.

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weed_cardsNoxious Weeds and Backyard Restoration
Now is a great time to look around your property for non-native plants and get an early start on controlling weeds.  Our online "Invasive Weed Guide" can help you identify local weeds and learn what to do about them, including encouraging native plants to compete with them. Click on a weed "card" to get details, photos and videos.  Our Restoring Shrub-Steppe in the Methow Valley handbook is also a great resource. 

Our knowledgeable and friendly volunteers have been talking to people in person at our annual Weed & Native Plant Education Booth at the Methow Valley Farmers.  We’ll be there one more time on June 9!  Or, email, call us or stop by our office anytime with plant questions.

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From the Ag Desk
Rachelle WeymullerAs we approach the solstice, farmers are in the fields and working their longest days of the year.  Please don’t forget to support their hard work by searching out their delicious produce this summer!  In order to assist you in supporting and sourcing from our local farms and ranches, we are putting together a Methow Grown Pocket Guide that is headed to the printer’s later this month!  Stay tuned, and in the meantime check out our Methow Grown website!

Plus, ranchers in the Methow Valley are always looking for good opportunities to graze new pastures!  If you have irrigated pastures that you would consider making available to one of our local agriculturalists, please contact Alyssa at alyssa@methowconservancy.org, or complete a short form here.

Photo by Rachelle Weymuller

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Discover Passes Help 4th Graders Keep Exploring
School Yard Science 2018Two weeks ago we hosted our last session of School Yard Science for the 2018-19 school year.  As part of the student’s International Baccalaureate unit on “where we are in place and time,” we delved deep into the world of maps. From aerial mapping to topographical maps, we wondered why we use different maps at different times.  We put our map reading skills to the test on a special treasure hunt in the school yard and even learned how to use a compass. 

“The end of the School Yard Science year is always a bit bittersweet,” notes Associate Director Sarah Brooks who works with 4th grade teachers Mr. Haley and Ms. Surface to coordinate the program. “By the end of the year, the students are really engaged in integrating their school yard time with what they are learning in the classroom and we are having so much fun.  We’re going to miss our time with them, but we know they are ready to ‘graduate’ as School Yard Scientists.”

As a year-end thank you, we sent home our Methow Valley Field Guide and a free Discover Pass to each of the 4th grade families. 
“We realized that these students have become great observers and inquirers about nature and the outdoors and we want to encourage them to continue their adventuring after School Yard Science ends,” says Sarah.  “It’s a small way for us to say thank you for spending the school year with us.”

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BIG Thanks!

Thanks to all of you who participated in the Seattle Foundation’s GiveBig 2018 day on May 9th. We greatly appreciate the 63 donors who contributed almost $11K for conservation in the Methow Valley!  And, all told, the Seattle Foundation reports that the Northwest raised more than $16 million for causes throughout the state. So cool! Thank you!


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New Members  - Thank You!
In May, we welcomed new members:  Joanna Barnebey, Elizabeth Beuthel, Bill Calderhead, Jr., Denise DeRocher, Jessica Rongitsch.  Thank you for inspiring people to care for the land of the Methow Valley!

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Methow Conservancy Events
June 5: “First Tuesday” Program, “Crown Jewel: Creating North Cascades National Park” with speaker Lauren Danner, 7:00pm, at the Winthrop Barn, free.  See above for more details. 

farmers marketJune 9: Weed & Native Plant Education Booth at the Methow Valley Farmers Market, 9-Noon. 

June 15:  “Butterflies and Moths of the Methow Valley and beyond” indoor presentation, 6:00pm - 8:00pm, $5.  Click here for more details.

June 16:  “Butterflies and Moths of the Methow Valley and beyond” field class,9:00am – 4pm, $25.  Click here for more details.

July 3: “First Tuesday” Program, “The Ecology and Conservation of the Cascade Red Fox” with Jocelyn Akins of the Cascades Carnivore Project, 7:00pm, at the Winthrop Barn, free.

July 14-15:  Wildlife Track & Sign Certification Class, $200*.  Spend two full days in the field with professional wildlife tracker, naturalist and educator, David Moskowitz.  This class is full but we encourage people to get on the waitlist, or see the same class below on Oct 6-7.
Shooting Stars_Kiesau

July 23:  Annual Alpine Wildflower Hike, 8:00am – 4:00pm, free.  Join naturalist Mary Kiesau, to view, identify and enjoy alpine wildflowers in their splendid summer glory.  The location will be based on conditions.  Good physical fitness is necessary.  Space is limited to 12 people and registration is required.   This hike is currently full. 

August 7:  “First Tuesday” Program, “Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Pacific Coast” with speaker Jim Walker 7:00pm, at the Merc Playhouse, free.

August 8: Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Pacific Coast” field class with Jim Walker 11:00am-2:00pm, $15*, limited to 15 people.  See more details here.

September 30:  Annual Cider Squeeze,  2 - 4pm, free.  Save the Date!  It’s a sweet celebration of conservation.  We’ll use an historic press to make fresh apple cider juice and enjoy a classic Methow fall afternoon at the Sabold’s house in Winthrop. Free.

Tracking_KiesauOct 6-7: 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, and you might even achieve 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 us for more details or to register at 509-996-2870 or info@methowconservancy.org.  

Nov 11: The Wide World of Animal Skulls & Bones, indoor class with Marcus Reynerson,9:00am-4:30pm, $65*, limited to 20 people.  All animals engage with the world through their sensory perception via the skull. Through studying the evolutionary history that is evident in the structures of skulls, we can get a rich glimpse into the lives of animals. What are its dominant senses? What is its primary diet? How is this animal adapted to live in particular environments? How do you identify an animal based on its skull? These are some of the questions we will work through with wildlife and skull expert Marcus Reynerson of the Wilderness Awareness School during this in-depth daylong workshop exploring the fascinating world of the skulls and bones of some of our local species.  The class is $65.  Space is limited and registration is required. Contact us at 996-2870 or info@methowconservancy.org to reserve your spot.

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News from Other Organizations
Kids’ Fishing Day, Saturday June 9, 10am - 2pm, Winthrop National Fish Hatchery.  After having a passport stamped by various learning activities, kids up to 13 years of age may head to the pond with a fishing pole to try their luck at catching a rainbow trout!  Loads of other activities await kids and parents alike, from art to cooking to fly-tying and much more.  

The Okanogan Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society offers flower and other naturalist hikes through the spring and summer.  See their offerings here.

Looking for a job with a Washington Land Trust? There are several great job postings from organizations in WA (and OR too) at the Washington Association of Land Trusts jobs page.

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