September 2017 ENews

Photo by Gregg Thompson
Photo by Gregg Thompson

First Tuesday Program - “Bluebird Man: One Man's Remarkable Role in the Successful Recovery of Bluebirds”
Tuesday, September 5, 7:00-8:30pm at the Merc Playhouse

“Bluebird Man” is a 30 minute film about bluebird conservation and citizen science, focusing on the efforts of one man who has been monitoring and maintaining over 300 nest-boxes for bluebirds in Idaho for 35 years.  Following the film, local biologist Ken Bevis, and bird-box maker Patrick Hannigan, will speak about cavity-nesting birds and the role that nest boxes can play here in the Methow. 
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

Be a Methow Conservancy Volunteer!
Our volunteer projects are updated regularly on our page on Volunteer Methow.  Browse tasks and register there, or contact us anytime.  Thank you! 

Cottonwood TrailThe Featured Activity this month is:
Completing the Walking Path at the new Cottonwood Trail
Thursday Sept 14.

Come help us and Methow Natives finish buffing out a new walking path called the Cottonwood Trail on Thursday, September 14th from 4:00-6:00pm.

The Cottonwood Trail is a new community walking path at the public Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife land on the Old Twisp Hwy between Winthrop and Twisp. This 38 acre side-channel and floodplain is being restored for fish habitat, plus be made accessible to people.  Spearheaded by Rob Crandall of Methow Natives, previous work-parties this year have planted and caged native trees and shrubs and begun to create the public trail system.  The Methow Conservancy is helping create educational signs along the trail, but first the trail must be completed!  Join us to rake, brush, route and overall buff out the trail.  It is physical work but not really all that strenuous.  We need 6-8 people! 

No experience necessary. We'll bring all the tools but you might want some work gloves.

Sept 18-22:  We’re looking for a handy crew of folders, stuffers, sealers, and stampers to help us prepare our annual appeal mailing.  Choose a morning or afternoon shift any day that week: 9 to 11am or 1 to 3pm – and join a crew of others at our office for some fun socializing, just a little bit of alphabetizing, and lots of difference-making on this big project!  Even if you can only give an hour, you’ll help a ton!

Sept 26-28:  We need a hearty crew of tree-shakers and apple-pickers to help us collect the truck-load of apples we’ll need for our annual Cider Squeeze.  Pick, snack and chat with others during this fun and super helpful task.  Join us 2-4pm on one or more days.   

A tomato rainbow at Willowbrook Farm,
photo by Sasha Swerdloff.

More Virtual Farm Tours

Join us for a second series of "virtual" farm tours!  Visit
to meet the dedicated growers and to learn the finer points of raising wholesome food and stewarding the land at:  Twisp River Seed, Sunny Pine Farm, Ruby Slippers Farm, The King's Garden, and Willowbrook Farm.

We give special thanks to Val Stouffer, Rachelle Weymuller, and Sasha Swerdloff for their invaluable contributions to this project!


Fall is Cider Squeeze Time
Sunday, October 1st from 2:00 – 4:00pm
The Sabold Residence, 17 Bean Rd (1 mile south of Winthrop on the East County Rd)

Mark your calendars and clean-up a couple of jugs for our annual Cider Squeeze & Social at Dave and Marilyn Sabold’s house just south of Winthrop. This sweet event is always a laid-back, family-friendly time to celebrate community, conservation and the harvest season! There’s fun for all ages. We hope you’ll join us!

Meet new and old friends plus Methow Conservancy staff and board members. Enjoy great music from the Rivertown Ramblers, tasty treats, and fresh pressed apple juice.
Everyone can take a turn working the unique and historic apple press, and take home some tasty juice. Bring your own jug or take a plastic jug from us.

This unique celebration is free and everyone is welcome!  Contact us at 996-2870 or if you have questions or need directions. Here’s a map noting the north and south driveway entrances and the Sabold’s house.


Partnering for the Wild
Artwork by Evie Hirschberger.
Artwork by Evie Hirschberger.
So much of what happens in the Methow is a community effort, and we are thrilled to be able to work with many great organizations on some diverse projects, including these two special artistic events.  Please join us at the Confluence Gallery & the Merc Playhouse!  

Walking the Wild Edge
The Methow Conservancy is excited to partner with the Confluence Gallery on their “Walking the Wild Edge” art exhibit, which runs through September 23rd.  Join us for a special celebration of the wild and natural wonders of the Methow with a wide range of art from local and regional artists.  Everyone who shares a love for the wild side of the Methow, and the edges where wilderness, wildlife and people mix, should make a plan to stop in at the Confluence Gallery for this show! All the art is for sale, and a portionof profits from the show will benefit the work of the Methow Conservancy.

The Last Salmon
By popular demand,”The Last Salmon” will return to The Merc Playhouse for another Methow run October 6th through 8th!  Mark your calendar now for this incredibly fun show! And, if you remember it from itswinter 2016 run, you’ll get your chance to sing along again to those completely catchy tunes!

Based on the book by Phil Davis, The Last Salmon, is a contemporary musical for both kids and adults with live music styles such as hip-hop and indie-pop telling a story that begins with the Native American First Salmon ceremony. You’ll learn about the life cycle of wild salmon by following ‘Buck,” “Spring,” and the rest of their fishy crew from their first explorations of their river home, out into the wide ocean, and then back home again.  Told in a creative and fun-filled manner, this made-in-the-Methow show is directed by Ki Gottberg with music composed by Casey James, and an excellent cast of local performers.

We will be facilitating post-performance community discussions on the topics the show raises for people immediately following the shows on October 6th and 7th.  Come join the fun!

A Change in Perspective by Nick Fitzmaurice
Liberty Bell High School student Nick Fitzmaurice completed a volunteer internship with us throughout the summer.  He worked with Mary Kiesau and several other staff members, monitoring easements all over the Valley, visiting farms, talking with landowners, and even doing some math.  He also got to spend a day with the Methow Beaver Project.  We had a great time learning and sharing with him, too!  He wrote this reflection about his experience.

The Methow Valley has been my home for the past 11 years. It has molded me into the person that I am today, and I am grateful to be a part of its special community. From skiing the Cascades to rafting the Methow, I have seen the valley from many different angles. However, despite the adventurous childhood that I still enjoy to this day, I had never quite seen the whole picture until my time interning at the Methow Conservancy. Through my internship, I have learned to see my home from a new and unique perspective. I will never again look at the Methow in the same way.

Until recently, I had never given much thought to agriculture. It was just something that happened, and that’s all I ever cared to find out. Seeing farmland throughout the valley, and meeting farmers, I developed an understanding of the effort and pride that go into farming. Depending on the day, one might spend sunrise to sundown tending livestock or plowing fields. These farmers are passionate about what they do, and they are an important part of our community. The Conservancy helps to ensure that Methow Valley agriculture will endure for years to come, allowing these farmers to continue enriching our culture and strengthening our economy.

My internship at the Methow Conservancy also opened my eyes to the many plants and animals that I previously would have passed by without a glance. When I was younger I spent plenty of time outdoors, but I never paid close attention to the life that surrounded me. Never did I listen to the Lazuli Bunting singing in the trees, or stop to appreciate the confusing number of buckwheat species. Before this summer, I didn’t even realize that there was a difference between a sagebrush and a bitterbrush. While monitoring conservation easements with the Conservancy, I had the chance to see more of the valley and to learn about the many plants and animals that coexist here. I can now step outside and at least recognize a plant or two. I hope to continue learning about our ecosystem even after the conclusion of this experience.

In recent years I have begun to worry that the valley I know today will be unrecognizable in the near future. New houses are always being built, and class sizes seem to be in a constant state of inflation. Nature has always been the dominant presence of my childhood, and future development could threaten that. Community programs such as the Methow Conservancy help to limit and guide development to preserve the unique human-nature coexistence that is found here in the valley. I have learned that through land trust tools like conservation easements, future development can be regulated and restricted indefinitely in critical wildlife and agricultural areas. The Methow is lucky to house a community that is so steadfast in its commitment to preserving natural resources.
Though my time with the Methow Conservancy has been short, it has not been insignificant. This experience has shown me the bigger picture of our valley, teaching me about agriculture, nature, and development. I am still quite unsure of what I will do with my life, but I have no doubt that these newfound perspectives will help me down the road. No matter where I end up, I am sure that I will always remember this magical place hidden in the shadow of the North Cascades. The Methow Valley is a remarkable place, and that is something we should all appreciate.

Fall Field Classes
Fall is such a great time to enjoy the nature world of the Methow.  Check out these unique upcoming classes.

Photo by Pat Leigh

“True Nature” - The Art and Craft of Field Journaling
Saturday & Sunday, September 23-24, 10am-4pm both days, $150* plus materials.

Do you get inspired by the natural world?  Are you interested in learning how to draw what you see?  In this hands-on class, taught by Perri Howard, artist and educator, and assisted by Mary Kiesau, naturalist and educator at the Methow Conservancy, you will learn the fundamentals of field sketching, note-taking, and journaling to creatively engage your surroundings. 

During the first half of each day, develop drawing and writing techniques in Perri’s studio at TwispWorks.  Then apply your new skills in the field, working at a beautiful location in the Methow Valley.  This class is designed to grow your thoughts, feelings, and observations of the natural world, while providing easy-to-learn techniques for drawing, journaling, and composition.  No experience is necessary.  Optional materials cost $30 and include a sketchbook, colored pencils, pens, erasers, sharpener and a carrying case for you to keep. Space is limited to 8 people. Contact Mary at 996-2870 or to register.  

Wildlife Track & Sign Certification Class
Monday & Tuesday October 9-10th, 8am-5pm both days, $200*.  

We've added a new class! 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 Mary to register at 509-996-2870 or

Give Methow!  October 1st - 31st
Once again, the Community Foundation of North Central Washington will host the Give Methow crowdfunding campaign during the month of October.  Many of the Methow Valley’s nonprofit organizations (including the Methow Conservancy) will participate.  Starting October 1st, visit to view the list of organizations and click the Donate button next to any you want to support.  You can donate to one or several nonprofits in one, easy transaction and 100% of your donation goes to the nonprofits you support.  It’s a great way to learn more about all the organizations that help make the Methow Valley so vibrant, healthy, and resilient.

And -- Rally for the Valley -- October 1 through December 31
And, since “giving” doesn’t mean only financial donations, October will also mark the launch of the Rally for the Valley – a 3-month campaign to inspire the community to volunteer a total of 1,000 hours of service to local nonprofit organizations before the end of the year. 

You’ll have a chance to add your volunteer hours to the total by using the Volunteer Methow website – the new one-stop-shop for connecting people to community organizations via volunteer opportunities.  Every minute helps!

If you haven’t yet taken a look at the website, you’ll be amazed at the array of ways there are to get involved.  You can view volunteer opportunities by calendar date, by task type, or by organization/cause.  There are currently 31 Methow Valley organizations on the site, and more joining every month. 

Thanks go to local residents and programming wizards Neil and Kelli Rotstan who volunteered to make the site, and to the Methow Valley Fund for helping cover the costs of the Rally for the Valley campaign.

Go ahead and register yourself with Volunteer Methow now so you’ll be ready in October to help us reach the goal of 1,000 hours of volunteer service for nonprofit organizations in the Valley.  Whether you live here full-time, part-time or are just planning to visit, you can give back in many, many ways to the Methow Valley!

Methow Conservancy Events

September 5th: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” Program, “The Bluebird Man,” Help us collect apples September 26-28!film followed by a talk with Ken Bevis, 7:00-8:30pm, free, at the Merc Playhouse. See above for more details.

September 14th: Volunteer Activity: help finish the creation of a simple walking path at the new “Cottonwood” floodplain on public WDFW land between Winthrop and Twisp.  Details here.

September 18-22: Volunteer Activity: help us with our Annual Appeal preparation.  Details here.

September 26-28: Volunteer Activity: help us collect apples for the Cider Squeeze.  Details here.

September 23rd - 24th: True Nature: The Art and Craft of Field Journaling, 10am-4pm both days, $150* plus materials. Join professional artist and teacher Perri Howard along with Mary Kiesau, naturalist and educator at the Methow Conservancy, in this hands-on class to explore the natural world of the Methow and learn the fundamental aspects of field sketching, note-taking, and journaling to creatively engage your surroundings.  See above for more details.

Cider Squeeze October 1st! Photo by Mary Kiesau.October 1st: Annual Cider Squeeze, 2-4pm, free.  Save the Date!  It’s a sweetcelebration of conservation.  We’ll use an historic press to make fresh apple cider juice and enjoy a classic Methow fall afternoon.  Free and fun for all ages.

October 3rd: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” Program, “Smoke in the Air: A Community Conversation about Air Quality and Health” with the Methow Valley Clean Air Project, 7:00-8:30pm at the Methow Valley Community Center. Free.  

October 6th - 8th: The Last Salmon By popular demand,”The Last Salmon” will return to The Merc Playhouse for another Methow run! See above for details.
October 7-8th:  Wildlife Track & Sign Certification Class, $200. This class is full but a waitlist is available. Spend two full days in the field with professional wildlife tracker and educator, David Moskowitz.  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

October 9-10th:  Wildlife Track & Sign Certification Class, $200. We've added a new class! 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 Mary to register at 509-996-2870 or

November 7th:  Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” Program, “Lost Homeland,” with local author and historian Richard Hart (and singer/songwriter Ken Bevis), 7:00-8:30pm, free, location TBA.  This unique program is on the history of the Methow tribe, the Columbia Reservation and the beautiful valley and river system that sustained indigenous hunter/gatherer populations for centuries.  Richard will use slides of newly discovered images featured in his new book “Lost Homeland,” Photo by David Moskowitz.while Bevis will perform original songs inspired by the beauty of the Methow Valley.  

December 5th: Methow Conservancy Holiday Social & “First Tuesday” program " Last Stand: The Vanishing Caribou Rainforest " with author and photographer David Moskowitz, 6:00-8:30pm at the Winthrop Barn, FREE.  The holiday party starts at 6pm with drinks, appetizers and awards. The program runs from 7pm–8:30pm.  Last Stand: The Vanishing Caribou Rainforest is a cinematic journey into the tragically threatened world of endangered mountain caribou, their home in the world's largest remaining inland temperate rainforest, and the critical human choices that will ultimately decide the fate of this stunning ecosystem. With the failure of agencies in the U.S. and Canada to regulate industrial resource extraction effectively, honor the treaty rights of indigenous peoples, and protect the integrity of the natural systems of this region, this film gives voice to First Nations, scientists, foresters, conservationists, and recreationists attempting to chart a new path forward before it is too late. 

News from Other Organizations

The town of Winthrop is in the process of updating the town Parks and Recreation Plan. The first step is to survey the community. Please click here and fill in the survey before September 7th!  Your input guides efforts to provide recreation facilities that reflect community preferences, and it is a big plus for grants through the WA Recreation and Conservation Office, which funded both phases of ice rink construction, both phases of the Susie Stephens Trail, the tennis courts and other improvements to Mack Lloyd Park. The survey has been developed by Madeline Hart, who is doing a summer internship with Winthrop.  If you have any questions about it, you may contact her at Northern Harrier

The Shafer Historical Museum is helping release “Lost Homeland,” a new book by local historian Richard Hart on the Methow Tribe and the Columbia Reservation.  A book signing release party will be held Sunday Sept. 10th at 1pm at the museum grounds at 285 Castle Ave in Winthrop. (Our November “First Tuesday” program is on this new book!)

The Ninth Annual Chelan Ridge Hawk Migration Festival is September 15th -16th.  Join the Methow Valley Ranger District, HawkWatch International, and North Central Washington Audubon Society for this free family event which combines activities in Pateros, WA and shuttle trips to the Chelan Ridge migration site to learn about and celebrate raptors as they journey to winter territories.  See more details here.

Classroom in Bloom’s Fall Garden Party is September 16, 5-8pm. There will be cocktails, sweet and savory snacks, live music, raffle tickets for garden prizes, and friends, $25.  Details here.

The Methow Valley Interpretive Center has a couple more “Last Sunday” presentations coming up, including “Landscaping with Fire” on Sept. 24 and “Cultural Plants” on Oct 29.  See their calendar here.

The Tilth Alliance is doing a “Tree to Tap” hard cider tour at Sinclair Orchards in Carlton, Sept. 25th.  See more details and register here.

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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 Mary.

Republishing of any part of Methow Conservancy E-News is by permission only. 
Contact us at 509-996-2870 or

*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