The Methow Conservancy, in Washington State's Methow Valley
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December 2008 ENews

Curious Beaver1st Tuesday Program:  Beavers ~ Nature’s water engineers Tuesday, December 2nd, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub

Beavers are the most successful engineers in the world.  Local ecologists Steve Bondi and Kent Woodruff will talk about the historic activities, current effects, and future possibilities of Methow Valley beavers.  Learn about the fascinating life of beavers in our streams and the Conservancy's project to restore wetlands using beaver relocation.

The pub will open at 6:00 p.m. for attendees who would like to purchase drinks or something from the light menu.  The event is free and open to everyone.  Questions?  Contact Mary at 996-2870 or

Our staff, November 2008Annual Open House and Holiday Party - December 16th
Help us celebrate another great year of conservation with a festive holiday party on Tuesday, December 16th from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at our annual open house. Come check out our office at 315 Riverside in downtown Winthrop and partake in refreshments and conversation with staff: Jason, Sarah, Julie, John, Mary, Steve, Dawn, Emily, Eric and Joy, as well as Board members, volunteers and other supporters. We welcome the chance to thank you for your support this past year and to hear your thoughts about what you hope we'll accomplish in the next year.  Food and drinks will be available.  We hope to see you on the 16th!

Conservation Easement Protects Western Gateway to Valley at Mazama Junction
As we recently outlined in an article entitled Creative Conservation in Mazama in our Fall / Winter 2008 newsletter, an amazing collaborative effort to conserve the scenic beauty of the Mazama Goetter-Hinch Conservation Easement, photo by Mary KiesauJunction has resulted in our 68th conservation easement, permanently protecting 33 acres.  This project adjoins an existing 33 acre Methow Conservancy conservation easement to create a 66 acre scenic and farmable corridor at the west entrance to the Methow Valley. 

The Mazama Junction refers to the large open fields at the turn into Mazama from Highway 20.  The western-most field was protected with a conservation easement in 2000 by Ben Goetter and Kathryn Hinsch.  The field to the east was set to be fully developed with residential and commercial structures until multiple private landowners joined with the Methow Conservancy in a creative and collaborative process to reduce and reconfigure the development so that the scenic highway corridor and large, open views were preserved.  Mazama Junction Easement, photo by Mary Kiesau

This scenic and farmable conservation easement brings the amount of private land protected by the Methow Conservancy to 5729 acres and 18.64 miles of shoreline.

This new 33 acre conservation easement was protected in part by a $250,000 grant from the Federal Scenic Byways Program – the first such grant ever sought and awarded in the state.  The success of the project would not have been possible without the cooperation and goodwill of numerous community members and businesses, including the existing commercial landowners, and a small group of local residents who invested funds for a shared conservation outcome.

We thank everyone involved for their trust, patience and assistance in making this unique conservation project a reality.  To read more about this project, see our Fall / Winter 2008 newsletter.

Announcing the 2009 Conservation Course
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Methow: the Ecology and Conservation of Birds

Mondays, February 9th – March 16th, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub
Using the perspective of the Methow’s birds, we will explore connectionsTree swallow, photo by Mary Kiesau to this place we have chosen to call home.  Birds are an excellent indicator of the health of our ecosystems, and can teach us a great deal about how well we are managing our environment.  We’ll learn about the conservation of birds, and what each of us can do to make our surroundings (including our backyards) healthier for birds, and ultimately ourselves.  And because many species of birds are migratory international citizens, we’ll explore migration and discover our connections to the Western and Southern Hemisphere, as well as some of the challenges birds face when they are not in Washington.

The Methow Conservation Course was initiated in 2005 to take a Methow-specific look at natural history and translate that knowledge into both local and universal conservation-based themes. Now in its fifth year, the Methow Conservation Course is designed for both the novice and the experienced naturalist. The course is offered with the goal of inspiring more observation and knowledge of, interest in and connections with the natural world.The course will be structured to provide participants with grounding in key topics in ornithology. Rufus hummingbord, photo by Mary Kiesau Participants will learn about the evolution and adaptations of birds, and how they have carved a unique niche in the animal kingdom.  This information will provide the basis for understanding conservation challenges facing birds, as well as opportunities to affect bird conservation.  We’ll use the Methow’s three key habitats—riparian, shrub-steppe, and conifer forests—as the basis of our exploration of bird conservation.

The course runs from February 9th through March 16th with one class per week on Mondays from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  The week of President’s Day class will be on Tuesday.  We’ll also have an introductory class and informal get-together the Monday before the course officially starts.  Tuition is $125 for Methow Conservancy members. The tuition for non-members is $150, which includes a discounted one-year membership.  Scholarships are available for those in need.  One to two volunteers are needed to help with the course and will be given a reduced or waived course fee.  We expect the course to fill quickly so register soon! Contact Mary at or 509-996-2870 if you have questions.

Click here for more information on the Conservation Course

Creative Ways Your Holiday Gifts Can Help the Methow Conservancy
Looking for a great gift from the Methow?  Help the Methow Conservancy at the same time with any of these options:

Here at the Methow Conservancy, not only do gift memberships (donations made in someone’shonor) makegreat gifts, but you can also give friends and family an eye-catching, organic cotton Methow Conservancy t-shirt, tote bag, or hat (in brand new colors)!  Visit our gift page for more info. 

The Cathedral Peak Gallery offers a beautiful selection of nature photography by local Methow artists.  All of the profits from Gallery sales are donated to the Methow Conservancy.  In the last five years, almost $8,000 has been donated to our land protection and conservation education efforts.  The Gallery is located behind the Windermere Office at the Mazama Junction.  It is open by appointment any time by simply calling the Mazama Country Inn at 996-2681 or 800-843-7951.  In December, look for special holiday hours on weekends.

Mountain Kind 2009 photographic calendarMountain Kind Photography, a hobby business of the Methow Conservancy’s Program Coordinator, Mary Kiesau, made a 2009 photographic calendar entitled, "Scenes and Seasons of the Methow Valley and the North Cascades.”  Mary donates at least 10% of her profits from the sale of the calendar and her seasonal postcards to the Methow Conservancy.  The calendars and cards are available at a variety of stores and shops throughout the Valley.  See the images and get more information at their website.

Other 1% or more business partners are the Chewuch Inn, Mazama Country Inn, and Central Reservations.  Check out all our business members for more ideas, but most of all have a wonderful solstice and holiday season wherever you may be and enjoy the gifts of nature!

Businesses for ConservationMethow Conservancy business partners
Speaking of business members, did you know that over 100 business support the work of the Methow Conservancy with annual donations and in-kind support!  We are so grateful for this amazing support and we provided a list of current business members in our last Fall/Winter 2008 Newsletter.  We are sad to say, however, that we made an error in the list and inadvertently left off some businesses at the end of the Partners section.  We apologize for this oversight and want to highlight these businesses here:  Sun House; Sun Mountain Lodge; Terra Valuations; The Country Clinic; The Merc Playhouse; The Ringworks Studio; Trail's End Bookstore; Travel America LLC; Tucker Printing; Twisp River Inn B&B; Windermere/Methow Valley; Windy Valley Landscaping; Winthrop Fitness & Physical Therapy; and Yatta Yatta Yatta.  You can see all of our business members here.  To learn more about enrolling your business as a member, contact Emily at 996-2870.

Below, you'll find announcements about events or publications (ours and those of other organizations) that we think you might find interesting.

  •   December 2nd: Methow Conservancy 1st Tuesday - "Beavers ~ Nature’s water engineers,” 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub with Methow Conservancy Stewardship Director, Steve Bondi, and USFS Biologist, Kent Woodruff.

  •   December 16th:  Methow Conservancy Open House & Holiday Social, 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Methow Conservancy office on 315 Riverside Ave in Winthrop.  You are invited to join the Methow Conservancy for a bit of holiday cheer and festivities at our annual open house.  Help us celebrate another great year of conservation and community.  Food and drinks will be available! 

  •   December 28thGoldfinch, photo by Mary Kiesau21st Annual Methow Valley Christmas Bird Count
    This event is open to anyone who is interested in birding and learning more about and participating in the citizen science of compiling the Audubon’s National Bird Count.  There is a $5 per person fee required by Audubon.  Meet at 7:15 am at Local on Highway 20 in Twisp.  Local is opening early in order to have coffee and pastries and lunch items (to go) available for birders. For more information contact Ken Bevis at 997-0995 or

  •   December 30thWings of France: Birding Journeys from the English Channel to the French Riviera presented by Randy Brook, 7pm at the Confluence Gallery. This will be a slide show and commentary about traveling in France to places that aren`t on your usual tourist circuit. The birders are as avid as we are, and many of the birds look almost (but not quite) like our North American species. But the restaurants even in the most out of the way places are a different story. The outdoor culture of the French is also quite different. We`ll see a little of both, along with the birds.

  •   January 6th 2009:  Methow Conservancy 1st Tuesday co-sponsored by the Loup Loup Ski Bowl~ "Homegrown Ski Areas of North Central Washington” 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  Nancy Warner from the Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS) will present a 20-minute video on the history of the community-supported ski areas of our region featuring historical images and dozens of interviews conducted across the region last winter.  Hear stories about Squilchuck, Leavenworth, Badger Mountain, Entiat Valley, Echo Valley, Patterson Lake, Loup Loup, and Sitzmark ski areas.  Join friends of The Loup and the Methow Conservancy for this unique look back at our regional ski history; long-time “Loupers” will share stories from skiing at the Loup; share stories yourself and enjoy food and beverages at the Twisp River Pub.

  •   January 31st:2006 tracking class, photo by Mary Kiesau  "The Art of Wildlife Tracking" Field Workshop, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.. Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife tracker, Gabe Spence. We'll learn the six arts of tracking wildlife, including how to identify and interpret tracks and signs. Join us and find ways to learn more about and connect with the hidden lives of the creatures that share this land with us! This unique outdoor class costs just $30. Registration is necessary and space is limited to 10 individuals. Please call or email Mary at 996-2870 or to reserve your spot. See our events page for more details.

  •   February 9th – March 16th:  2009 Conservation Course “A Bird’s-Eye View of the Methow: the Ecology and Conservation of Birds,” Mondays, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  More details here.

  •   February 15th: The Owl and The Woodpecker: Encounters with North America's Most Iconic Birds, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Merc Playhouse in Twisp.  Join us at the Merc for an evening of stunning bird images with Seattle-based photographer and naturalist Paul Bannick as we Yellow-bellied sapsucker, photo by Paul Bannickcelebrate the release of his new book The Owl And the Woodpecker: Encounters with North America's Most Iconic Birds.  Paul will treat us to a slideshow featuring amazing photographs from the book, which profiles all 41 of North America's owl and woodpecker species across 11 key habitats, from familiar birds like the northern flicker and great-horned owl as well as rare ones such as the ferruginous pygmy-owl, red-cockaded woodpecker and northern hawk owl.  His presentation will provide an inside look at the way owls and woodpecker define and enrich their habitat and how the life-histories of these cavity-dwellers are intertwined.  The images will be accompanied by natural history information and Paul's field stories distilled from thousands of hours in the field observing owl and woodpecker behaviors.  A book signing will follow the slideshow.  The Merc will open at 6:30 p.m. for attendees who would like to purchase drinks and/or get great seats.   

  •   February 28th:  "The Art of Wildlife Tracking" Field Workshop, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.. Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife tracker, Gabe Spence. We'll learn the six arts of tracking wildlife, including how to identify and interpret tracks and signs. Join us and find ways to learn more about and connect with the hidden lives of the creatures that share this land with us! This unique outdoor class costs just $30. Registration is necessary and space is limited to 10 individuals. Please call or email Mary at 996-2870 or to reserve your spot. See our events page for more details.

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    315 Riverside Avenue / PO Box 71    Winthrop, WA 98862     509.996.2870