December 2013 ENews

Holiday Social & December Program
Monday, December 9th at the Winthrop Barn
We hope you’ll join us for our annual holiday social and program because it’s going to be a great event!  We will be at the Winthrop Barn so there will be plenty of room for everyone!  See below for more details, and contact us at 996-2870 or mary@methowconservancy.org if needed.

Holiday Social & Annual Conservation Awards Ceremony, December 9th from 6:00 - 7:00pm at the Winthrop Barn
Everyone is invited to join the Methow Conservancy in celebrating another amazing year of conservation in the Methow Valley with the Conservancy's annual holiday social. There will be free appetizers, holiday punch and door prizes! Before the 1st Tuesday program, we’ll honor community members with our annual conservation awards. It’s our time to thank you for all that you help us do – please join us!
Community Program “Wolverines, Grizzly Bears, and the Natural Power of Connections” with Doug Chadwick December 9th from 7:00 - 8:30pm at the Winthrop Barn, free and open to everyone
(Note: this is a Monday night, not the first Tuesday!)
Glutton, demon of destruction, symbol of slaughter, mightiest of wilderness villains... Wolverines and grizzlies come marked with a reputation based on myth and fancy. Yet these enigmatic animals are more complex than the legends that surround them. With a shrinking wilderness and global warming, the future of large carnivores is uncertain.

Doug Chadwick will present a slide show to help illustrate fresh ways of looking at, and thinking about, some of the country's wildest wildlife, particularly wolverines and grizzly bears.  Recent scientific studies -- including the exciting wolverine work being carried out here in the North Cascades region -- are finally replacing centuries of tall tales with solid information.  And as they do, it turns out, that both wolverines and grizzlies have some surprising and very important things to tell us about what conserving nature really means and how best to go about it in the century to come. 

Doug Chadwick will reveal the natural history of these species and the forces that threaten its future. Chadwick, who volunteered with the Glacier Wolverine Project, a five-year study in Glacier National Park, uncovered key missing information about the wolverine's habitat, social structure and reproduction habits. Wolverines, according to Chadwick, are the land equivalent of polar bears in regard to the impacts of global warming. This study was the subject of Chadwick's book, The Wolverine Way, and the PBS/Nature documentary "Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom."

Douglas Chadwick (aka Chad) is a wildlife biologist, author, photographer and frequent National Geographic contributor. Chadwick's research involves multi-year projects of extended close observation in species habitat, trapping, radio collar tracking, mapping, and studies of community relationships. In this manner, he has studied wolverines in the northwestern U.S. and Canada, mountain goats and grizzlies in the Rockies, and elephants in Africa.  He is a past officer and member of the board of The Vital Ground Foundation, a nonprofit land trust that has helped safeguard more than 600,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Alaska, Canada, and the western US. Chadwick is also a director of the Gobi Bear Fund, which attempts to restore population of this most endangered of all the yellow bears.




Celebrating 100+ Conservation Easements
Davis Lake Conservation Easement, photo by Joseph Reid
We are thrilled to announce the milestone of protecting the 100th and 101st Methow Conservancy Conservation Easements.  This “century” of conservation easements includes more than 8,000 acres of acres of wildlife habitat, farm, orchard and ranch land, scenic open space and river front since 1996!  Thank you for helping protect what is unique and special about the Methow!

The newest conservation easement properties protect 96 acres above Davis Lake and 42 acres on the Methow River just east of Mazama, respectively.

The 96-acre mid-Methow property contains quality shrub-steppe, pine, fir and aspen stands, and wet meadow habitat.  The open, undeveloped, highly scenic hillsides of this property are visible from major public roadways, including State Route 20, Bear Creek Road, and East County Road. The property is also visible from nearby public lands, including Davis Lake and Pearrygin Lake State Park.  Provisions of the conservation easement, including restrictions on residential development and road building, will serve to maintain these scenic views as well as the critical habitat the property provides.  The intact, unfragmented, and undisturbed shrub-steppe habitat on this conservation easement provide valuable nesting, foraging, and security habitat for many mammal, bird, and reptile species, from migrating songbirds and raptors, to cougar, bear and mule deer.  The property is particularly important winter range for mule deer. 

Methow River Conservation Easement, photo by Julie Grialou

This week, Karl & Carol Ege finalized conservation easement #101.  It protects 42 acres and approximately 2,330 feet of shoreline up-river of the Weeman Bridge, and incorporates dense riparian vegetation and wetland habitats.  The newly protected property is situated in a corridor of other conservation easements and publicly protected lands that provide valuable fish and wildlife habitat.  In a 4-mile stretch of river that includes the Ege easement, 11 Methow Conservancy conservation easements, protect about 340 acres and shoreline along both banks of the Methow River.  Collectively, these conservation easements and state and federal public land along this stretch provide fish and wildlife habitat connectivity between riparian areas and intact uplands.

We are grateful to the 100+ conservation easement owners who have worked with us to protect what makes the Methow Valley truly special.  And it’s your support that makes protecting the Methow possible.  Thank you!


Methow Conservancy Gifts
Looking for a great gift from the Methow? Here are some ideas that can help you with your shopping list and benefit the Methow Conservancy at the same time!

Here at the Methow Conservancy, not only do gift memberships (donations made in someone’s honor) make great gifts, but we have some great  items for purchase as well. Our newest t-shirt says “I Love The Methow” like nothing else! They are 50% organic cotton, 50% recycled polyester navy short-sleeved shirt that feel wonderful and do not shrink.  The design, created by local artist Corin McDonald, captures the essence of the Methow Valley and why we all love it. Plus, there is our super handy Methow Valley pocket Field Guide and our Young Naturalist Activity Booklets. See all of those items here.

If you’d like to give a gift in someone’s honor, or purchase a membership for someone, simply call us at 509-996-2870 or see our membership page.

Methow Valley Calendars by Mountain Kind Photography are another fun and beautiful gift idea that benefit the Methow Conservancy.  Mountain Kind Photography is a hobby business of the Methow Conservancy’s Educational Programs Director, Mary Kiesau.  Mary donates 10% of all of her annual photography profits to the Methow Conservancy.  See her website for a full look at the calendar as well as how to purchase the calendar through her or several Methow Valley stores.

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

“Botany – The Basics & Beyond” – 10th Annual Conservation Course
Pink Wintergreen, photographer Mary KiesauIt’s hard to believe we’ll be offering the tenth “Conservation Course” in early 2014!  This year's educational course will be botany-based, centered on learning the particular characteristics of certain plant families so that you can identify individual native plant and wildflower species with more ease and confidence.  The course will start off with information on the structure of flowers, leaf and flower terminology, how and why plants are classified into different groups and other “botany basics.”  Then, in each class, different instructors will focus on 2-3 families, teaching you patterns, general leaf and flower shapes and other key characteristics to look for when trying to identify the Methow’s common flowering plants.  Flower families will include Fabaceae (Pea family), Lilliaceae (Lily family), Brassicaceae (Mustard family), Scrophulariaceae (Figwort family), Asteraceae (Aster or Daisy family), and many more – and you’ll learn how to say these words!  Class study will include the use of plant games, as well as dissecting microscopes and hand-lenses to look at pressed plants and horticulturally grown flowers (because its winter and we can’t use fresh native plants).  The course includes two field trips after the end of the evening classes to see flowering native plants in springtime.
 
The course will again be held on Monday evenings for six weeks, starting on February 10th.  Classes are at the Twisp River Pub from 6:00 to 8:30pm.  An optional dinner is served from 5:30 – 6:00 for an additional fee, or you may bring your own food. The week of President’s Day (Feb 17) class will meet on Tuesday, not Monday.

Tuition is $165.  Need-based scholarships, in the form of a reduced or waived fee, are available to a limited number of people who are able to help with the course. Spotted Saxifrage  photo by Mary Kiesau

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 themes and uses. Now in its tenth 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. 

Space in the course is limited and registration is open now.  More details about the course, including speakers and a class syllabus will be available in the coming months.  The conservation course fills every year, so contact Mary at mary@methowconservancy.org or 509-996-2870 if you have questions or would like to register.  Click here for the registration form.

Focus on the Future
Photographer Mary KiesauAs we prepare this edition of E-News, we are in the midst of four nights of Focus Groups in the Methow Valley.   We’re traveling from Mazama to Methow to listen to what the community envisions for the future of the Methow Valley and to hear more about what role YOU want us to play in that future.

We like to do these community focus groups every few years.  Our last sessions were in 2007 and we learned a lot!  The feedback we hear will be used by our Board of Directors and Staff to guide our new five-year organizational plan, which we hope to unveil in Spring 2014.  

We will also be hosting two focus groups in the Seattle and Bellevue area in January – stay tuned to January’s E-News for specific dates and locations.

If you aren’t able to join us, but want to share your feedback, please fill out the Focus Group Survey here. We’ll share a summary of what we learn once we’ve had a chance to digest it all.  In the meantime, thanks to all who do participate - we value your time and input!

The Methow Out My Window
You’ll also want to follow E-News for updates on a new project we’re launching in partnership with some of the Valley’s finest print and photographic artists as well as the hand-made book studios of Paper Hammer at the Mighty Tieton incubator outside of Yakima.  We are working with Door No. 3’s Robin Doggett and Laura Gunnip, and renowned book maker Ed Marquand to create a collector’s edition, hand made book including original artwork from Valley artists. Artists were asked to respond to the prompt, “The Methow Out My Window,” using the media of linoleum block print or digital photography.  We’ve been amazed and inspired by the response and look forward to releasing a truly one-of-a-kind book next Spring.  Proceeds from the book sales will support our Annual Operating Fund.  Only 250 copies of the book will be sold – and we’ll start pre-sales soon, so stay tuned!  If you are interested, feel free to email Sarah Brooks.

New Members
We’re grateful that new people join our list of supporters each month. Here is a list of the people and businesses who became new members of the Methow Conservancy between October 29th and December 2nd:  Jamie & Julian Andersen, Chris Cass, Nicholas Dankers, Jessica Blethen & Dave Dewbrey, Stacy Gillett, Marvin Gottschall, Sherry Larsen & Bryce Holmes, Cindy & Sandy Mackie, Adrienne Nova, Karen Mulcahy & Rick Rottman, Julianne Seeman, and Janice Wieser.  Thank you for becoming members and supporting our efforts!

Events
Doug Chadwick & Tank, photo by Joel SartoreDecember 9th: Holiday Social & December Program, “Wolverines, Grizzly Bears, and the Natural Power of Connections,” at the Winthrop Barn. The Holiday party starts at 6pm with drinks, appetizers and awards. The program runs from 7pm–8:30pm with wildlife biologist, author and photographer Douglas Chadwick who will illustrate fresh ways of looking at, and thinking about, some of the country's wildest wildlife, particularly wolverines and grizzly bears.  Recent scientific studies -- including the exciting wolverine work being carried out here in the North Cascades region -- are finally replacing centuries of tall tales with solid information.  And as they do, it turns out, that both wolverines and grizzlies have some surprising and very important things to tell us about what conserving nature really means and how best to go about it in the century to come. See above for details.

January 7th: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” program, “Bighorn Sheep of the Okanogan”, 7:00 - 8:30pm at the Twisp River Pub. WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Jeff Heinlen, will talk about the cultural history, ecology and life history and management issues associated with the Bighorn Sheep of Okanogan County. The Pub opens at 6pm for food and a buffet dinner.

January 12th: Introduction to Winter Wildlife Tracking, 8:30am – 12:30pm, $40.  Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife tracker and educator, Dave Moskowitz.  Learn how to identify and interpret wildlife tracks and signs so that you can connect with the hidden lives of the creatures that share this land with us!  Registration is necessary and space is limited to13 people.  Call or email Mary at 996-2870 or mary@methowconservancy.org to reserve your spot. 

Photographer Mary Kiesau.February 10th: 10th Annual Conservation Course, “Botany – The Basics & Beyond” begins.  Meets on Monday nights, from 6:00 – 8:30pm with an optional dinner beforehand. The week of President’s Day, class will meet on Tuesday Feb 18th, not Monday.   Registration is required and space is limited.  Tuition is $165.  See above for more details.

February 4th: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” program (TBA)

March 4th: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” program internationally acclaimed acoustic ecologist, Gordon Hempton, 7pm at the Twisp River Pub. The Pub opens at 6pm for food and drink.

April 1st: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” program, “Day Hiking in Eastern Washington,” 7:00 – 8:30pm at the Twisp River Pub with Rich Landers, outdoors editor for the Spokesman Review and author of several regional guidebooks.

News from Other Organizations
Check out the upcoming news & events from other organizations and businesses!

Succession Planning Workshop, Saturday Dec. 7th, 9am – 3:30pm at Whistler’s Restaurant in Tonasket, hosted by WSU Extension.  In this facilitated workshop for family forestland owners, farmers, ranchers, and other land-based family businesses, WSU Extension will explore succession planning, focusing on ways to maintain family ties to the land from generation to generation, building awareness of key challenges facing family businesses and motivating families to address those challenges. This workshop is a mix of presentations and practical exercises to help families develop techniques needed to address tough issues. Topics covered will also be relevant to professionals working with landowner families.  Each participant will receive a copy of the Ties to the Land workbook which is designed to help families continue to improve and direct their communications at home. Fee, $45, includes refreshments, lunch and one copy of the workbook.  For more information, or to register call Andy Perleberg at 509-667-6540 or Curtis Beus at 509-422-7248.

Photographer Mary KiesauChristmas Bird Counts: The 114th Annual Audubon “Christmas Bird Count” will take place Dec 14, 2013 to January 5, 2014 throughout the world.  The longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, Christmas Bird Count provides critical data on population trends. The North Central Washington Chapter of the Audubon Society, a four-county region, hosts six separate bird counts in Twisp (12/15), Bridgeport (12/21), Okanogan (1/4), Chelan (12/28), Wenatchee (12/29) and Leavenworth (12/22).  Everyone is welcome, beginners and experienced.  Get the dates and info on each of them here.  For Twisp, meet at the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery at 6:30am for pastries, coffee & tea, 7:00am for registration. Bring binoculars, lunch, warm clothes, field guides, and if you’d like snowshoes, skis, and spotting scopes.  People will break up into groups for the morning or whole day.  Call Juliet Rhodes at 341-4118 or Art Campbell at 996-8168 if you have questions.

Celebrating the Solstice: “Science & Spirit in the Methow” is a winter solstice program, 7-9 PM on December 21st at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center in Twisp. For more information on this program, contact Dana Visalli at 997-9011,Photographer Jason Paulsen or dana@methownet.com, or see the Methow Naturalist website.

“Nature of Winter Snowshoe” Tours: MVSTA hosts family-friendly snowshoe tours every Saturday from December 21 - March 8.  Tours begin at 11:00 am and last 90-120 minutes, depending on conditions.  Local volunteers lead tours that focus on winter ecology, wildlife and tracks, snow science and more. MVSTA ski trail passes or a MVSTA snowshoe trail pass ($5) are required for each person. Tour size is limited to 10 people. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis, no reservations. See MVSTA’s website or call 509-996-3287 for more information. 
 
Big History in a Little Valley: The History & Mystery of the Rocks, Plants, Animals and People of the Methow, a four-part, in-depth look at the natural history of the Methow, 7-9 PM on Monday evenings in January at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center.  Contact Dana Visalli at 997-9011, or dana@methownet.com, or see the Methow Naturalist website.

The Okanogan Highlands Alliance is offering, "Highland Wonders," a series of monthly natural history programs. Check out their full calendar.

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