Holiday Social & December “First Tuesday” Program
Tuesday, December 6th at the Winthrop Barn, free and open to everyone
Join your friends and neighbors for our annual holiday social and community program. It’s free and at the Winthrop Barn with plenty of room for everyone. See below for more details and contact us at 509-996-2870 or

Holiday Social & Annual Conservation Awards Ceremony
December 6th from 6:00 - 7:00pm at the Winthrop Barn, free
Everyone is invited to join the Methow Conservancy in celebrating community, conservation and our mutual love of the Methow Valley with the Conservancy's annual year-end holiday social from 6:00-7:00pm. There will be free appetizers and holiday punch.  Purchase wine and beer, Methow Conservancy gear, and Paul Bannick’s stunning new OWL book.  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 “Owl: A Year in The Lives of North American Owls” with Paul Bannick Great Grey Owl photo by Paul Bannick.
December 6th from 7:00 - 8:30pm at the Winthrop Barn, free

The Methow Conservancy’s annual year-end community program and social on Tuesday, December 6th at the Winthrop Barn will feature award-winning photographer and author Paul Bannick.

In Owl, Paul Bannick uses his intimate and dramatic images to illustrate four different nesting owl species - Northern Pygmy, Burrowing, Great Gray, and Snowy - throughout the course of the year in four distinct habitats. Each stage in an owl’s life is chronicled: courtship, mating, and nesting in spring; fledging and feeding of young in summer; dispersal and learning independence in fall; and, finally, winter’s migration. Unusual irruptions and the everyday struggle to survive are also covered.

In addition to the four featured owls, the fifteen other species of North American owls are generously depicted throughout the presentation; Bannick’s startling images reflect their shared behaviors as well as some surprising exceptions and adaptations. More than just a backdrop, the four featured owl habitats—forest, grassland and steppe, boreal, and Arctic—reveal wildly rich stories of their own.
Owl is a stunning follow-up to Bannick’s best selling title, “The Owl and the Woodpecker,” giving bird lovers yet another gorgeous photographic tribute, engaging natural history, and a compelling call to preserve the habitats that sustain these most iconic of birds.

Paul Bannick is an award-winning and widely published wildlife photographer specializing in the natural history of North America with a focus on birds and habitat. He has received the Canon Prize of the International Conservation Photography Awards, as well as first place in the “Birds and Their Habitat” category in Audubon magazine's annual contest. He lives in Seattle; learn more at

The event is free and open to all.  No RSVPs are needed.  Contact the Methow Conservancy at or 509-996-2870 if you have questions.   Photos by Paul Bannick

Methow Gifts for the Holidays or Anytime
pearsBuying local is always important, but it’s especially fun during the holidays when there are so many unique, hand-made and Methow-specific gifts to be had, from food to clothes to art and more.  Join others in committing to Buy Methow so that your dollars stay in the community you love!  Below, we made a quick list to help you do just that.

Our new Agricultural Coordinator, Alyssa Jumars, has been out talking to local “ag” producers and growers.  If you are looking for ways to support our local Methow farmers as you do your holiday shopping for meals or gifts, we can help!  Click here for a directory Alyssa made of locally-grown products to sip, savor, and give during the festivities. From cheese to pears to cider to meat to nearly any vegetable you might want – you can get it here in the Methow!

The Methow Made program at TwispWorks also has a great website for browsing locally made food, beverages, furniture and home products, art, clothing, and more. 

Here at the Methow Conservancy, the beautiful handmade book “Methow Out My Window,” featuring original linoleum block prints and photography by 17 local artists, including poetry by Linda M. Robertson, is a unique and limited edition Methow-inspired work that is part art and part book.  The book is available at our office to see and purchase.

Our Methow Conservancy t-shirts say “I Love the Methow” like nothing else! The short-sleeve shirts are 100% organic cotton and made in the USA with clay-based dyes, come in two colors, do not shrink and feel wonderful!  Plus, there is our super handy Methow Valley pocket Field Guide and our Young Naturalist Activity Booklets (think stocking stuffers!).  Check out the shirts and guidebooks here.

Methow Futures with Methow GenNxt
Almost 60 people in their 20’s and 30’s joined us at the Copper Glance bar last month for a discussion about how they can play a role in shaping the future of the Methow Valley.  Inspired by Methow-grown Sam Naney and his wife Alison, the focus group discussion provided a forum for “the next generation” to share what they hope for the Methow Valley in the next 20 years. They also discussed what barriers stand in the way of that vision and what they can do to overcome them. 

We are still reviewing the literally pages and pages of written feedback and good discussion we heard that night and we’ll share a summary here in E-News when we have it all compiled.  We can say with certainty that the Methow Valley is fortunate to have a passionate, ready-to-be-engaged, and thoughtful generation of young adults who value wild places, agriculture, and a strong sense of community. 

The gathering was the third event in our GenNxt Project, designed to specifically reach people in their early adult years.  We believe this is a critical time of transition in one’s life, and helping younger adults and families find places to contribute and be heard is essential to a vibrant future civic life here in the Methow Valley.  While, of course, we value input and ideas from all ages and will continue to host focus groups for all ages as we have done several times through the years, we especially want to provide a forum for the next generation of leaders to find their footing and make their mark. 

We plan to meet again early in 2017 and share all the feedback we received and then encourage the group to determine how they want to move forward. It’s important to us that the GenNxt programs rise from the interests of the participants.  We will also share the information we received with other nonprofit organizations in the Valley, so they can benefit from the enthusiasm of this generation.  If you are a young adult and you’d like to be kept in the loop on Methow GenNxt events and plans, find the group on Facebook here, or just email us at

The Life & Times of Methow Mammals - the 13th Annual Conservation Course
Mondays, Feb. 6th – March 13th, 6:00 - 8:00pm at the Winthrop Barn

chipmunk by Dave MoskowitzFrom tiny shrews to big black bears and desert-adapted pocket mice to boreal species like the Canadian lynx, the Methow Valley is home to a diverse assemblage of native mammals. Being mammals ourselves, the lives of our furry neighbors are of great interest and curiosity to humans. Join this year’s conservation course to learn more about the evolution of mammals and the unique adaptations and ecological niches of our native mammalian taxa. Course content will provide an overview of every family of mammals found here while exploring selected groups and species of significant conservation or ecological interest in more detail. The class field experience will focus on various methods for studying mammals in the field including wildlife tracking, camera trapping, and direct observation.

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 13th 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 run for six weeks from February 6th to March 13th with one class per week on Mondays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Winthrop Barn. Tuition is $170.  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 (usually weekly set-up or clean-up).  Additionally, one or more bonus field classes will be offered during and at the end of the course for an additional $25 fee.

For more information check out the conservation course web page. Space in the course is limited and registration is open now.  Contact Mary at or 509-996-2870 for questions about the course or to register. 

Get Your Tickets Quick – January 21st!  
We’re expecting to sell-out for our combined Birthday Bash with Methow Trails on January 21st at the Winthrop Barn.  The Paperboys will be on stage to get us dancing and toe-tapping as we celebrate 40 years of Methow Trails and 20 years of Methow Conservancy. 

No fancy fundraising gimmicks, no long speeches.  Just a fun, rollicking good time in the Barn with all of our friends.  The show starts at 7 pm.  Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here:

Or, join Methow Trails during the day on the 21st for their Methow Valley Nordic Festival, which includes a competitive Pursuit ski race or a fun community loppet, and purchase a concert ticket with your packet.  See more info here:

Preparing for Winter in the School Yard
Methow Valley 4th grade school yard scientists braved a wet and chilly November day to think about how animals in the Methow survive winter.  We were surprised to find there are many different strategies, from hibernation or torpor to migration to toughing it out and adapting.  Students had a chance to experience each strategy.  We experimented with getting our heart rates as low as possible to effectively hibernate – and we discovered 4th graders might not be well-suited for low-energy hibernation.  We played a fun few rounds of “coyote pounce” designed to help us imagine how many adaptations a coyote might need to find a mouse in winter.  And, finally, the student scientists challenged the great migration obstacle course in the school yard and realized that migration takes a lot of energy!  We’re already looking forward to toughing it out and adapting to some outside winter time at our next meeting in January when we’ll do storytelling with animal tracks.

Hirst, and a Thirst for Answers
On November 8th, the Okanogan County Commissioners took emergency action to enact Ordinance 2016-5, "An ordinance pertaining to land use decisions requiring the use of water from other than a certificated source."  In short, the Ordinance establishes a new process for obtaining building permits in Okanogan County, which requires a public hearing to establish that water is both "legally and physically available" prior to the issuance of any development permit.  This action follows on the recent Washington State Supreme Court decision known as the "Hirst" decision.

While E-News is the wrong place to attempt to explain this complicated decision and its potential implications for the Methow Valley, we want to be sure that landowners have access to the information and resources they need, including upcoming opportunities to learn more and provide input to the County Commissioners.  Methow Conservancy staff continue to monitor this fast-evolving issue carefully, and believe that good watershed planning and land use planning will be key ingredients in the ultimate resolution of this issue here in the Methow watershed.  We will continue to participate constructively in those processes in the weeks and months ahead, and will share new information via E-News and our web site.

Here is how you can participate as well:
The County's Planning, Building and Public Health Departments have scheduled a public information session on the new Ordinance at 6:30 p.m. on December 7, 2016 in the Virginia Grainger Building in Okanogan.

The County Commissioners will conduct an official Public Hearing on Ordinance 2016-5 at 1:30 p.m. in the same Virginia Grainger building in Okanogan.

Want to Learn More?

winter tracking by mary kiesauWinter Tracking Classes
Saturday January 7th & Saturday February 4th, 8:30am – 12:30pm
Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife tracker and educator, David 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! 

We are offering two separate half-day field-classes with David, who is an extremely knowledgeable wildlife track and sign teacher who makes tromping around in the cold snow really fun.  Sign up for either of the days for $45/person.  Registration is necessary and space is limited to 12 people/day.  Contact us at 996-2870 or to reserve your spot.

New Members
Our new members from October 28th through November 28th were: Marie Bilger & Jan Aagaard, Mary Barr, Betsy Browder, Darcy Gray, Sabrina Freedman & Sam Israel, Jessica & Joe Klein, Janette & Russ Ladley, Laurie Porter, J.D. Roger, and Heather & Craig Taplin. Welcome and thank you for inspiring people to care for the land of the Methow Valley!

Methow Conservancy Events
Pygmy Owl photo by Paul BannickDecember 6th: Methow Conservancy Holiday Social & “First Tuesday” program "Owl: A Year in The Lives of North American Owls" with author and photographer Paul Bannick, 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. Paul Bannick uses his intimate and dramatic images to illustrate four different nesting owl species—Northern Pygmy, Burrowing, Great Gray, and Snowy—throughout the course of the year in four distinct habitats.  Tell your friends and see more details here!

January 7th: Winter Wildlife Tracking, 8:30am – 12:30pm, $45.  Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife tracker and educator, Dave Moskowitz.  Contact us at 509-996-2870 or to reserve your spot. See above for more details.

January 10th: Methow Conservancy First Tuesday (note: 2nd Tuesday!) Program: “Travels in Tanzania through the lens of Conservation” Join the whole Bondi family for a slide show about their recent 3-month trip through Tanzania. First, they worked with a conservation organization in the southern highlands of the Kilombero Valley where they experienced village life while studying human-wildlife interactions and land protection options.  In the eastern flank of the country they enjoyed the road less traveled by “wazungu na watoto” (white people with children) safaris. They’ll also take us on a northern circuit of Tanzanian National Parks, where some of the most well-known Masaii tribes, wildlife migrations and African mammals exist.  7:00-8:30pm, free, Methow Valley Community Center.

January 21st:  Methow Trails & Methow Conservancy Birthday Bash with The Paperboys at the Winthrop Barn. We’re turning 20! That’s right, with your support the Methow Conservancy has been inspiring people to care for the land of the Methow Valley for 20 years!  Help us celebrate at our joint birthday bash with Methow Trails (they’re turning 40!). We’ll dance the night away to the Paperboys and have some birthday fun. Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased online at above for more details.

February 4th Winter Wildlife Tracking, 8:30am – 12:30pm, $45.  Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife tracker and educator, Dave Moskowitz.  Contact us at 509-996-2870 or to reserve your spot. See above for more details.

February 7th: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” Program with Bullitt Foundation Environmental Prize winner Carol Bogezi, 7:00-8:30pm, free, location TBA.

February 28th: Methow Conservancy Program, “Living in the Era of Megafires,” a multi-media presentation lead by Dr. Paul Hessburg, 7:00-8:30pm, free, location TBA.  

April 11th: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” Program (on the 2nd Tuesday!), “Alchemy of Herbs,” with local herbalist Rosalee de la Foret, 7:00-8:30pm, free, location TBA.

May 2nd: Methow Conservancy “First Tuesday” Program, “Tides” with Jonathan White, 7:00-8:30pm, free, location TBA

News from Other Organizations
Christmas Bird Count: The North Central Washington Chapter of the Audubon Society, a four-county region, hosts six separate bird counts: Bridgeport (12/15), Leavenworth (12/17), Chelan (12/28), Twisp/Winthrop (1/1), Wenatchee (1/1), and Okanogan/Omak (1/2). Everyone is welcome, beginners and experienced.  Get the info on each of them here.

For 29th annual Twisp Christmas Bird Count on January 1st, meet at the Grange Hall in Twisp at 6:30am. Bring binoculars, warm clothes, a lunch, and field guides. Optionally, bring snowshoes, skis, and spotting scopes. For more information, contact Dave Rudholm at 509-429-1105 or

Methow Trails hosts “Nature of Winter Snowshoe” Tours every Saturday from Dec 31 - Feb 25 at both Sun Mountain and Jacks Hut at the Freestone Inn.  These family-friendly snowshoe tours start at 11:00am and are led by local volunteers who focus on winter ecology, wildlife and tracks, snow science and more.  See more details here.

The Methow Naturalist editor Dana Visalli will be teaching a 13- part class called “Big History: The Evolutionary Journey of Life & of Homo sapiens” at TwispWorks in January and February 2017. Cost is on a sliding scale, $0-$130. Contact Dana to enroll or for more information at or 509-997-9011.

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 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