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December 2018 ENews

Welcome to E-News - A monthly brief to inspire us all to care for the land of the Methow Valley.

Holiday Social & December “First Tuesday” Program
Tuesday, December 4th at the Winthrop Barn
We can’t wait to see you on Tuesday night!  

the barnHoliday Social & Annual Conservation Awards Ceremony
December 4th from 6:00 - 7:00pm at the Winthrop Barn 

Celebrate community, conservation and our love of the Methow Valley with our annual year-end holiday social from 6:00-7:00pm. There will be free appetizers and holiday punch plus a no-host bar with beer and wine (cash or check only!).  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 “Conservation Canines” with Julianne Ubigau 
December 4th from 7:00 - 8:30pm at the Winthrop Barn

We’re excited to welcome Julianne Ubigau and Sampson from the Conservation Canine Program at the University of Washington to the Barn!  Since 1997, the Center for Conservation Biology (CCB) has developed novel, non-invasive ways to examine DNA, hormones and toxin levels in a variety of threatened and endangered animals by using rescue dogs.

By rescuing and training highly energetic dogs, the Center’s unique Conservation Canines (CK9) program assists wildlife researchers in learning about a diverse range of wildlife species that include insects, amphibians, carnivores and even whales. The CK9 program and the Center for Conservation Biology are driven by the goal to understand how environmental pressures impact wildlife and human health worldwide.

Julianne and Sampson have been a team for 10 years, tracking everything from the tiny Pacific pocket mouse to Jemez mountain Salamanders, and invasive plant called garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).

If you love conservation, rescue dogs, or just feel-good stories you won’t want to miss this pretty amazing presentation!

And, if you want to head into the holidays with extra good karma points, check out the opportunities to volunteer at this fun event on Volunteer Methow. Photo at right by Jaymi Heimbach.

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Johnnie and Daniel Are Sticking With Us!
We are excited to announce that seasonal employees Johnnie Duguay and Daniel Senner will join us as year-round members of Team Methow Conservancy! 

JohnnieJohnnie, who has served as our full-time Stewardship Technician for the last seven months, has been promoted to the role of Stewardship Associate.  She will continue to monitor our 112 conservation easements while with us full-time spring through fall, and in the winter months will spend one to two days a week in the office developing our field-based educational classes and workshops for the year ahead, ensuring that we are providing opportunities to help everyone learn how to be thoughtful stewards of the land. 

DanielDaniel, who has been a Conservation Fellow since last May, has been promoted to Community Conservation Coordinator, a full-time, year-round position.  He will manage our growing number of volunteer opportunities including new citizen science projects, community outreach events like our First Tuesday series, and will assist with communications and conservation project development. 

“Johnnie and Daniel have both proven to be excellent additions to our team,” notes Executive Director Jason Paulsen.  “Their skill-sets are a perfect match for our current and projected future needs.  They are both knowledgeable, passionate about our mission, and great assets to the community – and we are pleased they will be on Team Methow Conservancy year-round.”

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Announcing our 2019 Conservation Course: The Dirt on Soil Health
Sasha SwerdloffThis winter we will be keeping up our time-honored tradition, and hosting a Monday-evening seminar series.  In the past, our Conservation Courses have offered the community a unique opportunity to dive into diverse topics including the ecological history of the Methow Valley, the basics of botany, fire ecology, or a deeper exploration of unique critters, such as Corvids, Herps, or Methow mammals. 

This winter, we’ll be focusing on the nitty-gritty, by digging into the components of healthy soil and soil ecosystems.  Over the course of four evening seminars, we’ll learn hands-on lessons to take to the field, or to the garden next spring. 

The seminar series will meet February 25th through March 18th, from 6-8pm on Monday evenings.  Topics covered will include soil chemistry, soil biology, carbon sequestration in the soil, and applied methods for improving soil health.  We’ll host guest speakers from Washington State University, Wenatchee Valley College, and our local farming community.  

The price for the course is $95, or $30 per class; location TBD.  If you have questions or want to register, just contact usPhoto at left:  Extra-healthy soil from Ruby Slippers Farm by Sasha Swerdloff.

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Thanks for Supporting the Methow Headwaters Campaign!
Methow MixerWhether you were with us in Seattle or the Winthrop Barn on November 13th, THANK YOU for showing you support for the Methow Headwaters campaign!

Together, you joined with literally hundreds of your friends, neighbors, farmers, lodge owners, elected officials, and local non-profit organizations to send a strong and unified message to the BLM and USFS officials tasked with conducting this required public meeting that the Methow Headwaters is no place for industrial scale mining.  This watershed is so fortunate to have you!

The Methow Headwaters Campaign team is working hard to get this project across the finish-line before the December 30th deadline.  Watch or our Facebook page for the latest updates.

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Great Gifts for the Holidays or Anytime!tshirt
Buying 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.

  • Consider gift memberships (donations made in someone’s honor) to the Methow Conservancy or another Methow Valley nonprofit.  It’s a great way to honor someone and do good at the same time! 

  • Wear your Methow Conservancy support with our hats or t-shirts.

  • Support the Methow Conservancy and eliminate single-use bags wtih the eqpd Lastbag -- Reusable for a lifetime. BUILT-FOR-A-PURPOSE means 100% of the retail profit goes to the Methow Conservancy. Click here to purchase a Methow Conservancy Lastbag.  

  • Shop with our Business Partners for Open Space.  We are honored to have many local and regional businesses as members who support our efforts to protect open space, wildlife habitat, farm and ranchland, and scenic areas. When you shop with them, please thank them for making a generous commitment to our efforts. 
  • Don’t forget to support local farmers and ranchers. Check out for our online directory.

  • The on-line only Methow Made Holiday LastBag from our friends at eqpd and Methow Made is a great way to shower someone special in our life with a LastBag stuffed full with goods from Methow Made partners.

  • Books always make great gifts – and Trails End Bookstore has a great selection and can do special orders.  We offer the list below of some of the titles we’ve found intriguing this year:

    • Crown Jewel Wilderness – Creating North Cascades National Park by  Lauren Danner:  Lauren was a First Crown Jewel CoverTuesday speaker in the Methow in June and then again at our Methow Mixer in Seattle last month.  She has written an incredible book chronicling the social, environmental, and political context to the creation of our backyard National Park, NCNP. This book is a great reminder that almost every piece of public land has a story of vision, hard work, compromise, and could-have-beens that make you grateful for every acre we have.

    • Arctic Solitaire - A Boat, A Bay, and the Quest for the Perfect Bear by Paul Souders:  What started as a professional photographer’s simple quest to capture real polar bears free from zoos or village dumpsters on the cheap, turns into a 3 year saga of a man, his dinky boat C-Sick, and the ruggedly beautiful Canadian Arctic. Spoiler alert:  we’re hoping Paul may be coming to a valley near you this winter…

    • Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter by Ben Goldfarb:  Beavers are rodents--big, goofy, sometimes cute, sometimes pesky—and they are also ecosystem engineers. This book is a guide for the modern world on how to coexist with these rodents and why it’s in our best interest to do so.
      Moskowitz Book Cover
    • Caribou Rainforest – From Heartbreak to Hope by Dave Moskowitz:  Methow Valley local author and wildlife photographer Dave Moskowitz has a new book processing his recent expeditions uncovering the story of the Woodland Caribou that inhabit that interior temperate rainforests of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.

    • Flora of the Pacific Northwest – Second Edition by C. Leo Hitchcock & Arthur Cronquist:  The first edition of Hitchcock and Cronquist is considered the Bible of taxonomic botany and knowing the time and effort put into this second edition it looks like we are going to have a new testament on our hands. So if you are looking to learn a new taxonomic language and understand botany on a scale few others do, be fearless in your pursuit of this book.

    • Buzz – The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson:  Let this book illuminate you as to why bees are central to our lives, economy, and culture and why they deserve our interest and protection as they face the devastating colony collapse syndrome.

    • Lost Homeland: The Methow Tribe and the Columbia Reservation by E. Richard Hart:  Carefully researched by Winthrop’s own Richard Hart, this detail-rich book tells the compelling, little-known story of how the Methow Indians of North Central Washington lost their homeland.

Most of all, have a wonderful solstice and holiday season wherever you may be and enjoy the gifts of nature!

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Winter Tracking!
We're excited to be working again with naturalist Nate Bacon this winter.

Winter Wildlife Tracking 
Saturday, January 12th 
Saturday, February 9th
8:30am-12:30pm, $45

Explore the winter landscape of the Methow Valley with professional wildlife trackers and educators.  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 extremely knowledgeable local wildlife track and sign teacher Nate Bacon. Snowshoes and good fitness are necessary. 

Each class is $45/person.  Sign up for either (or both!).  Registration is necessary and space is limited.  Contact us at 996-2870 or email us  to reserve your spot.

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Schoolyard Science – Making it Through Winter
School Yard ScienceHow would you choose to get through the winter:  just go to sleep (hibernate), tough it out (adapt), or get outta here (migrate)?  That’s the question we posed to our 4th grade School Yard Scientists this month. 

We decided to give each one a try.  We tried seeing if we could get our heart rates super low to reach torpor, but it turns out 4th graders have a hard time getting into that hibernation coma-like state.  Plus, we agreed we’d get hungry.  We tried migrating with the always-popular Great Migration Outdoor Obstacle course.  While flapping our wings like birds, we tried to get past a variety of barriers, including skyscrapers, polluted lakes, windstorms, and telephone wires.  We agreed migration was fun, but it’s a big gamble.  We also played a game or two about how animals might adapt to stick it out in winter. 

All in all, we decided that human adaptations like warm coats and hot chocolate were pretty good ways to deal with the coming cold.  In January, we’ll test our adaptability as we spend time outside!

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Fun Science Facts from our Conservation Biologist Julie Grialou  
Male Ducks and Bright vs Drab Coloring

Wood duckHave you ever noticed how most male ducks have colorful plumage, but lose this colorful plumage and become drab looking for a period of time each year?  What is the reason for this change to drab coloring?  Is there any evolutionary “advantage”? 

Well, it turns out that most waterfowl have a unique type of molting after the nesting season – unique in that they lose all their flight (aka primary) feathers at once instead of sequentially.  This yields the ducks flightless for about a month, until their new flight feathers come in.  Being flightless makes the birds much more vulnerable to predation, hence, it is advantageous for the birds to have drab coloring, as opposed to bright coloring, during this flightless time. 

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Our December Reading List:
Our email inboxes here at the Methow Conservancy are often full of articles we share with each other to help inform our work or inspire discussion.  We thought you might be interested in seeing what we’ve been reading. 

Editor’s note: These articles do not represent the beliefs or opinions of the Methow Conservancy or its staff. We offer them purely as a means of sparking discussion.

Jason readingThe Thrillist: I found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I killed it
Snapshot:  While we can’t close the Methow Valley down if it gets overwhelmed with visitors, we can ensure that the elements that make it top ten list worthy are protected forever. Read more to understand the fate of other listees…

Seattle Times: Washington lands chief asks lawmakers for $90 million to improve habitat for orcas, salmon
Snapshot:  Hillary Franz, the state’s Commissioner of Public Lands, has asked the Washington state legislature for 90 million dollars to restore salmon habitat and remove fish passage barriers in the state. The previous two-year budget for this work was 55.5 million. The increase in funding request is motivated by Governor Inslee’s orca-recovery task force who believes that rapid work is needed to save the South Puget Sound Orca.

Seattle Times: Let Washingtonians, wherever they are, speak up in Olympia, via video chats
Snapshot:  Have you ever wanted to give politicians in Olympia a friendly reminder about their obligations as law makers, but couldn’t justify burning all that carbon just to tell them in person. Well The Seattle Times Editorial Board is on your side and wants the Washington State Senate and House to accept testimony through videochat for the 2019 legislative session. Currently they only accept testimony from videochat for select committee meetings, but opening live streamed testimony to all meetings would help ensure that everyone in the state has their voice heard regardless of geography.

New York Times: When it’s Time for Giving, some People Circle around
Chances are that you belong to a social circle, however, what if that same group decided to pool resources and give philanthropically as a unit. That’s the idea behind a giving circle, and it is gaining popularity around the country. Fueled by digital connectivity and big world problems, people are finding power in the idea that small donations pooled collectively have a big impact. Plus then you and your friends get to give your group a super cool name… like the MethowMovers or MakingMagicintheMethow!!!

The Islands’ Sounder: San Juan Islander’s conserve public land through private donations
If you want to see what you can do through a giving circle to make a real local impact read this article, start dreaming, and then get organized!

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New Members  - Thank You!
We’re pleased to welcome the following new supporters of the Methow Conservancy: Dee Christensen, Gloria Royse, and Gerald Smith.  Thank you!

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Methow Conservancy Events
January 3rd: First Tuesday on a Thursday Citizen Scientists and Seasonal Snow Modeling with David Hill - The Merc Playhouse. Doors Open at 6:30pm, Presentation is from 7-8pm.
OSU Environmental Engineering professor and co-leader of the NASA-funded Community Snow Observation Project, David Hill will share more about this ongoing project to better understand mountain snow distribution using citizen science and satellite remote sensing. There will be plenty of opportunity to learn how you can get involved!

January 12: Winter Tracking with Nate Bacon - 8:30am-12:30pm, $45. See above for more details.

Jan. 8th: Methow GenNxt – Snowpack Outlook and Night Skiing Social, 6-8pm, Join us upstairs at the Winthrop Ice Rink as local professional ski guide and avalanche forecaster Drew Lovell talks about the present snowpack and seasonal outlook while we eat pizza and then we will head outside to night ski on the Methow Community Trail! Methow GenNxt is a gathering of Methow Valley's future leaders ages (approx. 21-45) where we come together, have fun, and make lasting connections. Stay tuned for more details.

January 16th: Big Valley Owling Adventure, 6 - 7:30pm
We'll walk the Big Valley loop looking and listening for owls! To sign up, email us or call (509) 996–2870. 

First Tuesday February Arctic Double Header:

  • February 7th - The Winthrop Barn. Doors open at 6:30pm, presentation from 7-8pm.
    Mary Gallagher of the Alaska Wilderness League and Susan Ballinger Conservation Fellow at the Chelan Douglas Land Trust will share their photos and experiences traveling through the Alaska’s Arctic Coastal Plain and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Friday, February 8th - The Winthrop Barn. Doors open at 6:30pm, presentation from 7-8pm.
    Join Seattle based writer of “Arctic Solitaire” and award winning photographer Paul Souders as he showcases his amazing photos and tells his incredible tales from a three year quest to photograph poolar bears in their Canadian arctic home.

February 9th: Winter Tracking with Nate Bacon - 8:30am-12:30pm, $45. See above for more details.

Feb. 20th: Big Valley Owling Adventure Round 2, 7 - 8:30p, We’ll walk or ski the Big Valley loop looking and listening for owls!

February 26th: Special Feature! Melissa Arnot the Athlete, Advocate, and Adventurer - The Winthrop Barn. Doors open at 6:30pm, presentation from 7-8pm
Winthrop-based professional mountaineer Melissa Arnot will share stories from her adventures and advocacy in Washington, Nepal, and beyond! This should be an amazing talk by a truly inspirational human being. You won’t want to miss it!

Feb. 28th: Volunteer Appreciation and Spring Preview, 6 – 7:30pm,  Calling all Methow Conservancy volunteers! Come join us at Six Knot Taphouse for dinner and drinks while we regale tales from the volunteer field and get excited for the work yet to come!!

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News from Other Organizations
December 18th: Natural History Photo Travelogue @ Twisp Public Library, 6 to 7:30pm: Join ecologist and wildlife photographer, John Winnie Jr., as he takes you on a Galapagos and Ecuador natural history photo travelogue.

Biology Class: The Life Around Us  -- Dana Visalli of the Methow Naturalist is offering a 7-class winter course on “Life on Earth”--covering the 6 kingdoms of Life. That means Bacteria and Archaea through Animals. Classes are on the first 3 Wednesdays in December and the first 4 Wednesdays in January at 7 PM at The Cove II in Twisp. All are welcome, cost is by donation, $0-$100. Contact Dana for more information or call 509-997-9011.  

Christmas Bird Count: The North Central Washington Chapter of the Audubon Society, a four-county region, hosts six separate bird counts.  Get all the info here:

Job Opening at Chelan-Douglas Land Trust:  The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust is hiring a Director of Philanthropy to help lead their growing and successful land conservation organization. The Director of Philanthropy will play a leadership role and oversees all aspects of fundraising for annual operations, special programs, and long-term financial security.  You can find the full job description and more details here:

Check out a full calendar of Methow Valley community events here.

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*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