December Enews
Photo by Jason Paulsen

December Enews

Caucasus Tom Allen
Photo by Tom Allen

December Special Presentation: Building a Trail Across the Caucasus

Tuesday, December 3rd, 7–8pm,
Venue: Mazama Community Center
Free, no RSVP required

The Transcaucasian Trail (TCT) is quickly becoming one of the world's great hikes. It will be the first long-distance hiking trail across the Caucasus Mountains, connecting the national parks of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Paul Stephens, the founder of the project, will tell us how he started it, why it's so important, and why you should be hiking it as soon as possible!

Dec poster 2019

Four Thoughts – A Holiday Community Dinner

Friday, December 6th, 5:30–8pm,
Venue: Winthrop Barn
Free, but seating is limited, so tickets are required!

We are mixing it up this year and trying something new for our usual December First Tuesday and Holiday Gathering. On Friday, December 6th, we’ll host our first-ever Four-Thoughts: A Holiday Community Dinner in The Winthrop Barn.

During dinner, we’ll take an opportunity to honor conservation leaders in the community with our annual awards. Following the community dinner, we’ll turn the program over to four of the Methow Valley’s finest thought leaders:

  • Katharine Bill - conservationist, adventurer, writer, parent
  • Mark Miller - Methow Descendant
  • Vic Stokes - 4th generation rancher up Beaver Creek
  • Johnnie Duguay - land steward, part-time sheep herder, Methow grown

Each speaker will inspire us with their 8-minute ruminations on the theme for the night: Caring for the Land.

While dinner is free of charge, seating is limited and registration is required. As of today, we are almost sold out of tickets. Please email Sarah or call Sarah at 509-996-2870 to see if we have tickets left of if you want to get on the waitlist.

Dark Sky photo Ryan Bell
Photo by Ryan T. Bell

Learn with Us!

We know December gets busy, but we hope you'll join us for some great upcoming learning opportunities:

To get all the details on these events (and more!) and for information on registering, check out our Events page here.

Food Prep Alyssa Jumars
Photo by Alyssa Jumars


As the snow begins to blanket the Valley, we're looking forward to giving our hard-working, on-the-ground volunteers a bit of a rest from Methow Conservancy weed pulling, barb wire removing, and general land restoring. We still, however, need some indoor help for our big event on December 6th (just follow the links to sign up).

And, it's a good time to remember that volunteering is good for your health and for the community all year long, so if you need ideas for how to keep the volunteer momentum going, check out the Volunteer Methow website and share you time and talents with any of the Methow Valley's awesome nonprofit organizations.

Methow Mixer Daniel
Photo by Daniel Senner

Mixing and Trying to Mingle!

We sure appreciate the patience of the more than 200 people who showed up for the Methow Mixer this year in Seattle. That's right -- 200 people! That's pretty much double the number we've EVER had at a Methow Mixer, and exactly why the room we rented looked like this photo and why the mingling was harder to do than usual!

The delicious cookies from the Mazama Store (thank you, LeDuc Family) were devoured before the ever-entertaining Don Portman took the floor to regale us all with stories about the formation and development of cross-country skiing in the Methow Valley. Don's 35mm slideshow (yes, there was a young person in the room who had never seen a slide carousel!) featured some excellent fashions from the mid 80's and a few standout reminders about just how special this Valley is. It's pretty amazing to think about a winter economy based on a trail system that travels through private property.

Thanks to Don for sharing his stories and to all who attended. Our apologies to those who had to stand or sit in the hallway or who couldn't find a space. We'll get a bigger venue next year, for sure!

2017 07 21 Mc Farland Lamb Ranch 8387 Weymuller
Photo by Rachelle Weymuller

From the Farm: Holiday Gift Ideas

Even though farms of the Methow Valley have been “put to bed” for the snowy season, there are many ways you can still support local farms and ranches during the holidays!

  • DIY Gift Basket– Many farm products are still readily available at the valley’s grocery stores and gift shops, or directly from the farm: including pasture-raised meats, grains and flours, cheeses, milk, apples, pears, root vegetables, garlic braids, hard ciders, honey, sauerkrauts and chile sauces, yarns, wool hats and blankets – just to name a few! To learn more about farms and their products, visit the Methow Grown website.
  • Produce or Meat “Shares” – Give someone the gift of fresh produce next season! Several vegetable farms offer weekly produce box subscriptions during the summer and fall, and welcome folks to sign up in winter or spring. Consider purchasing a gift certificate from one of your favorite farms at the Methow Valley Farmers Market, or give the gift of a “share” of locally-raised beef, pork, or lamb. For ideas and more info, visit the Methow Grown website.
  • Dine Out– Join family and friends to savor a delicious meal made with locally-sourced ingredients at the Arrowleaf Bistro, Glover Street Market, or The Mazama Store.
  • Shop the Bazaars – There are several opportunities to shop for locally-crafted foods and gifts:
    • Twisp Bazaar: Saturday, Dec. 7th9am-3pm at the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp.
    • Winthrop Bazaar: Saturday, Dec. 14th 9am-4pm at the Winthrop Red Barn.
    • Methow Made Holiday Gift Emporium: ongoing from Dec. 6th thru the end of the month. M-F 11am-6pm; Sat&Sun 11am-3pm at the TwispWorks Campus.
  • Donate – A gift made in someone’s honor to the Methow Conservancy’s Agriculture Program will go a long way to ensuring a vibrant future for small farms here.
Winter snow JP
Photo by Jason Paulsen

Brrr. Dive Into Winter With Us!

This winter we will be keeping up our time-honored tradition of 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 dirt on soil health, 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 how life thrives in our coldest months, by shoveling into the different roles that both biotic and abiotic processes play in the Methow’s winter ecosystem. Over the course of four evening seminars, we’ll learn about chlorophyll, endotherms, hoarfrost, and a variety of seasonal strategies to make it through the winter.

The seminar series will meet February 24th through March 16th, from 6-8pm on Monday evenings. Topics covered will include snow science, photosynthesizing organisms, mammals in winter, and human interactions past and present with winter.

The price for the course is $95, or $30 per class; location TBD. If you have questions or want to register, just contact us!

Photo by Lidija Kamansky

The Art of Photography and Barns

Thursday, December 5th, 4 – 7pm,
Venue: Methow Arts, northeast corner of Glover Street and 2nd Avenue in Twisp

We're excited to partner with Methow Arts to present a photographic exhibition called “The Historic Barns of the Methow Valley.” The exhibition runs December 5th - February 5th and features the work of participants from last summer’s photography workshop, led by National Geographic Explorer Ryan T. Bell.

The exhibit premiers during the Town of Twisp’s annual shopping night Mistletoe Madness (December 5, 4:00 – 7:00 pm). There you can see amazing photographs of historic barns from around the Valley, taken by people that you most likely know. In addition, if you are looking to buy a gift for that Methow Valley enthusiast in your family, prints of the photos will be on sale with proceeds benefiting the local artists and future exhibits at Methow Arts.

After the Holidays, we’ll host an special exhibit reception on January 9, from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m at the Methow Arts building in Twisp. Meet the photographers and landowners who brought these images to life, and speak with representatives from Methow Arts, the Methow Conservancy, and the Shafer Historical Museum to learn about the artistic legacy of agriculture in the Methow Valley. For more information about this event contact:

Trevin selfie small size
Photo by Trevin Leon

Nature Observations with Trevin Leon

We're excited to add a new feature to our monthly Enews. Each month we plan to feature a local photograph taken by Winthrop resident Trevin Leon.

Trevin moved to the Methow Valley from Everett three years ago with his family. We first met Trevin then when his teacher, Adrian Chavey, shared some of his incredible nature photography with us. Since then, Trevin has taken many workshops and field classes with us and he often stops by the office to share a great photo. He recently wrote to us saying "I enjoy spending time outdoors taking photos, hiking, and studying animals and nature. Conservation is very important to me and I like to help conserve natural habitats for animals." We thought it would be really neat to share with all of you some of the interesting things Trevin sees in the Methow as he walks about.

Ant on eggs
by Trevin Leon

His first entry is this up-close image he took of an ant on some eggs. He captured this with a special lens on his cellphone near the Spring Creek Bridge in Winthrop. Amazing!

School Yard Science November
The Great Migration Outdoor Obstacle Course

Schoolyard Science – Making it Through Winter

November is always one of our favorite School Yard Science months. The 4th graders at Methow Valley Elementary are studying "how the world works" and we introduce a series of questions about how their school yard animals might make it through the cold, energy-draining winter months. We talk about how some school yard animals just go to sleep (hibernate), while others tough it out (adapt), and some get outta here (migrate).

We experimented with getting 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 realized 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 on snowshoes!!

Mary morgan reading

December Reading List

We thought you might be interested in seeing what we’ve been reading lately. 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.

Anchorage Daily News: Tracks in the Snow Can Tell Amazing Stories - If you’re like me, the quick transition from sunny and 50 degrees to several inches of snow caught you by surprise. While nostalgia for those snow free days may linger for the next week, reading a short piece like this can adjust your attitude and help you remember that we are lucky to live in this dynamic place of two worlds where entirely different things are possible in each.

The Washington Post: The Climate Chain Reaction That Threatens the Heart of the Pacific - It’s not just the Pacific Coast of the United States that is reeling from huge declines in its salmon population. Japan is going through a similar, if not more dramatic, decline of its salmon populations and salmon culture. Unlike here, where a myriad of factors are driving down our populations, in Japan it is almost directly tied to the loss of sea ice in the heart of the Sea of Okhotsk. While this is good news for no one, we can take solace in the fact that there is another culture just as committed to saving the salmon as we are.

New York Times: Engineered Wood Tower Construction - There is a new trend among successful companies in Silicon Valley, Portland, and Europe. Forget steel and concrete, these companies are starting to build their new buildings out of wood. Driven in part by the lower greenhouse gas emissions given off by timber but also out of aesthetic considerations, lumber is the new building material of choice. Given that a company in Spokane just built one the largest cross laminate timber plants in the country, this trend is likely to have a large influence on forests in our neck of the woods.

Audubon Magazine: The World’s Top Natural History Museums Have a Male Bird Bias - It turns out that women are not just under represented as scientists, but as scientific subjects as well. This not only raises interesting questions about the manifestations of gender bias, but causes real issues when scientists try to use those specimens for understanding the biological norms for species or conducting genetic research.

New York Times: Hibernation Works for Bears. Could it Work for Us, Too? - Hibernation is amazing. Bears go through a number of physiological phenomena that if replicated by a human would give them serious health issues. Research coming out of Washington State University is starting to uncover how bears are able to stay healthy through these large seasonal fluctuations and its applications for humans are getting noticed by powerful parties.

Happy Holidays and New Year from all of us at the Methow Conservancy! May winter bring many great Methow adventures!

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