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Era of Megafires

Friday, April 6 at 5:00 pm

Okanogan Highlands Alliance (OHA), North 40 Productions, and the US Forest Service (along with additional supporting partners) are pleased to bring The Era of Megafires to Tonasket as part of the Highland Wonders educational series.

The Era of Megafires is a 60-minute, multimedia presentation featuring Dr. Paul Hessburg, a research landscape ecologist with the US Forest Service Pacifi c Northwest (PNW) Research Station. In this multi-media presentation, Hessburg explains that over the past decade, the number of large, severe wildfires has been on the rise. These megafi res are wildfires that burn more than 100,000 acres; they can destroy or severely damage human communities, wildlife habitat, and natural resources. This special presentation conveys the conditions that lead to megafi res and how they might be managed or mitigated.

Hessburg’s work has been published extensively in leading scientific journals over the past 30 years, but recently he’s felt a tug to take his findings public. The impetus stems from how favorite forests near his home in Central Washington had been ravaged by large and atypical wildfi res. One of those fi res, The Carlton Complex Fire, became the biggest megafi re (one larger than 100,000 acres) in state history when it burned 256,000 acres and destroyed 322 homes. A year later in 2015, his hometown of Wenatchee lost 30 upscale homes and several warehouses in the Sleepy Hollow Fire. The narrative draws from Hessburg’s research over recent decades, explores the use of several tools, and discusses the trade-off between wild and prescribed fire smoke.

“A future without wildfire isn’t an option,” Hessburg says. “So, what kind of future do we want for our forests? The goal of this project is to share a vocabulary and increase the understanding and ability of ordinary citizens so that they can enter into local discussions and planning for a more certain future for our forestlands.”

When: Friday, April 6. 5:00 pm: Dinner benefi ting the Community Cultural Center (CCC). 6:00 pm: Reception with tea, coff ee, and desserts, 6:30 pm: Presentation. Program is free; dinner is $8 for CCC members and $9 for non-members; hot drinks and desserts by donation (benefi t for the CCC). At the Community Cultural Center of Tonasket, 411 S Western Ave.

Bird Walks
Join Mary Kiesau, the Methow Conservancy’s Educational Programs Director, on a casual natural history “walk and talk” to see and learn what is happening in the natural world of the Methow. We’ll look for and discuss birds and plants on all the walks but generally the morning walks focus on birds.

These outings are perfect for people of all ages and levels of knowledge - no experience required! Children who are able to walk on uneven ground for two+ hours are welcome to attend with a chaperone. We’ll go to a different location on each walk, and the days and times change to attempt to accommodate a variety of schedules. Mary will email attendees about 5 days before each walk with where to meet.

These mini-classes are free but space is limited so registration is required. Contact us for more details or to reserve your spot at mary@methowconservancy.org or 509-996-2870. No dogs please.

Thursday, April 19, 8:30-10:30am
Tuesday, May 1, 8:00-10:00am
Wednesday, May 9, 8:00-10:00am
Tuesday, May 29, 7:00-9:00am

Nature Journaling Classes in the Methow Valley
The Methow Conservancy’s Mary Kiesau and Twisp artist and teacher Perri Howard are teaming up to off er another round of nature journaling classes. The spring series is titled “Nature Drawing Near and Far,” Each class will combine both close-up and distance drawing.

Each class will begin with about an hour walking in and exploring the outdoors with a casual naturalist lesson with Mary. Then we’ll transition to drawing practice with Perri, either outside (if the weather is nice) or in Perri’s studio at TwispWorks. All materials, including pens, pencils, and paper will be included, but feel free to bring your own materials if you’d like. No experience is necessary.

Themed classes will be Friday afternoons, 12:30 pm-5:00 pm - April 6: Mountains, Clouds & Rivers, April 20: Leaves & Trees, May 4: Spring Flowers, and May 25: Songbirds. Classes are $65 each or $240 for the whole series. Space is limited to ten people per class. Details will be sent before each class with where to meet. Contact Mary at 996-2870 or mary@methowconservancy.org for more details or to register.

Native Plant Society Walks

Sam Hill Wildflower Walk, Saturday, April 21

Don’t miss this! See the wildfl owers at the Land Trust’s Sam Hill property, just inside Icicle Canyon near Leavenworth. This property is unique and hosts a variety of beautiful and interesting plants. Join CDLT board member Jack Mynatt and Washington Native Plant Society Members Don and Ann Schaechtel. This is a joint Washington Native Plant Society and Land Trust event. Even though the mileage is short, the terrain is rugged. Wear hiking boots, bring water and snacks, and dress for the weather. There will be a twelve-person limit for this outing. Meeting location and directions will be emailed to participants prior to the event. This hike is open to Land Trust and Native Plant Society Members. Please call 667-9708 or email hillary@cdlandtrust.org to register.

Wildflower Hike at Jacobson Preserve, Thursday, April 26

Celebrate the beauty of springtime during Native Plant Appreciation Week! Join us for a weeknight wildfl ower walk at Jacobson Preserve, led by Wenatchee Naturalist and CDLT Membership & Education Coordinator Hillary Clark. We will explore what’s blooming and learn about what we can do to encourage native plants in our area. This is a joint Wenatchee Valley Native Plant Society and CDLT event. It will go from 5:30 to 7 pm. Please RSVP online, or call or email Hillary with any questions (hillary@cdlandtrust.org, 667-9708).

Quincy Area Wildflower Walk, Friday, April 27

A chance to explore the spring bloomers at either the Beezley Hills or Babcock Bench. The fi nal location will be decided prior to the trip based on the best blooms. We will explore early blooms in the shallow lithosols mixed in with deep-soiled sagebrush biscuits near Quincy. Meet at the East Wenatchee Park and Ride at 10:00 am to carpool. We can pick up additional folks at the rest area west of Quincy. To join this trip, contact Molly Boyter at mboyter@blm.gov or 665-2137.

Lower Crab Creek and Sentinel Dunes Exploration, May 4

Please note, a Discover Pass or Vehicle Access Pass is required for the fi rst half of this trip. We will spend the fi rst half of the trip with Nick Bechtold, Assistant Manager of WDFW’s Columbia Basin Wildlife Area, along lower Crab Creek which is east of Beverly. Nick will tell us about how the agency manages the Wildlife Area, the important riparian habitats in Lower Crab Creek, and the challenges of managing wildlife habitat within a large federal irrigation project. After lunch we will drive around to the western end of the Saddle Mountains to the Sentinel Gap dunes. On our sandy hike we will see sand-loving species such as white sand verbena (Abronia mellifera), and lots of pale eveningprimrose (Oenothera pallida). Meet at the East Wenatchee Park and Ride at 8:00 am to carpool. We can pick up additional folks at the Sand Hollow Recreation Area on highway 243. To join this trip, contact Molly Boyter at mboyter@blm.gov or 665-2137.

Bird Walks at Beebe Springs

Come join us for Citizen Science bird walks at Beebe Springs Natural Area on the first and third Wednesdays each month. Beginners and advanced birders are welcome!

This is an interesting and important time to contribute to the knowledge of bird populations at Beebe, given the burns that occurred on surrounding hillsides last summer, the recent completion of a new fishing pond, and the newly permanent beaver pond and resultant wetlands.

Saturday, May 12, 7:30 to 10:00. This is a lively time at Beebe Springs Natural Area, with likely Bullock's Orioles, Western Tanagers, Yellow Warblers, Warbling Vireo, Canyon Wren, Osprey, Spotted Sandpipers and others! Beebe Springs is just north of Beebe Bridge on Hwy 97A; parking requires a Discover Pass. The walk is an easy 1 1/2 to 2 miles on gravel paths, for beginners to advanced birders. Please contact Virginia Palumbo at vwpalumbo@gmail.com or 509-682-5969. Limit 10.

The data we collect is used by Ron Fox, the District 7 Wildlife Area Manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, for grant applications and site assessment. Please contact Virginia Palumbo for the start time (which varies as the seasons change) at vwpalumbo@gmail.com or 682-5969. Discover Pass required for parking.

Bird Survey Opportunities

Beebe Springs

Beebe Springs has re-opened, and the citizen science bird surveys are resuming on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month! Come for a leisurely 1 1/2 mile walk to see spring migrants, waterfowl and riparian/wetlands species. Contact Virginia at vwpalumbo@gmail.com for start times and details.

For a map of Beebe Springs' location, cick here.

Surveys occur on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month, with start times variable with the season. E-mail Virginia at vwpalumbo@gmail.com for start times and to confirm attendance.

Walla Walla Park and Horan Natural Area

Beginning in 2011, Susan Ballinger has led monthly bird monitoring walks on Wednesdays, and records species at two point count stations and along a one-mile loop in the Horan Area. A protocol is followed and data is entered into e-bird. Dates are listed on the Chelan-Doulgas Land Trust wesite at: https://www.cdlandtrust.org/whats-new. Outings are free and open to all. Contact Susan directly to learn more at skylinebal@gmail.com.

To see a map of the location of Walla Walla Park, click here.

One question the project seeks to answer is: How has the de-watering of open water ponds in Horan Nature Area changed the observed use by bird species, especially shorebirds and waterfowl?

Email Susan to learn more: skylinebal@gmail.com