The Methow Conservancy, in Washington State's Methow Valley
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April 2007 ENews

Grizzly BearFirst Tuesday Program: Bears in the North Cascades
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River Pub.  Join Chris Morgan and Dennis Ryan from the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project (GBOP) as they take us on a journey into the North Cascades in search of elusive grizzly bears.  Learn more about the status of grizzly bears and black bears regionally and worldwide, and the health of an ecosystem as it relates to its bear population.  Bear tracks, skulls and other cool stuff will be on hand!

The pub will open at 6 p.m. for program attendees.  Free and open to everyone as always! For more information contact Mary at 996-2870 or info@methowconservancy.org

Frogs, Toads and Salamanders – Help with a Spring Survey Now
This spring we are working again with local amphibian expert, Julie Grialou, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct amphibian surveys in the Methow Valley. The intent this year is to follow-up on last year's pilot study, conducting a more detailed study this year and in subsequent years.  Volunteers are needed to search ponds around the valley for toads, frogs and salamanders.  The training for the survey will take place on Saturday, April 21st from 9:00 to 3:30.  All volunteers will be trained in basic amphibian identification, survey technique and methodology, and will receive identification materials and a calling CD.  Sites will be chosen at the training, and immediately after the training (late April to very early May) you should conduct the first daytime visit and the evening visit.  In the end of May or early June, you'll need to conduct the other daytime visit.  You will work in pairs, or small groups of 3-4 if you have a large site, so grab a friend now if you want!  Please contact Mary at 996-2870 or info@methowconservancy.org if you are interested or want more information.

60th Conservation Easement Recorded
Thanks to Ron Quist and Carolyn Reynaud, we recorded our 60th conservation easement in early March, taking the amount of private land we’ve permanently protected to 5,158 acres.  The six-acre easement is on an undeveloped prominent knoll between Winthrop and Twisp along Highway 20 and protects shrub-steppe habitat, open space and scenic values by prohibiting development of any kind.  We thank Ron and Carolyn for their commitment to helping maintain the natural and rural character of the Valley!

Board Auction Was Anything But Boring
Wow!  Here’s a huge round of applause to our Board of Directors and all of you who participated in our first-ever Board Auction.  From March 20- 28th, on the Methownet.com online bulletin board, our Board members auctioned off their impressive and unique expertise and experience to raise funds for the Methow Conservancy's conservation work.  Ten items were offered, and we raised $3,310 which pushed us over the top of our fundraising goal for the 06-07 fiscal year.  Thanks for making the auction fun and exciting and for supporting our work to care for the land of the Methow Valley!  With this kind of success we will likely hold another auction next year and perhaps expand it to include items outside of our Board members.  Feel free to share any ideas with us!

Special note:  As you may have seen in our Board Auction, Jane Gilbertsen is again on our Board of Directors.  Jane served on the Board for six years, then took last year off as our bylaws require.  Jane rejoins the Board team on April 1st and we are grateful to have her!  

Honoring Ann Lennartz
The Methow lost a great steward and friend last year when Ann Lennartz passed away on September 6.  Ann loved native plants but even more so she Ann Lennartzloved to help others see, touch and connect with nature through native plants and restored land.  She was a kind and generous person who cared deeply about, and was actively involved in, many issues including habitat restoration, environmental education, and land-management.  As the driving force behind the Starflower Foundation in Seattle, as well as several other philanthropic endeavors, Ann was committed to restoring native plant landscapes, focusing her time and energies on Pacific Northwest native plants and wildlife.  

Born and raised in Iowa, Ann was inspired by prairie restoration in the Great Plains.  Here in the Methow, Ann worked tirelessly for 20+ years to restore vast areas of old grazing lands, including her 237 acres in the upper Rendezvous.  She generously supported conservation and native plant work in the Valley by assisting with many efforts, including the Methow Conservancy's 1st Conservation Course and Shrub-Steppe Restoration Handbook, as well as helping jump-start the Recycling Center and the native plant demonstration garden at Methow Natives. 

photo by Dennis O'CallaghanAnn's legacy of healthy native plant communities is more than a compilation of treasured places.  She gave us great hope and touched thousands of people by providing thoughtful education about conservation and restoration, and by protecting natural places and restoring landscapes that will speak to us deeply for many generations to come.

Ann generously recognized the Methow Conservancy in her will.  We are humbled and inspired by her trust in us and look forward to caring for all the landscapes she found so dear. 

(some information for this article was taken from Heidi Bohan's memorial published in Douglasia)

Enjoying the Wide World of the Methow
Anytime of the year if a great time to be outside in the Methow, but Spring is especially beautiful and invigorating.  Join us on an outing or field workshop!  Contact Mary at 996-2870 or info@methowconservancy.org to register or to ask questions.  Stay tuned for more activities through the summer!

A River’s Meanderings
Saturday, May 5th, 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.  $75 (limit 15 participants)
(This workshop is full, but the date is subject to change if river levels are not safe, so get on the wait list if you’d like.) Join Jenny Molesworth, Fisheries Biologist; Scott Waichler, Hydrologist; and Darrell Sofield, Geomorphologist, for an on-the-water exploration of the Methow River.  Learn about salmon migrations, riparian ecology, river dynamics, local hydrology and wildlife.  PFDs and catered lunch provided. 

The Beauty of Spring in the Shrub-Steppe ~ A FREE Methow Conservancy and Native Plant Society field trip Saturday, May 12th from 8:00 – 12:00
Celebrate spring wildflowers and Migratory Bird Day with a guided hike through a 232-acre conservation easement property in Twisp. Native Plant Society, Okanogan Chapter President, Denny O’Callaghan, will help us appreciate the wonders of spring in high-quality shrub-steppe as we search out colorful wildflowers and melodious songbirds.  This property is one the largest private holdings in single ownership in the Twisp River Valley, and is surrounded by public land on three sides.  Together, this vast protected area provides important foraging habitat, migration corridors, and shelter for birds and wildlife.

Due to the remote nature of the property and parking issues, we will meet in Twisp and carpool to the site.  Registration is free but limited, please call.

Forest Health and Wildlife: A Class for Fledgling Forest Stewards
Sunday, May 20th, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Mazama.  $40 (limit 30 participants) Connie Mehmel, Entomologist, and Kent Woodruff, Wildlife Biologist, will share the wonders and complexities of forest ecology, wildlife and birds.  Learn how to manage a safe and healthy wildlife-rich forest from two of the Methow’s most knowledgeable and fascinating forest experts!  Acquire a better understanding of the biological relationships within the forest ecosystem.  We will hold as much of the class as possible outside.  Co-sponsored by the Methow Forest Owner's Cooperative. Catered lunch and drinks provided. 
 
Balsamroot to Bunchgrass, Serviceberry to Saxifrage:  Plant Identification through Keying Workshop
June 9th & 10th, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., $30/day (sign up for one or both days). 
Work with botanist and naturalist, Dana Visalli, in this unique, hands-on, educational workshop.  On Saturday, learn the basics of how to recognize families and “key” out and identify any plant.  On Sunday focus on the really challenging and fun ones: grasses, sedges and willows. Sign up for one or both days.  Sunday can be taken alone only if you already know how to key plants.  Limit 10 people/day.  Dana will provide hand lens and scopes, plants and keying books.  He is a fabulous instructor.  If you want to know more about wildflowers and plants, this is the class for you!  Bring a lunch. 

A Bike Ride Susie Would Have Enjoyed
On a sunny, spring-like March 21st, fourteen folks came out to honor our friend and former Development Director, Susie Stephens.  Susie was an avid cyclist.  In March, 2002 she was tragically hit and killed by a bus.  We honor her every year with this ride, and remind ourselves of the many benefits (and joys) of riding a bike.

The 2007 Susie Bike Ride Crew

Riparian Repairing
The Methow Conservancy will embark on a new project this summer in conjunction with Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation (MSRF), Methow Natives, and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR).  In 2006, these groups, together, applied for and received $200,000 per year for each of the next three years (2007-2009) from the Bonneville Power Association to identify, Riparian area with no vegetation.prioritize, and implement riparian habitat restoration projects along the Methow, Chewuch, and Twisp rivers.  These projects aim to restore habitat characteristics important to the recovery of threatened, endangered, and sensitive (TES) species including spring Chinook salmon, summer steelhead, and bull trout. 

Beginning this summer, Methow Conservancy Stewardship Director, Steve Bondi, will coordinate with the partners mentioned above on projects along the shorelines of the Methow and Twisp Rivers.  Many of these projects will be on Conservancy conservation easements and are designed to enhance the Conservation Values protected by the easement agreements.  Each project will include a restoration plan, an implementation timeline, and a monitoring commitment that will ensure the best use of the grant dollars and the best possible project outcome.

Please contact Stewardship Director Steve Bondi with any questions or comments regarding this project.  Watch for volunteer opportunities associated with these projects in 2007, 2008, and 2009. 

Funding For Methow Valley Farmland – Thank You!
Thanks to each of you who took the time to write or e-mail your State Senator and Representatives to urge their support of $100M for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP).  It worked!
Methow farmland, photo by Mary Kiesau

With your support and the work of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, both the House and Senate have announced the inclusion of $100M in their proposed budgets to support 135 wildlife habitat, recreation and farmland preservation projects throughout the State of Washington. 

Okanogan County, in partnership with the Methow Conservancy, will receive funding from the WWRP to protect farmland here in the Methow Valley.  Additional funding for the WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife and State Parks will further improve the quality of life in the Methow Valley for future generations.

This funding represents an important investment in the future of the Methow Valley and the quality of life throughout our State.  Please take a moment to contact your Senator and Representatives again to thank them for their support.

Click here for a complete list of the projects slated for funding throughout the Methow Valley and the State as a whole.

Wenner Lakes

Protecting the Wenner Lakes Preserve
As posted in last month’s E-News, the Methow Conservancy is looking for a “conservation buyer” for the Wenner Lakes Preserve. In order to permanently protect the high-quality wildlife corridor and riparian habitat on the Preserve, the property will be sold subject to a conservation easement limiting all future development to one three-acre area.  See the Wenner Lakes page for additional photos and information.

News from Other Organizations
Our neighbors on the other side of the county, the Okanogan Valley Land Council, recently published, “The Legacy of Stewardship: A Landowner’s Guide to the Okanogan.”  Modeled after the Methow Conservancy’s Good Neighbor Handbook, this land stewardship handbook is a practical resource on land management and conservation for rural landowners in the Okanogan Valley.  The 32-page, illustrated handbook is free and available by calling 509-486-2765 or emailing info@ovlandcouncil.org.  We congratulate the OVLC on offering this educational tool!

The North Cascades Institute’s Spring/Summer 2007 catalog of seminars recently arrived, and there are some great Methow-based classes being offered.  Browse through all the classes at http://www.ncascades.org

The Partnership for a Sustainable Methow (PSM) is launching its own electronic communication system to help publicize events they are planning this year as a part of their “Sustainability Series.”  If you’d like to get on their email list, contact Sandi at sandi@sustainablemethow.net

Events
Below, you'll find announcements about events or publications (ours and those of other organizations) that we think you might find interesting.

  •  April 10th: Celebrate Classroom in Bloom, the public schoolyard garden, with a meal of local, wild foods, a glass of Twisp River beer or Lost River Wine and an inspiring documentary. This event is open to all with a $5-20 sliding scale entry fee. The documentary My Father’s Garden, is a poignant story of two farmers who have seen and felt the effects of farming with chemicals and farming organically.  Classroom in Bloom will also be honoring the school chefs for their commitment to making a difference in the health and wellness of our youth. Doors open at the Twisp River Pub at 5:30pm with dinner served around 6pm.

  •   April 19th: The Future of Renewable Energy Sources, panel discussion with regional experts on solar, wind, biomass, and hydropower. 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at the Chelan County PUD Headquarters Auditorium, Wenatchee. Sponsored by the Barn Beach Reserve and the Tierra Learning Center. Admission is $5.00 for adults; free for K-12 students and teachers with ID.  Phone 509-548-7480 (BBR) for more information.

  •   April 21st: Amphibian Survey Training - This spring, volunteer to help us search ponds around the valley for toads, frogs and salamanders.

  • April 21st: Earth Day Celebration at Pearrygin State Park.  8:00 – Noon.  Park Ranger, David McWalter has lots of great activities planned, and a BBQ will be held at Noon were the Methow Conservancy Board President, Dave Sabold will give a talk about Earth Day and conservation in the Valley.  Call 996-2370.

  • April 25th: Book club discusses Living on the Wind, Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds by Scott Wiedensal 6:00-7:30 at the Methow Conservancy office. For more information and upcoming books see our Book Club page.

  • May 1st:  First Tuesday ProgramFire in the Methow: The Evolution of Fire Management Policy and A Memorial to Fallen Fire Fighters 7:00 - 8:30 pm at the Twisp River Pub (pub opens at 6pm for program attendees).  Forest fire experts, Bill Moody and Tom Leuschen, will give a presentation on the history of wildfires, forest conditions, and fire management in the Methow, including how major policy changes have played out.  Tom will also provide an update on the Memorial to fallen firefighters that will be in the Winthrop Park.  Join us for this important and educational evening! 

  • May 18-20th:  Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest 2007.  A celebration enjoying birdsong and exploring the natural world.  For more details, visit http://www.leavenworthspringbirdfest.com

  • June 5th:  First Tuesday ProgramBats of the Pacific Northwest
    Tuesday, June 5th, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.  Location TBA.  Free.  Contact the Methow Conservancy at 996-2870 or info@methowconservancy.org for more info.


  • June 9-13th:  Methow River Camp - an adventure-ecology camp for kids ages 10-13, taught by 4 local Methow Valley naturalists.  $300.  Contact Dana Visalli at dana@methownet.com or 997-9011.

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