Natural History Events in the Methow Valley

First Tuesday Lectures
Some of our
First Tuesday lectures were recorded to video.
Click here to see.

The Methow Conservancy sponsors a monthly “First Tuesday Lecture Series”. The lectures provide a forum to learn about the Methow Valley’s natural characteristics and natural resource issues. Generally "First Tuesday" Lectures are held on the first Tuesday of the month. The place varies so please check each event for the location. All First Tuesday Lectures are free and open to everyone. For more information contact Mary at 996-2870 or

First Tuesday Lectures Coming Up:

February 28th (note: a week early): “The Era of Megafires“, a multi-media presentation lead by Dr. Paul Hessburg, 7:00-8:30pm, free, at the Methow Valley Community Center, Twisp.2014 Carlton Complex. Photo by Jason Paulsen.

“Megafires", wildfires over 100,000 acres, and the destruction caused by them is a serious and growing issue to our region. Our communities, homes, businesses and our very way of life are threatened. If we are going to make effective progress towards increasing fire resiliency, we must increase awareness and stimulate conversation about this important issue across all levels of society. Through education, we firmly believe we can change the way we receive fire and smoke.”

This is the message of “The Wildfire Project,” a 60-minute, multi-media, presentation hosted by Dr. Paul Hessburg. The program is a mixture of fast-moving, short, topic-based talks, and compelling video vignettes. Think TedX mixed with snappy documentary shorts and amazing photography. The videos were created by award-winning documentary film company, North 40 Productions, and the local and regional photography is by John Marshall, both from Wenatchee. Coupling Paul Hessburg’s experience in this arena with savvy media will inform, engage and inspire audiences,

Dr. Paul Hessburg is with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, in Wenatchee, WA, and the University of Washington, Seattle, where he has conducted fire and landscape ecology research for more than 27 years.

The program is free and open to everyone.  The doors open at 6:30pm.  For more information, contact 996-2870 or

April 11th (note: 2nd Tuesday!): “Alchemy of Herbs" with local herbalist Rosalee de la Foret, 7:00-8:30pm, free, location TBA.

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

Other Methow Conservancy Events

March 20th: Methow Conservancy Spring Equinox Walk.  Join us for a free walk to see what’s sprouting on the first day of Spring!  3:00 – 5:00pm, free but space is limited.  Contact Mary at or 509-996-2870 to register.  Stay tuned for more spring walk dates soon!

April 15th: Wildlife Tracking Intensive (first of six sessions). Join local wildlife tracker and educator Nate Bacon for a six month wildlife tracking series that will meet one day per month from April through September. Explore the lives, behavior, and ecology of local wildlife through the art of track and sign identification and interpretation.

This series will be an excellent follow-up to our Conservation Course, “The Life and Times of Methow Mammals” and will also be designed to support the learning process for those who wish to participate in the Wildlife Tracking Certificate Courses we regularly offer (there’s one planned for October 7-8). 

Cougar Track, photo  by Scott FitkinBoth beginning trackers and seasoned veterans are welcome and encouraged to attend as there will be plenty of opportunity to learn from and with each other. The course will be structured to include plenty of field time for direct learning, but will also focus on the process of learning how to learn the various dimensions of wildlife tracking. Course content will provide not only lots of “dirt time,” but will also include explorations of the fundamentals of wildlife tracking skill and knowledge, including animal behavior, ecological tracking, gaits and locomotion, the aging of tracks, foot morphology, and trailing (actually following the tracks of animals). We will also give our attention to practices that support the development of these skills such as nature awareness and developing good study techniques to take advantage of the wealth of resources available to wildlife trackers today.

The series will take place at various field locations throughout the Methow and will be a great opportunity to explore the wonders of this valley including protected conservation easements.  The course will meet from 8:30am to 4pm on April 15, May 13, June 10, July 8, August 19, and September 9.  Tuition is $450*.  Space in the course is limited to 12 people.  Contact Mary at or 509-996-2870 for questions or to register.

April 22nd: Earthday Spring Clean-up Event for Pearrygin Lake State Park.  Volunteers needed to pile debris and spruce up the trails and park.  We’ll BBQ afterwards and you can take a short spring hike on the trails afterwards.  Please join us – we’ll need lots of helpers!

June 1st – 4th: Methow Conservancy Spring Naturalists’ Retreat.   The Naturalists’ Retreat is an annual celebration of the Methow Valley in springtime! Come spend a long weekend with us where we’ll enjoy beautiful days in the field and engage in presentations and group dinners in the evenings. With guidance from naturalist instructors Libby Mills, Dana Visalli and Mary Kiesau you will be amazed by all that you learn and soak up in this fantastic nature and educational experience!  Participants should be willing and able to take part in the entire retreat including two evenings and three days. Participants should be in good physical condition, able to complete moderate hikes and spend 6+ hours in the field. Free tent camping is available at Dana’s property along the Methow River near Twisp, or you can make your own lodging arrangements. The class is limited to 20 people and costs $200*/person, including one catered dinner. To register or for more information, contact Mary at 509-996-2870 or

October 7-8th:  Wildlife Track & Sign Certification Class, $200*.  Spend two full days in the field with professional wildlife tracker, naturalist and educator, David Moskowitz.  David's approach is highly interactive, with "test" questions starting the moment we meet-up. David actively engages participants in identification and interpretation of tracks and signs, and builds in lots of time for questions and discussion too.  This style is an excellent way to learn and investigate, with the goal being to attain a wildlife tracking certificate through Cybertracker Conservation.  Certificates are awarded on three levels. The whole experience is a lot of fun to boot!  The class is limited to 11 people, and costs $200* per person. Lodging and food are on you own. Contact Mary to register at 509-996-2870 or

News from Other Organizations
The Okanogan Conservation District in collaboration with TwispWorks present Fire Resistant Construction: A Methow Skills for Small Business Workshop for Builders, Designers and Architects.  March 1, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Free.  Get details on the latest research into how homes ignite in wildfire events from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety and the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service. Review Firewise best practices for home siting, excavation, and construction, and Representatives from manufacturers of products specifically designed to reduce home ignitions will be available to answer questions.  This workshop is presented free of charge but registration is required and seating is limited to 20 participants.  Learn more and sign up here.

The Methow Watershed Council is seeking to fill an open spot “at-large” position to work cooperatively on local water use and management issues.  Individuals wishing to volunteer for this position must live within the boundaries of the Methow Watershed and be willing to attend monthly meetings the 3rd Thursday of each month.  Learn more about the Methow Watershed Council here.  Please submit a simple Letter of Interest containing a brief description of your background related to water and why you are interested by: Friday, March 10, 2017 to Greg Knott, P.O. Box 154, Winthrop, WA  98856, or email    

Okanogan and Ferry USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently announced that the two counties are accepting applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP).  This program may cost share are replanting of trees in areas burned in 2014 and 2015 fires.  Cost share includes labor and cost of trees.  The deadline to sign up is March 1See this link for more info.
The Community Foundation of North Central Washington Scholarship Program (CFNCW) is now accepting applications. The deadline for most scholarships is March 1st.  CFNCW manages over 90 scholarship funds with varying criteria established by generous donors who want to help students achieve their dreams. Many of the scholarships seek to support students with the greatest financial need.  Students can review scholarships through the online Scholarship Guide, which allows students to sort and filter scholarships by geographic area, GPA, award amounts, study area, and other specific criteria.  See all the details here.

The National Park Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service recently released their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Grizzly Bear Restoration in the North Cascades Ecosystem.  The draft EIS is available for public review and comment at this website through March 14, 2017.  

*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