Kicking off the 3rd season of the Highland Wonders Podcast we are joined by Dr. Karl Lillquist, geography professor from Central Washington University. This summer (June, 2022) Karl led a group of geology enthusiasts on an ice age tour, visiting locations throughout the highlands, from road cuts where deep lake sediments are visible, to eskers and kames, which were formed by stagnant ice, to glacier-carved bedrock hills near Havillah. This podcast hits the highlights, but we expect that after listening you will be excited to learn more, and you are in luck! Dr Lillquist wrote a detailed field guide, complete with a map of our tour locations – if you are in the area, you can take yourself on a tour!
Welcome to the Highland Wonders Podcast Season 1 Clock Hour Course! These podcast episodes are a fun opportunity to learn more about the iconic species and ecosystems of the Okanogan Highlands, and to get to know a bit about some of the local people who study them. We hope you enjoy, learn a lot, and share the podcast with your friends and family!
Here are some additional details about Okanogan Highlands Alliance and this clock hour course: please feel welcome to ask questions or give input or ideas at any time (email@example.com). Thank you for your interest!
About this Highland Wonders Podcast Clock Hour Course: We are thrilled to be able to offer this clock hour course to educators who are interested in learning more about wildlife, ecosystems and natural history! While Season 1 (this course) does not qualify as STEM clock hours, we are investigating ways to add technology, engineering and/or math in a tangible way to future podcast seasons and clock hour courses.
This course is free of charge, but donations are always welcome: visit our Support Page to learn about the different ways you can contribute to OHA’s programs and activities.
This is a self-paced course. When you complete all five podcasts and reflections you will have earned the full 5 clock hours. If you want to opt out of one or more episodes, that is fine too – just let me know when you are done and we will process the paperwork!
If you are not sure how to access podcasts yet, check out the document attached below. If you are still stumped, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Course Calendar: Registration: December 1-December 31, 2022 Course is Open: January 1-March 15, 2023
Course Criteria 1. Register: click here to join the Google Classroom
2. To earn one clock hour, listen to one podcast episode and complete the accompanying Reflection (Google Form).
3. You can earn between 1 and 5 clock hours by listening to the podcast, then filling out and submitting the Reflection/Evaluation.
Podcast Episodes Eligible for Clock Hours in this, Season 1: 1. Great Gray Owls: the phantom of the north, with Matt Marsh 2. Grouse of the Okanogan, with Michael Schroeder 3. Bighorn Sheep of the Okanogan, with Jeff Heinlen 4. The Secret Life of Bats, with Roger Christopherson 5. Washington’s Not-So-Common Loons, with Ginger and Dan Poleschook
About Okanogan Highlands Alliance (OHA): OHA is a conservation non-profit that seeks to increase awareness, appreciation and protection of the diverse ecosystems and wildlife of the Okanogan Highlands. While our homebase is in Tonasket, most of our work takes place in the Okanogan Highlands to the east of town. Our programs include: mine monitoring, habitat restoration and natural history education. To learn more about OHA, to donate, or to learn more about our volunteer opportunities, loop back and check out our website at okanoganhighlands.org.
Join OHA and David Lukas on Friday, November 11th for a fascinating evening, taking a deep dive into the form and function of our feathered friends. The presentation will be in person, and also available virtually. A light dinner, benefitting the CCC, starts at 5:30. The presentation starts at 6:30! See the poster for more details or contact email@example.com if you have questions. Hope to see you next week!
On a beautiful Sunday in June, 2022, Dr Karl Lillquist led an enthusiastic group on a tour of the Okanogan Highlands, observing and discussing evidence of ice sheets and glaciers that are visible on our landscape today. From glacial sediments, to sinuous eskers, to unexpectedly flat areas where ancient glacial lakes and river deltas once covered the land, Dr Lillquist explained how scientists puzzle out the processes that contribute to the geology and geography of a place. As if leading a field trip isn’t enough, Dr Lillquist developed the attached field guide, which is available for all to enjoy!
Amelia Marchand, of the L.I.G.H.T. Foundation, joins OHA to share her experiences and perspectives on traditional knowledge, or teachings, and the role of ecological knowledge within the bigger framework of cultural understanding that has been amassed over a millenia by indigenous peoples. She shares stories of her life and the inspiration that has driven her and her husband, Joaquin, to create the L.I.G.H.T Foundation, whose mission is to cultivate, enrich and perpetuate native plants and the cultural traditions of Pacific Northwest tribes.
To learn more and donate to the L.I.G.H.T. Foundation, visit the website at: thepnwlf.org
This special episode features many voices! The Tonasket Elementary School 5th Grade teamed up with OHA and Sarah Koenigsberg, who is an award-winning film-maker, educator, and, most importantly, beaver believer, to answer students’ questions about beavers and how they protect water quality, water quantity and healthy wetlands throughout the West. Before you listen, here is a story from Anna, Nature Detective!
Anna, Nature Detective
Season 2, Episode 5: Beaver Believers, The Next Generation
Anna is a daring and precocious nature detective. She loves to sing and dance, and make up songs and dances about the things that she observes. Anna LOVES animals (especially the fuzzy ones), and she is the kid who can catch the cat that no one else can. When Anna explores she likes to look at things close up, touch them, peer at them through her Nature Detective hand lens. Sometimes, things that can’t run away suit Anna’s detective style best, but fortunately Anna is also very careful not to hurt anything, and to keep her distance when she comes across wildlife.
One spring day, Anna wakes up singing, “I like oceans and rivers, I like oceans and rivers, and everything that is wet. Even though, I been trying to go, on a mountain road, I can’t stand it. You’re. So. Cute.” Her dad laughs, “What are you singing about, Anna?” Anna looks at her dad sideways, and says “Beavers, dad! Of course.” It is very obvious to Anna. What else could she possibly be singing about?
Her dad nods his head seriously, remembering the beaver lodge they had seen last summer in the Okanogan Highlands. It’s a beautiful day, the sun is warm, the snow is nearly melted, so they decide to go pay the beavers a visit. Up they go, following that long mountain road to their favorite lake, where they set up a picnic, test the still- frigid water, and watch the birds busily flitting from tree to tree, some building nests. At the end of the day, as the light begins to fade, Anna and her family peer through their binoculars toward the rounded mass of tree branches along the distant side of the lake, and suddenly they see it! A little head, swiftly moving through the water toward the lodge!
Anna’s questions begin.
“Where is that beaver coming from?”
“Was that beaver swimming underwater?”
“Can beavers breathe under water?”
“How many beavers live in that beaver house?”
“How big are beaver babies?”
“What do beavers eat?”
“Are beavers nice?”
“Can I see a beaver close up?”
“How do beavers survive in the winter?”
“How do beavers build those dams?”
The questions go on and on, literally without stopping, for minutes. This beaver has sparked our Nature Detective’s curiosity! Luckily, she is not alone. Recently, the Tonasket Elementary School 5th Grade teamed up with Sarah Koenigsberg, beaver believer, educator and storyteller extraordinaire, to answer many of these same questions!
Join Sarah and the next generation of beaver believers to learn all about beavers, their important role in our highlands ecosystems, and more by listening to the most recent episode of Okanogan Highlands Alliance’s Highland Wonders Podcast. You can find additional episodes and more nature detective stories at okanoganhighlands.org/education/highland-wonders/ or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts.
Podcasts are posted on the OHA website (okanoganhighlands.org) and on the following podcast apps: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts and RadioPublic. Please read, listen (rate the podcast on your favorite app) and enjoy!
Nunatak: an Inuit word meaning a mountain peak jutting up through a glacier. A nunatak might not be a hospitable place to spend a few thousand years, but exposed rocky mountaintops are sometimes all that a few hardy species need to survive. In this episode, George Thornton, local educator, naturalist and botanist, shares his knowledge and experiences studying the unique plant communities found atop the highest peaks in the Okanogan. By connecting big ideas of climate, geology, and ecosystem dynamics, George makes sense of how some of the tiny alpine and tundra plants can be found here today, and why they might be in peril.
Anna, Nature Detective
Season 2, Episode 3: Islands in the Ice
Anna is a daring and precocious nature detective. She loves to sing, and dance, and make up songs and dances about the things that she observes. Anna LOVES animals, a
nd she is the kid who can catch the cat that no one else can. When Anna explores she likes to look at things close up, touch them, peer at them through her Nature Detective hand lens. Sometimes, things that can’t run away suit Anna’s detective style best, but fortunately Anna is also very careful not to hurt anything.
“Red, Orange and Yellow! Green, Blue and Indigo! Viiiiooooolllleeetttt” Anna makes up the tune to her Rainbow Song as she traipses along a trail through a wildflower strewn meadow. It has been a long hike to reach this field of beautiful flowers. Fortunately her mom brought along a whole pack of power pellets…jelly beans of every color, to match the rainbow of flowers stretching out in front of them.
“Hey mom, let’s try to find a flower for every color of the rainbow, and take their pictures!”
“What a great idea!” Anna’s mom says, “When you are all grown up, these pictures will remind us of this amazing day!” Anna’s mom appreciates that Anna would rather take pictures than pick flowers. They learned recently that flowers are an important part of making seeds, and seeds are how plants reproduce and survive. If everyone picked wildflowers, we might not have any left to enjoy, but pictures are good forever and don’t hurt a thing.
And so the search for a rainbow of flowers begins.
There is the red paintbrush, “click, click” goes the camera.
Indigo lupine and yellow arnica, “click, click” goes the camera.
“Ok, Anna, what colors are we missing?”
Anna murmurs her rainbow song, and checks off colors on her fingers. “Orange! Green! Blue! Viiiiioooooollllleeetttt!” Anna sings.
Anna and her mom continue down the trail, and come to a place where a creek crosses the trail. There are different flowers here, where it is wet. They find a long, stalky green flower – they’ll have to look it up later. “Click click” goes the camera. They find a big, bright orange, speckled flower – a tiger lily. And a purple flower with lots of petals. Anna’s mom suspects that the purple one might be an aster.
“All we need now is blue!” Anna and her mom are stumped. They had already decided that the lupine is indigo, but they haven’t seen any truely blue flowers yet.
The two make their way to a place where jumbles of rocks lead up to a ridge. Anna starts to climb – her favorite activity. She climbs the first set of rocks, and as she crests the top she spies something amazing – a blue, almost green-blue, tiny flower. She never would have seen it if she hadn’t climbed the rocks or been so close to the ground – now that she looks more carefully, there are quite a few of these tiny blue-green flowers.
“Mom! Come up here! You have to! There are blue flowers!” Anna’s mom is skeptical, but she is also a good sport, so she carefully climbs up next to Anna, “Wow! What an amazing find! I haven’t ever seen a flower like this, Anna!”
After arriving back at home, Anna and her mom investigate. It turns out that the flower is called a glaucous gentian, a tundra plant, that is thought to be very rare in the Okanogan, and only found on the highest peaks! They are excited to learn more about how and why this pretty turquoise flower comes to be here, and wouldn’t you know, there is a podcast episode all about it. They settle in to listen to Islands in the Ice, with George Thornton!Learn all about Islands in the Ice as well as other natural history topics on Okanogan Highlands Alliance’s Highland Wonders Podcast. You can find episodes and more nature detective stories at okanoganhighlands.org/education/highland-wonders/ or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts.
In this interview-style episode, Lynda Mapes of The Seattle Times joins OHA in discussing her newest book, Orcas: Shared Waters, Shared Home. From Tonasket to the Salish Sea, our ecosystems are connected by the water and the wildlife that travels through our region. Learn about salmon, orcas, and the people whose lives revolve around the aquatic habitats of Washington on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or wherever you normally listen!
And here is a story from Anna, Nature Detective!
Anna surfaces briefly, then glides back underwater, swimming against the current. It is a fast current, and the cold, clear water feels just right against her red sides, her glinting scales. She is headed upstream, back to the place she was born.
As she makes her way upstream, away from the ocean, she is thinks back to the last time she was in fresh water. Anna barely remembers that trip downstream four years ago, she was so small! As she swam from the river to the sea, the waters gradually got saltier. She knew she had arrived in the sea because the water moved differently – in and out and in swirls, pushing every which-way. She had to get used to that salt, the currents, and the new animals and plants she swam past, and there was no time to dilly dally.
There was lots of food to eat in the sea, but there were also lots of creatures that wanted to eat Anna and her salmon friends! She found her way out to the deep water, where she could hide from the big barking sea lions and the huge bald eagles that pounced from above. Anna snacked on whatever came along – fish, water bugs, anything, really. Out in the deep water, Anna felt a little safer – she could swim fast and deep and she could swerve like a champ! Black and white orcas were everywhere. They were there in the deep water, they were there in the shallow water, they were close to land and out in the open sea. Always on the prowl, the orcas were fast and somehow knew right where the salmon were, even in the dark. As time passed, Anna got bigger and faster and smarter.
One day something told her it was time to head for home, back through the shallow sea to the river mouth, where that fresh water smelled so familiar…
Anna woke with a start. “Mom, I dreamed I was a fish! A salmon! And I was four years old, just like me, but I was really OLD. There were rivers in my dream, and the ocean, and other fish, and sea lions, and orcas! Can we go to the ocean?” Anna’s mom said, “wow, what an exciting dream! You know what we should do? We should go down to the river – I bet we can see salmon in the Okanogan River right now!” “Yeah, let’s do it!” Anna yells.
As Anna and her mom watched the big salmon holding their position in the river’s current, they thought about the lives of these big fish and the cycle of life for the salmon and all of the people and wildlife that depend on them, like the orcas in Anna’s dream. Soon, these surviving big fish would lay their eggs and then die, but even then they are a part of the system, their bodies nourishing the plants and animals that live in and around the rivers. How amazing is that? Anna announces, “I love salmon. I want to learn all about them and I want to be their friend.”
To learn more about salmon, orcas and the rivers that connect them, check out the new Highland Wonders Podcast episode: From the Okanogan to the Sea, featuring a discussion with Lynda Mapes about her new book, Orcas: Shared Waters, Shared Home, co-published with the Seattle Times.
Read the Book! Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home by Lynda Mapes
Find an Exhibit! Seattle Aquarium: seattleaquarium.org/exhibits/Orca-shared-waters-shared-home