Clock Hour Course: Highland Wonders Podcast, season 1

Look for this podcast art on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or Anchor.fm

Special for Washington State Educators!

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 (jen@okanoganhighlands.org). 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 info@okanoganhighlands.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.

Revealing Bird Bones and Skeletons

with David Lukas

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 jen@okanoganhighlands.org if you have questions. Hope to see you next week!

To join virtually, use this invite link:
 
 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83454118101?pwd=cDNIbVFDcFdXc0VVbHlkTmt3RXpHQT09

Landscapes and Landforms of the Okanogan Highlands: 2022 Field Trip with Dr Karl Lillquist

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!

Podcast! Traditional Ecological Knowledge

with Amelia Marchand of the L.I.G.H.T. Foundation

Illustration by Diana Weddle

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

Check out this article by Amelia Marchand, from June 22, 2022: Climate and Cultural Vulnerabilities of Indigenous Elders, published in the Generations Journal of the American Society on Aging.

Additional resources to learn more (list specially curated by Amelia Marchand):

Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network: an opportunity to learn about (and add your local) unusual environmental, animal and weather events world-wide.

2021 Status of Tribes and Climate Change (STACC) Report produced by The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals

Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives : a practical guide to developing collaborations that honor traditional knowledge and minimize risks to indigenous peoples who might be sharing traditional knowledge. Intended audience: agencies, researchers, tribes and traditional knowledge holders (and valuable information for everyone).

Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers: How to cite oral traditions and ways of knowing in a way that honors and recognizes information shared by indigenous knowledge keepers on a level with written sources.

Find the full theme song, Blessed Unrest, by Tyler Graves on Spotify, Apple Music, or your favorite music platform.

For more information about Okanogan Highlands Alliance, or to become a member or volunteer, visit: okanoganhighlands.org or email us at info@okanoganhighlands.org

Happy Earth Day 2022!

OHA is celebrating Earth Day 2022 with gratitude for everything you do to support OHA’s work and to honor and protect the earth wherever you are!

A sampling of the beauty of the Highlands this Earth Day

Check out our calendar of upcoming events, and join us as a participant or volunteer! For more details on our upcoming events, reply to this email or contact us at info@okanoganhighlands.org

We are inspired by the circle of generations working together to make the world a better place. This photo shows the kickoff of a field trip to the Triple Creek Restoration Project!

Upcoming opportunities to get involved with OHA!

  • Saturday, May 28: Trail Stewardship (Location TBD)
  • Saturday, June 4: Trail Stewardship (Sno Park Pond – Fence repair)
  • Saturday, June 11: Trail Stewardship (Virginia Lilly Trail)
  • Tuesday, June 14-Thursday, June 16: Forest Ecology and Stewardship with Upward Bound (Lost Lake)
  • Saturday, June 18: Trail Stewardship (Pine Chee Trail)
  • Saturday, June 25: Trail Stewardship (Virginia Lilly Trail)
  • Saturday, June 25: Family Nature Hike with Kim Kogler (Beth/Beaver Lake Trail)
  • Sunday, June 26: Geology Field Trip with Karl Lillquist
  • Saturday, July 9: Trail Stewardship (Strawberry Mountain Trail)
  • Saturday, July 9: OHA Annual Membership Meeting/30th Year Celebration (Lost Lake Group Camp)
  • Sunday, July 10: Get Lost! Trail Race (register using this link!)

You can also find these events, and details about them on our Events Page Calendar!

Podcast! Beaver Believers: The Next Generation (Part 1)

with Sarah Koenigsberg of Tensegrity Productions

Anna, Nature Detective and Her Beaver Friends, illustration by Diana Weddle

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.

Podcast! The World Needs More Birders S2:E4

with Dick Cannings, biologist, educator, author, member of the Canada House of Commons

Are you interested in learning more about birds? Are you interested in contributing your bird observations to science? Are you looking for resources to help you learn to identify birds by sight and sound? Are you looking for answers to the question, “What’s so special about birds, anyway?” If you answered yes to any of these questions, this episode is for you! Dick Cannings, author, educator, biologist, member of the Canadian House of Commons has fostered his lifelong fascination with birds and has crafted his career to teach and show people why it is important to protect the natural world. He has a lot to share about his experiences, why citizen science is so crucial in collecting information about our world, and how anyone can contribute to these efforts!

Dick Cannings:

More about Dick Cannings, his books, and instructions about how to build an owl nest box: dickcannings.com/

Birding Organizations and Learning Resources:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home/

Audubon Society: https://www.audubon.org/

North Central WA Audubon Society: https://ncwaudubon.org/

Birds Canada: https://www.birdscanada.org/

Citizen Science Projects:

The Great Backyard Bird Count: https://www.birdcount.org/

Project Feeder Watch: https://feederwatch.org/

Christmas Bird Count: https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count

Breeding Bird Atlas of Washington*: http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/maps/ 

North American Breeding Bird Survey: https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/

Short Eared Owl Survey: https://avianknowledgenorthwest.net/projects/

Nestwatch: https://nestwatch.org/

Migration Monitoring: https://www.birdscanada.org/bird-science/canadian-migration-monitoring-network-cmmn/

Project FeederWatch: https://feederwatch.org/

 *also contains maps for amphibians, mammals, reptiles

Birding Apps and Websites (ID by sight and sound, record your sightings):

Merlin Bird ID: https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/

E-Bird: ebird.org/

Dendroica: https://www.natureinstruct.org/dendroica/ 

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!

Podcast! Islands in the Ice: Nunataks S2:E3

Listen to Islands In the Ice

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.

Alpine Meadow with rocky peaks in the background, Pasayten Wilderness

 

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.

Glaucous Gentian, rare (and turquoise!) plant found on nunataks in the Okanogan.

Okanogan Ice Islands: Nunataks

…with George Thornton

 
Click the button above to go straight to the Okanogan Ice Islands: Nunatak presentation, which initially aired on Friday, January 7, 2022.  If you have questions for George, email him at thorntong@me.com

Beyond the beauty of Chopaka, I’ve come to know the mystery behind the unusual collection of Arctic tundra remnant on the peak. I’ve wondered what it tells of our past and  whether it offers a glimpse  into  our future.” -George Thornton

Presentation Description:

High, craggy peaks rise to the West of the Okanogan. These mountains are home to unique plant communities, and our glacial history holds a clue as to why and how those plants come to live where they do. The changing climate endangers these indicators of  our glacial past. In this edition of Highland Wonders, we will discuss various theories about local natural history and ecology using Chopaka Mountain as a primary example of several nearby Eastern Cascade peaks. 

Join OHA and George Thornton, high school teacher, botanist, and lifelong nature enthusiast, on January 7, 2022.  George has lived his entire life in the Okanogan. He taught for 33 years, worked summers doing vegetation surveys for the Forest Service, and has hiked  and explored most of the north Okanogan area.

Podcast! Wild Mushrooms of the Okanogan S2:E1

with Helen Lau, botanist with the US Forest Service

Anna, Nature Detective. Illustration by: Diana Weddle

Okanogan Highlands Alliance (OHA) is thrilled to announce the start of season 2 of the Highland Wonders Podcast: an opportunity to learn about the natural history of the Okanogan from the comfort of your home, car or skis! Over the course of this winter, monthly episodes will focus on the life that makes the Okanogan such a unique and beautiful place, starting with the Wild Mushrooms of the Okanogan! You can find episodes here, or wherever you normally get your podcasts.

Each episode will be accompanied by a nature detective story, where a younger audience can follow along as Anna, Nature Detective, uses her imagination and explores the podcast’s subject.

The stories and podcasts will be posted to 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!

Anna, Nature Detective

Season 2, Episode 1: Wild Mushrooms of the Okanogan

Last year, Jack the Nature Detective took us along on his adventures in the Okanogan Highlands, as he explored with his family and learned all about local wildlife, from grouse to bats to owls to bighorn sheep to common loons. This year, Jack is off to kindergarten, and in a solemn ceremony that took place at the end of August, Jack presented his cousin, Anna, with her very own Nature Detective tools and an official badge. Let’s get to know Anna!

Anna is a different kind of Nature Detective than Jack. Where Jack is cautious and careful, Anna is daring and precocious, where Jack is quiet and observant, Anna spends half her time singing and the other half chatting. Where Jack is particular about calling things by their proper name, Anna makes up her own names for her discoveries. She LOVES animals, and she is the kid who can catch the cat that no one else can. She loves exploring things close up, touching them, peering at them through her Nature Detective hand lens. Sometimes, things that can’t run away suit Anna’s detective style best, and so, this month, Anna finds herself exploring the mushroom world!

“Hey mom, what are these slimy things?” Anna hollers from the back yard.

“Ohhhh noooo, not again!” her mom remembers back to the week before when Anna brought two heaping handfuls of deer droppings into the kitchen. She runs outside to find Anna poking at a perfect circle of mushrooms growing in the backyard. “Oh, how pretty!” Anna’s mom says “I think that’s called a fairy ring.”

Anna gasps, “a fairy ring? Made by fairies? Let’s check it out!” She pulls out her hand lens and looks at the top of one mushroom. It’s smooth, brown and slippery. She looks at the stem, tan and shaggy. Then she looks at the underside of the mushroom top. “Wow! What are those stripey things?” Anna and her mom look carefully at the mushroom, and then Anna draws what she sees in her notebook. Later on, they look in a book and find that the top of the mushroom is called the cap, the stem is called the stem, and the stripes underneath the cap are called gills.

“So… mushrooms have gills… like fish. And a cap, like an umbrella. And I don’t know why, but they grow in a circle like a fairy would make. I’ll call this a Fairy Gillyhat!” Anna says. Anna and her mom go and wash their hands, because, as their book told them, some mushrooms can be poisonous. From that day on, Anna finds mushrooms all over the place – growing on tree trunks, in the grass, on logs in the forest, everywhere! But why are they everywhere? And why are some poisonous, but some you can eat? What do mushrooms eat? Anna has lots of questions, and luckily for her, Helen Lau, of the US Forest Service has lots of answers in the latest episode of the Highland Wonders Podcast!

Learn all about Wild Mushrooms of the Okanogan (and catch any Season 1 episodes that you may have missed) at: okanoganhighlands.org/education/highland-wonders/ or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts.

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