Podcast! Wild Mushrooms of the Okanogan

with Helen Lau, botanist with the US Forest Service

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.

Moose In Washington: Living on the Edge

…with Carrie Lowe of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Friday, September 24, 2021 at 7:15pm at the Tonasket Elementary School Parking Lot

Photo Credit: Carrie Lowe

Moose: they live alongside us, from the valley floor to the highlands, and despite their  enormous size, are only rarely seen. Join Carrie Lowe, wildlife biologist with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to learn about the life history, population trends and challenges facing moose in our area.

Carrie Lowe works with game and nongame species in Spokane, Lincoln, and Whitman Counties.  Prior to coming to Washington in 2013, Carrie spent time teaching at an outdoor science school in North Carolina, and worked on a variety of research projects, including loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia, mesocarnivores in the Sierra Nevada, black bears in Louisiana, grizzly bears in Montana, and bighorn sheep in Hells Canyon. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Hope College in her hometown of Holland, MI and her M.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

 Join OHA in a unique, free community event – enjoy Carrie’s engaging in-person talk from a blanket, a camp chair or your vehicle, listen through your FM radio!

Questions? jen@okanoganhighlands.org

COVID Precautions will be in place: social distancing, individually wrapped desserts available by donation

2021 Annual Membership Meeting: June 24 4:30pm on Zoom

Join us via Zoom for OHA’s 2021 Annual Membership Meeting! Check in on recent and upcoming events and our work in mine monitoring, habitat restoration and education. Ask questions, share ideas, and visit with OHA’s board and staff.

We will also be conducting elections for three board positions – OHA’s seven board members are elected by the membership and serve for 2-year terms.

We hope to see you there!

For the meeting link, send an email request to: info@okanoganhighlands.org

Intelligent Trees: the Documentary, Drive In Film!

Join OHA in learning about how trees (yes, trees) communicate, and leave with a whole new perspective on forests!

This event is free (thanks to our sponsors, George Thornton and Lee Miller), but space is limited, so reserve your space by clicking here.

Come Early (6:45-7:15) to park and get set up. Sound will be broadcast through your FM radio.

Film starts at 7:30

If you would like to help OHA provide free educational events to our community by sponsoring one of our drive-ins or educational events, contact Jen and Sarah at: info@okanoganhighlands.org

Can’t wait to see you there!

© Okanogan Highlands Alliance 2019. All Rights Reserved.
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