Things seem to be changing in the West – snowpack levels are lower than they used to be, and the snowpack melts earlier in spring. Fire seasons are longer and more severe. Megafires, wildfires over 100,000 acres, now occur more often, causing wide-ranging impact on homes, communities, and wildlands. These changes are expected to continue, and we need to increase the fire resiliency of our wildlands, while also completing defensible space work around homes and communities.

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Film Screening & Discussion

Beaver ponds on Lost Lake are storing water both on the surface and below

For the last year, Kent Woodruff, a retired US Forest Service biologist from Winthrop, has been engaging people across the west in discussions about what we can do to soften the impacts of climate change. As our already dry landscape and water resources become impacted by climate change, this topic will be increasingly relevant to our ecological and human communities.

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Ecology & Evolution at Our Feet

Route Map (click to enlarge)

Life has been on an immense journey through time, and it turns out that much of the evidence for that journey is all around us in the natural world. On this short hike we will look for the evidence that the plants, animals and even the rocks have changed over time, creating ever more complex ecological relationships and ever richer ecosystems. This walk offered a condensed version of a 5-day program on this subject that Dana taught last summer in the Methow Valley.

Dana Visalli, botanist and editor of “The Methow Naturalist,” led a guided hike along a hidden canyon connecting the Burge Mountain road and the Highlands Nordic Sno-Park near Havillah.

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This presentation on February 5th, 2016, outlined how OHA is preserving the Lost Lake wetland, making the site available to researchers, and teaching youth about the value and function of wetlands, using Lost Lake as an example. Delve with us here into the depths of this gem, and take a look at the array of botanical wonders that thrive at the Preserve…

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On Friday, May 1, 2015, Jason Llewellyn and Dale Swedberg co-presented about fire ecology and fire history, and shared our region’s story of fire management. Dale Swedberg provided an intro to fire history and fire ecology. Jason Llewellyn discussed what goes into a prescribed fire, from the decision to use fire as a tool, through the planning phase, to carrying out the plan and keeping fire where it is intended. Living in an ecosystem that has been dependent on fires for millennia, we can either tolerate wildfires or support prescribed burning, but it is impossible to have neither.

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“No bugs, no fish!”

Mark shares from a book that he co-authored about macroinvertebrates.

On Friday, March 6th, OHA’s Highland Wonders series welcomed back a highly popular speaker from last summer’s outdoor events: freshwater ecologist and emeritus professor Dr. Mark Oswood.

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On Saturday, July 19th, freshwater ecologist and emeritus professor Dr. Mark Oswood came to share his expertise in the Highland Wonders series. This event aimed to increase our community’s understanding of stream ecology, and how riparian zones and streams interact to support and affect populations of aquatic insects. Connections were made between populations of aquatic insects and what their presence indicates about water quality.

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