with Jim Hepler

February 7, 2020

On February 7, 2020, Jim Hepler, of the Beers Laboratory at WSU’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, joined us to share his extensive knowledge (and humor) of native stink bugs and their life history. He gave an enlightening overview of the diversity of stink bugs found in eastern Washington, and expounded on the challenges and rewards, and all that is known and unknown about these creatures. Jim’s palpable interest was contagious, sparking the curiosity of our local community.

Fun facts:
-Stink bugs can drill through nut husks to feast on the nutrient-rich innards
-Pesticides are futile in fighting stink bugs since they are constantly on the move into and out of orchards
-Stink bugs have very specific relationships with other insects who will lay their eggs inside stink bug eggs or drill through adults’ exoskeletons to feast
-Stink bugs are very capable of killing themselves with their own noxious fumes!

Rough stink bug
Rough stink bug (Brochymena species) Photo by Jen Weddle

Highland Wonders presentations feature the natural history of the Okanogan Highlands and surrounding areas. OHA provides these presentations on the first Friday of the month from November through April. These presentations, which start at 6:30 pm, are free to the public (donations are welcome), and clock hours are available for educators. The events take place at the Tonasket Community Cultural Center, and dinner is available before the presentations.

Consperse stink bug
Consperse stink bug (Euschistus conspersus) on a bitterbrush plant (Purshia tridentata, a favored host). Photo by Jim Hepler.

June 22, 2019 | with Rich Hatfield

OHA’s bumble bee field trip on June 22, 2019 provided community members with an opportunity to learn about the bumble bee species in our area, their importance to our ecosystem, as well as ways we can help conserve them. In an effort to learn more about bumble bees to improve evidence-based bumble bee conservation guidance, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, in partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and the Oregon Bee Project, has launched the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas. On a trip around the Okanogan Highlands, Rich Hatfield, Xerces Society conservation biologist, shared information about the Atlas Project, how to participate, and the value that the project will have to our area, both locally, and more regionally. The group conducted a point survey at Lost Lake to help determine the number of bumble bee species living there, along with a rapid habitat survey. More about the survey: www.pnwbumblebeeatlas.org/point-surveys.html

Continue reading

April 5, 2019 | With Caitlin LaBar

Okanogan County is host to 124 of the 155 butterfly species recorded in Washington. Caitlin spoke about some of the eco-geographical aspects that contribute to this incredible diversity, what species you can expect to commonly find, and some of the more reclusive species to watch for. We also learned how to contribute to ongoing research by photographing and recording data through various methods. Two of Caitlin’s books were available for purchase: Butterflies of the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area and Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Washington, both of which were used as part of OHA’s 2018 butterfly field trip.

“The Sinlahekin is one of my favorite places, always changing and yielding new discoveries, yet always familiar. In studying what makes it so unique, I’ve explored many parts of the Okanogan…”

Continue reading

Butterflies are the quintessential symbol of renewal through change. In a world that is rapidly changing, the Highland Wonders educational series provides opportunities for our community to learn more about the natural world, with the hope that these experiences may renew our enthusiasm to take care of the rich biodiversity around us. 

Continue reading

Dragonflies and damselflies are often called birdwatchers’ insects. Active and brilliantly colored, these four-winged predators fly everywhere over pristine wetlands. Their very different-looking larvae are dominant predators in the water below. They have the best vision and the most versatile flight of any insects, and their sex life is similarly superlative.

Continue reading

A passionate naturalist and pioneer in native bee biology, Dr. Don Rolfs presented his own unique and beautiful photographs of native bees of Washington State. Seven years in the making, this fast-moving, profusely illustrated presentation on April 1st, 2016, was thoroughly enjoyed by both adults and children.

Continue reading

On Friday, April 3, 2015, Dennis Paulson, one of the most knowledgeable naturalists in the Northwest, opened a window into the lives of dragonflies and damselflies in our region, sharing his interest in their biodiversity and biology. In a profusely illustrated lecture, “Dragonflies: Rainbows on the Wing,” Dennis shared all about the lives of these interesting creatures and how they fit into their environment.

Continue reading

Pollinating insects have a big job, helping plants produce fruit not only in gardens and orchards, but also among many native species like wild strawberries, huckleberries, thimbleberries, wax currants, and others that require pollination to reproduce. Dr. Bob Gillespie is helping keep track of our native pollinators, making observations and assessing how well they are functioning. On Friday, March 1st, Bob came to Highland Wonders to share about the surprising diversity of species pollinating the native plants in our region.

Continue reading

© Okanogan Highlands Alliance 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Go Back