Meetings (when not online) begin at 7 pm in the Sustainable Living Center education room at the ReStore (2309 Meridian Street). The entrance is off the back alley and the SLC is upstairs. Click for Google Map. Meetings are free and open to the public.
November 18, 2020 Online Webinar Meeting
7pm – Reconstructing Past Climate Using Tree-Ring Data from Ancient Bristlecone Pine
The annual growth rings from ancient Bristlecone Pine contain valuable information about climate variability extending back thousands of years. These proxies for variation in temperature and precipitation allow us to reconstruct past climates in a way that helps us understand the dynamics of the climate system and puts modern climate change into a long-term context. Dr. Andy Bunn is a Professor in the Environmental Science department at WWU with a focus on paleoclimate and carbon cycling. He leads the Huxley Tree Ring Lab, and was the founding director of the Institute for Energy Studies.
This meeting will be held via zoom. Please register beforehand to receive the meeting link. https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PYpJyq_BQw-pLdfZCUP36w
PREVIOUS MEETING TOPICS
Note: Past online webinars are now available for viewing at your leisure, at https://www.wnps.org/wnps-annual-events/virtual-events
October 21, 2020 Online Webinar Meeting
4pm – Anticipating and Planning for Climate-Driven Species Movements
This webinar begins at 4pm and is hosted by the WWU Biology Department
In the past, as earth’s climate changed, many species moved across continents to track suitable conditions. Projected future changes in climate will likely result in similar shifts in today’s flora and fauna. Josh Lawler, professor of sustainable resource sciences at University of Washington, will discuss studies in which he and his colleagues have used a combination of bioclimatic models, dispersal models, and other approaches to explore how species will likely move across the landscape and how we can conserve biodiversity as they do.
September 16, 2020 Online Webinar Meeting
Sharing Summer Adventures
Our September meeting will be a more informal one, giving chapter members a chance to share their summer adventures and botanical finds with the group, since we were unable to enjoy our usual group field trips. Though not required, there is an opportunity to share photos if you would like, through the Zoom screen-sharing function. Contact Jim Kling (firstname.lastname@example.org) before the meeting if you are interested in sharing your photos, so that he can allow you access to the screen-sharing function and provide an overview of how it works.
June 17, 2020 Online Webinar Meeting
The Evolution of Temperate Vegetation in North America
North America has an exceptional record of fossil plants — particularly in the west — that provide a fascinating story of the evolution of plants and plant communities into the floras we know today. This talk will provide a broad overview of that story, highlighting the fossils that tell that story, and the stage it took place on, including how continents, landscapes, and climates were also changing. We will start with the evolution of flowering plants during the time of the dinosaurs, move through several important climatic transitions during the Cenozoic (last 66 million years), and arrive at the modern age. Alex Lowe is a PhD student studying paleobotany at the University of Washington and the Burke Museum under Dr. Caroline Strömberg (http://www.stromberglab.org/). For his dissertation, he is studying how vegetation in the Pacific Northwest changed across an important global warming event in Earth’s past called the Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum, around 17 million years ago.
May 20, 2020 Online Webinar Meeting
Get to Know Long-Time Chapter Members
Be a part of the conversation via Zoom, and learn more about some of our long-time members and their stories with WNPS. Learn how engagement in the chapter and the society can amplify life-long learning with native plants. Join us for this informal session.
April 15, 2020 Online Webinar Meeting
Chasing Blue Carbon on the Arabian Peninsula
You may not expect the arid Middle East to be an ideal study area for a wetland ecologist, but the region does contain a narrow strip of tidal wetlands along the coast, and what they lack in diversity, they make up for in hardiness to some of the toughest conditions for plant life. Katrina Poppe traveled to the United Arab Emirates in 2019 to study the country’s tidal mangrove forests, which not only have some impressive adaptations to their environment, but also the ability to sequester a substantial amount of carbon in their sediments, which was the focus of her study. Katrina’s talk will be part travelogue and part science talk, and the photos of sweating scientists in 120° heat may help you appreciate cooler conditions in the PNW. Katrina is a research associate at WWU in the Wetlands Ecology Lab, where she has been studying carbon, plant, and sediment dynamics in tidal wetlands since 2013. She also serves on the WNPS Koma Kulshan chapter board as secretary and as program committee member.
March 18, 2020
CANCELLED due to virus concerns. This talk will be rescheduled for a later date.
February 19, 2020
Native Plant Travels in Time and Space: Adventures in Biogeography
Ellen Kuhlmann and Barry Wendling will discuss some of the unique characteristics that make places like Whatcom County unique. Ellen and Barry are long-time members of the WNPS Koma Kulshan chapter. Ellen is a space analyst at Western Washington University and is a co-author along with Mark Turner of Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest (Timber Press). Barry is the collection manager for vascular and non-vascular plants at the Pacific Northwest Herbarium at Western Washington University and a former president of the WNPS Koma Kulshan chapter.
December 18, 2019
6 – 9 pm
4682 Wynn Road
Please join us at our annual winter potluck to enjoy a feast of food, and share stories about the year. Mark Turner, Natalie McClendon, and Brian Small have again offered to host. Dinner will begin around 6:30 pm and we will finish off with a slideshow of highlights of the year. Bring a dish and a drink to share. For those with photos to share, bring along a USB drive with up to 10 digital images.
November 20, 2019
Investigating the Bigleaf Maple Decline
DNR Forest Pathologist Dan Omdal began studying bigleaf maple health in 2011 after reports came in from land managers and concerned members of the public documenting crown dieback, thinning, reduced leaf size, and discoloration. Initial surveys did identify several suspicious pathogens, but none could fully explain the extent of the decline. DNR later partnered with a UW research project in 2017 that sampled maples throughout their range in Washington, looking for correlations between maple health and environmental conditions, including potential pollutants, but none could be determined as the primary cause of decline. Dan Omdal will tell us about this investigation and share the latest results.
October 16, 2019
Botanical Survey and Monitor Project Field Season Report
This summer, a cadre of field botanists (undergrads and recent grads from WWU) performed surveys throughout the Pacific Northwest for the Botanical Survey and Monitor (SAM) Project of the Pacific Northwest Herbarium (WWB). The SAM Project uses historic records from the 1800s and 1900s to reveal and document changes in distributions of native PNW plants. Many factors could have impacted plant distributions including urbanization, habitat fragmentization, overzealous collectors, and climatic changes. The data collected in the field will give us a better understanding of how species distributions shifted in response to some of these factors. The project aims to know if some populations or species have gone extinct, and, if populations are declining, estimate when those species may go extinct locally and regionally. For the second year in a row for some, first year for others, the field botanists were paired up and sent off to different counties in Oregon and Washington on the west side of the Cascades to conduct the research. Each pair surveyed 4 or more counties. The 3 months of data collection has revealed which areas seem to be greatly affected by some of the aforementioned factors. The cadre will share their experience, details about their adventures, what they have learned about field and lab work as botanists, and the multitude of beautiful photographs from the most colorful months of the year.
September 18, 2019
Native Plant Seed Propagation Basics
One of the most powerful ways to appreciate and gain an understanding of plants is to observe how they begin their lives. There is magic in seeing your favorite plants when they are most tender and vulnerable, and insights to be gained from watching them in these early stages. As native plant enthusiasts, we all share a desire to get more native plants into the landscape, and propagating some of your own native plants from seed might be just the solution for restoration projects, educational gardens, or backyard habitats. Join Bridget McNassar, Native Plant Program Manager at Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center, to go through the basics of starting natives from seed, including information about seed collection, cleaning, storage, how to treat dormant seeds, sowing tips, and caring for seedlings.
We will follow up the presentation with our very own seed exchange. Bring native plant seeds that you would like to share, and be sure to provide information on species names, and collection date and location. The chapter will provide coin envelopes for portioning out seeds, and labels.
June 19, 2019
Summer Kickoff Potluck
6 – 9 pm
2582 N Shore Rd
Abe Lloyd and Katrina Poppe would like to welcome you again to their home for an outdoor potluck to celebrate the beginning of summer. Dinner will begin around 6:30 pm. Bring a dish and a drink to share.
May 15, 2019
Botanical Survey and Monitor Project
Much of our knowledge of plant distribution in the Pacific Northwest is outdated and incomplete. Learn how the Pacific Northwest Herbarium at Western Washington University is working to update this information through the Survey and Monitor Program (SAM) with biology professor and herbarium curator Dr. Eric DeChaine. Dr. DeChaine will share project details, highlights of last year’s work, and how you can contribute to the effort.
April 17, 2019
Extending Local Flower Knowledge to New Environments
We usually do our botanizing close to home, within the state or adjacent areas which have a similar flora. In the process, we slowly learn to identify what we see. But what happens when we travel farther afield? How are we going to figure out the plants growing at our feet somewhere like Joshua Tree National Park in the Mohave Desert? As flower geeks we can’t just say, “pretty flower” and move on. Mark Turner will share photos and tips for identifying “foreign” native plants in this program highlighting some of the flowers he and Brian Small found during the March “super bloom” in the desert. Mark is a Koma Kulshan chapter member, professional photographer, and author of Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest and Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest.
March 20, 2019
Intelligent Trees: Documentary and Discussion
Intelligent Trees is a 2016 documentary about how trees communicate and care for each other, a scientific journey into the “wood-wide web.” In this film, German forester Peter Wolhlleben (author of The Hidden Life of Trees) and UBC scientist Suzanne Simard share their findings from their decades of observations and studies of how trees talk, know family ties, and care for their young.
This program will be a little different than our typical meeting style, with the 45-min film showing followed by a facilitated discussion to share our own observations and ideas on the topic. Watch the trailer here: https://www.intelligent-trees.com/
February 20, 2019
From Genes to Ecosystems: Exploring the Role that Genes Play in Influencing Traits, Biodiversity, and Ecosystems
In the western United States, forest trees provide many essential functions ranging from biomass production, water and nutrient cycling, and supporting diverse communities of organisms such as arthropods, birds, and microbes. Dr. Matthew Zinkgraf will describe the role of forest tree genetics in shaping variation in ecologically important traits, and how genetics can have far-reaching effects on community biodiversity and ecosystem processes. The knowledge gained through genetics can help improve the management, restoration, and conservation of natural systems.
Matthew Zinkgraf is a recent addition to the Pacific Northwest, and has been an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at WWU since 2017. His research takes an interdisciplinary approach to address questions underlying the biology of forest trees, using methods from computational biology, molecular biology, quantitative genetics, and forest ecology. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and his PhD at Northern Arizona University.
January 16, 2019
Importance of Salmon-Derived Nutrients for Riparian Forest Growth
As they return to spawn and die in their natal streams, anadromous Pacific salmon import nutrients from the Pacific ocean to otherwise nutrient-poor freshwater and riparian ecosystems. These marine-derived nutrients support various populations of mammals, birds and invertebrates, and previous studies have indicated that marine-derived nutrient imports might also enhance the growth of riparian trees. Jim Helfield will present the results of a recently completed 20-year fertilization experiment, in which sockeye salmon carcasses were systematically deposited on one bank of Hansen Creek in southwestern Alaska from 1996 to 2016. In 2016, they measured the leaf nitrogen content and annual growth rates of white spruce trees on both creek banks, finding greater concentrations of marine-derived nitrogen and increased growth rates on the fertilized bank. These results indicate that salmon carcasses can have a measurable effect on riparian trees against the background of other factors affecting forest growth.
Jim Helfield is an Associate Professor at WWU in the Department of Environmental Sciences, where he teaches courses on stream ecology, ecological restoration, and salmon habitat and ecology. A recurring theme in his research is the interconnectedness and interdependence of rivers and their surrounding watersheds, and the need for habitat restoration strategies to recognize these linkages.
December 19, 2018
6 – 9 pm
4682 Wynn Road
Please join us at our annual winter potluck to enjoy a feast of food, and share stories about the year. Mark Turner, Natalie McClendon, and Brian Small have again offered to host. Dinner will begin around 6:30 pm and we will finish off with a slideshow of highlights of the year. Bring a dish and a drink to share (last names N-Z bring entrees, and A-M bring a side or dessert). For those with photos to share, bring along a USB drive with up to 10 digital images.
November 28, 2018 **Note this is the 4th Wednesday instead of the 3rd**
On beyond S (Species Richness): Putting Biodiversity in the Context of Other Controls on Ecosystem Properties
The dramatic changes in the biosphere caused by human society are contributing to the “Sixth Extinction” – losses of biodiversity that greatly exceed the geologic record for background extinction rates. While this raises a number of conservation and ethical questions, it also raises questions about the effects of these losses: At what point might these changes in diversity affect the way ecosystems work? At what point do such losses “kick us in the butt” by adversely affecting the benefits that humans derive from ecosystems? Dr. Hooper will briefly review the history of the field commonly referred to as “biodiversity and ecosystem functioning” that addresses these questions, point out some current hot topics of study, and outline some recent findings that help us understand biodiversity effects in the context of other ecological changes.
October 17, 2018
Climate Change and Forests — The Pacific Northwest and Beyond
The primary effects of climate change on forest ecosystems will occur through increased frequency and magnitude of extreme events, including drought, insect outbreaks, and wildfire. These disturbances will alter terrestrial and aquatic systems across large landscapes, with potential changes in the growth, distribution, and abundance of plant species. David Peterson will describe these effects as well as assertive management actions that can help reduce some negative effects of climate change and ease the transition to a permanently warmer climate. Adaptation by federal agencies is underway at large scales, including altered perspectives about forest management and restoration.
September 19, 2018
The Natural History of the Himalayas
When India had a parking accident with Asia, they traded contact information, and years later, a biodiversity hotspot was born. Chapter member Abe Lloyd has studied the flora and ethnobotany of the Central Himalayas in fits and starts since serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Langtang National Park in 2004. Last fall he led a seven week study abroad program to many of the same villages he worked in 13 years earlier. Abe will share a travel narrative of his most recent trip infused with observations and stories about the rich natural and cultural diversity at the top of the world.
June 20, 2018
Summer Kickoff Potluck
6 – 9 pm
2582 N Shore Rd
Abe Lloyd and Katrina Poppe would like to welcome you to their home for an outdoor potluck to welcome the summer. Dinner will begin around 6:30 pm. Bring a dish and a drink to share.
May 16, 2018
The Gall(s) of Washington
From fireweed to cottonwoods and aspens, Ron Russo will explore with us the relationship between numerous native plants and a few local ornamentals by a variety of invading organisms that induce swellings or plant tumors called galls. Galls are generally of a specific size, shape and color, which happen to be specific to the inducing organism. The exact mechanism for this specificity has eluded scientists for centuries.
Ron Russo is the retired Chief Naturalist for the East Bay Regional Park District in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has authored eight field guides as well as over 50 magazine articles and scientific papers and is the recipient of the 2017 Thomas Say Award for achievement in science and education.
April 18, 2018
Snow Algae: Small Organisms, Big Impact
How is Climate Change affecting photosynthetic life living in the snow? Robin Kodner will be presenting research on snow algae communities across the Cascades, and describe how citizen scientists can get involved.
Robin Kodner has been an Assistant Professor of Biology at Western Washington University since 2012. She earned her PhD at Harvard University, followed by a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the UW Friday Harbor Labs and School of Oceanography. Robin started her career studying algal evolution over geologic time and later moved to studying modern marine algal communities so that we could learn how they are responding to climate change. She has also been an outdoor educator for over 15 years in the mountains and on sailboats, using both these environments as platforms for teaching basic sciences.
March 21, 2018
Testing Herbicide Applications to Control Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
Herb Robert is a growing problem in northwestern Washington, invading previously non-infested forest lands as well as local suburban trails, parks, and gardens. While several herbicides have been shown to be effective at controlling this species, application of some of these products are known to injure established perennial plants, limiting their usefulness on some sites. Because it is an annual, however, lower rates of herbicides can successfully control herb Robert, and these lower rates along with alternative timings of these applications, can potentially reduce the injury to the native flora. Tim Miller will discuss results from trials he conducted to test this hypothesis in northwestern Washington.
Tim Miller has been working for Washington State University as an extension weed scientist since 1997, and is stationed at the WSU Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. His program includes weed control research in western Washington crops, as well as studying control of non-native vegetation on agricultural, range, and forest lands.
February 21, 2018
Plant Plumbing: How Plants Move Fluids
Tall trees can lift water 400 feet into the canopy without spending a dime of their own energy. Plants have tubes that develop pressures so large, they’d break an animal heart (literally). Anu Singh-Cundy will describe how plants from mosses to redwoods transport fluids and balance their absolutely critical relationship with water, and why tree rings and maple syrup are spinoffs from this balancing act. Anu teaches biology at Western Washington University.
January 17, 2018
The Hidden Role of Fungi in Plant Competition
Although mostly hidden from us, the symbiosis that forms between plant roots and soil fungi can influence plant success through direct and indirect effects on plant growth. This symbiosis, known as mycorrhizae, can increase plant uptake of nutrients (a direct effect) as well as provide protection from pathogens (an indirect effect). These are only examples of some of the effects of mycorrhizae on host plants. The kind and strength of effects vary with plant species and with the environment, making the role of mycorrhizae in plant communities hard to untangle. In this talk Rebecca Bunn will introduce us to mycorrhizae and discuss one experiment looking at the role of mycorrhizae on competitiveness of an invasive plant, spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), when growing with a native grass (Bromus marginatus).
Rebecca Bunn is an Associate Professor at WWU where she teaches on plant and soil interactions, contaminant movement in the environment, and biostatistical analysis at Huxley College. Her research explores how soil affects individual plants and competitive interactions among plants, with a focus on the mycorrhizal fungi component.
December 20, 2017
6 – 9 pm
4682 Wynn Road
Please join us at our annual winter potluck to enjoy a feast of food, and share stories about the year. Mark Turner and Natalie McClendon have again offered to host. Dinner will begin around 6:30 pm and we will finish off with a slideshow of highlights of the year. Bring a dish and a drink to share (last names A-M bring entrees, and N-Z bring a side or dessert). For those with photos to share, bring along a USB drive with up to 10 digital images.
November 15, 2017
Exploring the Galapagos with Fred Rhoades
Fred and Gloria took a National Geographic Expeditions tour of part of the Galapagos Islands in April, a trip all biologists who follow Charles Darwin dream of taking. The previous wet season from late 2016 to spring 2017 had been extra wet so the place was still pretty green and many plants were still in flower and/or leaf. Fred will trace their path through the islands and show photos of a few fungi, lichens, plants and, of course, the charismatic megafauna. Most of these will be in stereo 3-D.
October 18, 2017
Birds and Plants
Everyone knows that birds come to feeders full of seeds. There are a lot of seed-eating birds. But birds relate to our native plants in many more ways than that, both positive and negative, and Dennis Paulson will tell you how in an illustrated lecture. We will see how the plants you have in your yard can benefit the birds around you, and how the birds can benefit the plants as well!
Dennis Paulson is an evolutionary biologist by training and a naturalist at heart. He retired more than a decade ago as the Director of the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound, and he is busier than ever teaching, writing, and photographing the natural world.
September 20, 2017
Plant Walk and Scavenger Hunt
In lieu of our typical presentation meeting format, this month we will head outside to squeeze in a plant walk before summer’s end. We will meet as usual at the ReStore at 7pm to catch up on chapter business before heading outside for a walk along Whatcom Creek and plant scavenger hunt. We may then amble over to Menace Brewery for refreshments after dark.
June 21, 2017
Summer Kickoff Potluck
6 – 9 pm
2582 N Shore Rd
Abe Lloyd and Katrina Poppe would like to welcome you to their home for an outdoor potluck to welcome the summer. Dinner will begin around 6:30 pm. Bring a dish and a drink to share (last names A-M bring a entrees, and N-Z bring a side or dessert).
May 17, 2017
Restoration in a Human Landscape
Over the past 18 years, the City of Bellingham has worked with community partners to restore streams, shorelines, and forest. Currently, the City manages 125 acres of stream and shoreline and 1,740 acres within the Lake Whatcom watershed. Come hear how these projects are improving habitat conditions, the challenges of long-term management, and future restoration projects.
Analiese Burns is Habitat and Restoration Manager for the City of Bellingham. She is a Professional Wetland Scientist and former consultant with Northwest Ecological Services. When not at work, she enjoys hiking with her family, SCUBA diving, and digging in her garden.
April 19, 2017
Big Flowers, Few Pollinators: The Plants of the Central Aleutian Islands – Birthplace of the Winds
Mike Williams carried out his masters research in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska while at the University of Tennessee. He will introduce us to the wildflowers of these maritime tundra landscapes on these very remote, but lovely islands. His current research interest is a revision of the western North American barberries (Berberis). He has authored the Berberidaceae treatment in the two editions of the Jepson Manual of the Higher Plants of California. Mike is mostly retired but is teaching part-time in the biology department at WWU.
March 15, 2017
Plant Phenology, Tribal Peoples, and Climate Change
Brian Compton and Sonni Tadlock will discuss some aspects of plant phenology, traditional phenological knowledge of some Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, and how these relate to climate change. They will also introduce the Local Environmental Observers (LEO) Network program, which is a citizen science network documenting changes to the environment utilizing scientific, local, and indigenous knowledge. The network is creating a narrative of how climate change is impacting local communities, and connecting people of different backgrounds to explain some of the observations. Sonni will introduce the network and show you how you can get involved.
Brian D. Compton, Ph.D. is faculty in the Native Environmental Science Program at Northwest Indian College. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in botany from Eastern Illinois University, and his doctoral degree in botany from the University of British Columbia. His doctoral work was on the ethnobotany of several Upper North Wakashan and Southern Tsimshian First Nations.
Sonni Tadlock is the LEO Network Hub Program Coordinator at Northwest Indian College. She is a direct descendant of the Colville Tribe, and recently completed her B.S. in Native Environmental Science from Northwest Indian College.
February 15, 2017
Tales from the Yukon
Barry Wendling and Nolan Exe will share stories and botanical insights from a trip to the Yukon as a Western Washington University course. Barry is Herbarium Manager and Research Associate at WWU, and the immediate past president of the WNPS Koma Kulshan chapter. Nolan is a recent graduate from WWU.
January 18, 2017
What Do We Do Now? The WNPS Statewide Stewardship Program
There has never been a greater need for stewardship of our native plant habitats and the ecosystems in which they play foundational roles. Songbirds, iconic fish, and charismatic large mammals all ultimately depend on the habitat features that native plants provide. The aim of the WNPS Statewide Stewardship Program is to help members and other people in our chapters’ communities to acquire knowledge, skills, and inspiration that they can apply in the work of conserving, restoring, and increasing public understanding about those habitats and our native flora.
Jim Evans, WNPS’ State Stewardship Program Manager, will describe the program’s history, goals, and ways of working with chapters and partner organizations to meet community needs and interests. He’ll provide examples from successful programs that were presented in 2016 in Tacoma and Wenatchee and close with a discussion of where the program is going — and could go — in the future.
December 14, 2016
6 – 9 pm
4682 Wynn Road
Please join us at our annual winter potluck to enjoy a feast of food, and share stories about the year. Mark Turner has offered his studio again for the potluck. Dinner will begin around 6:30 pm and we will finish off with a slideshow of highlights of the year. Bring a dish and a drink to share (last names N-Z bring entrees, and A-M bring a side or dessert). For those with photos to share, bring along a USB drive with up to 10 digital images.
November 16, 2016
A Seedy (Under)world: Commercial Nursery Propagation of Native Plants from Seed
Have you ever wanted to grow your own, or wondered about mass production of native species? Come learn with Dylan Levy-Boyd about seed collecting and processing, genetics and seed transfer zones, seed propagation strategies, and seedling care. Dylan coordinates the propagation of 300+ species of native plants at Fourth Corner Nurseries in Bellingham, WA.
October 19, 2016
The Pyrogeography of Wildfires in the West
Climate change, building practices, and a century of fire policies have combined to leave many of our forests explosive. Wildland firefighters, trained for work in the backcountry, are increasingly expected to protect homes and communities. Meanwhile, fire-suppression costs are going up even in moderate years, and many people are pressuring wildland agencies to vastly increase the acreage of fuel reduction programs. Michael Medler will discuss many of the spatial considerations in this debate, presenting his findings about the spatial scale of some of the problems and the potential of some of the solutions. Dr. Medler is an associate professor at Western Washington University in the Environmental Studies department. He is a past president of The Association for Fire Ecology, and the founding editor of the journal Fire Ecology.
September 21, 2016
Boss Mosses: Reading Moss Landscapes in the Pacific Northwest
Contrary to what many believe, it is easy to recognize the most common mosses of our area without a microscope and, in most cases, without even a hand lens. Come hear about the fascinating lives of Pacific Northwest mosses and learn what they contribute to the local ecosystem. Kem Luther, a naturalist and writer, grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills and currently lives in Victoria, BC. He studied at Cornell, the University of Chicago, and the University of Toronto, and taught at Eastern Mennonite University, Sheridan College, York University, and the University of Toronto. His most recent book is Boundary Layer (Oregon State University Press, 2016), and he may have some available for sale at the meeting. You can find more information about Kem and his latest book here.
June 15, 2016
Summer Kickoff Potluck
6 – 9 pm
2582 N Shore Rd
Abe Lloyd and Katrina Poppe would like to welcome you to their home for an outdoor potluck to welcome the summer. Dinner will begin around 6:30 pm. Bring a dish and a drink to share (last names A-M bring a side or dessert, and N-Z bring entrees).
May 18, 2016
The Future of our Endemic Alpine Plants
Sam Wershow will present his research investigating climate change impacts to endemic alpine wildflowers of the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island. Sam is a graduate student in Eric DeChaine’s botany lab at Western Washington University. You may recall he presented his research proposal to us before embarking on his field work, mapping the distributions of rare species and describing their habitat preferences to predict how climate change will impact their distributions. Now we will find out what he has learned since then and how his project has evolved.
April 20, 2016
Flying Flowers of the Fourth Corner: The Butterflies of Whatcom County
To residents of lowland Whatcom County, a veritable wasteland for butterfly diversity, it may come as a surprise that a rich butterfly fauna resides in our area. As with native plants, the trick to finding this myriad of winged beauties is to know what to look for and where and when to look. Merrill Peterson will highlight an assortment of our more spectacular and interesting butterfly species, telling us about their habits and habitats, how to recognize them, and where some of the county’s butterfly ‘hotspots’ are located. Merrill is a professor of biology at Western Washington University, where he also curates the university’s insect collection. He has published numerous articles on insect ecology and evolutionary biology, and oversaw the creation of the Pacific Northwest Moths website. He is currently in the final throes of writing a field guide to Pacific Northwest insects, to be published by Seattle Audubon.
March 16, 2016
Forest Giants and Champion Trees
Are you captivated by old growth trees, with the unique ecosystems they harbor and the history they embody? James Luce will share with us stories and images of various old growth canopy research projects he has been involved in to learn more about these forest giants. He will also tell us about champion tree registries, managed by American Forests in the U.S.
James Luce is a local professional arborist that has been involved in canopy research projects. He is also a board member of Ascending the Giants (ATG), a non-profit organization that works to learn more about champion trees.
February 17, 2016
Examining the Bee’s Knees: Hidden Gems in the Corbicula
Heather Meadows is a well-renowned park at Mt. Baker Ski Resort that flourishes with colorful flowers during the spring and summer. Bumblebees that call Heather Meadows home can be deemed responsible for the expanse of this vibrant beauty. A mystery, however, still stands regarding what species of plants the bumblebees target. To answer this question, Beth Skoff has been working with Jim Davis to examine known and unknown pollen samples from Heather Meadows, and Beth will be presenting her findings to us. Beth Skoff is currently a student at Western Washington University studying Environmental Science. She will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in March 2016.
January 20, 2016
Wildfire Resilient Homes and Landscapes: “Firewise” in NW Washington
Jenny Hinderman and Al Craney of the Skagit Conservation District will provide an overview of the latest research on how to make your home and landscape more resilient to wildfire. Attendees will learn about efforts in the region to better prepare for wildfire in a changing environment and hear about free resources that are available to landowners.
Jennifer Hinderman is the Firewise Program Coordinator for the Skagit Conservation District, where she has worked for 15 years. She works with landowners and communities in Skagit County on wildland fire preparedness and planning. She also oversees the Firewise efforts of other Conservation Districts across the state, and helps to run a wildfire preparedness learning network. She graduated from Huxley College at Western Washington University.
Al Craney is a forester with the Skagit Conservation District. With 38 years of experience in natural resource management, fire, forest genetics, and forest ecology, he works with forest landowners to address their concerns about forest health. Previously, Al managed the WACD Plant Material Center in Bow, growing native plants, and also at the Seed Orchard in Coupeville, testing and improving tree seedlings.
December 16, 2015
6 – 9 pm
4682 Wynn Road
Please join us at our annual winter potluck to enjoy a feast of wonderful food and share stories about the year. Mark Turner has offered his studio again for the potluck. Dinner will begin around 6:30 pm and we will finish off with a slideshow of highlights of the year. Bring a dish and a drink to share (last names A-M bring entrees, and N-Z bring a side or dessert). For those with photos to share, bring along a USB drive with up to 10 digital images.
November 18, 2015
A Rare Care Affair
Over 350 species of native plants in Washington State are considered rare and imperiled. Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation (Rare Care) works with federal and state agencies to learn about these species, document their populations, and restore their populations. Wendy Gibble will introduce some of these rare plant species and their habitats, discuss why they are imperiled, and highlight efforts undertaken by Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation to conserve these plants. Wendy Gibble is the program manager of Rare Care and has been studying and learning about Washington State’s diverse flora for over 15 years.
October 21, 2015
Neither Tooth Nor Claw: How Plants Defend Themselves
All kinds of creatures want to dine on plants. How do plants deal with the onslaught of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and herbivores and omnivores of every kind? Which plant deals with marauding sheep by impaling them? Why do plants produce neurotransmitters, and hormones like estrogen and melatonin, that have no effect on plant tissues? How does their immune system compare to ours? Anu will explain the defensive strategies of plants, and you’ll sleep better knowing that your morning coffee and chocolate bonbons will be there for you…. as long as humans don’t mess things up for the whole planet. Anu Singh-Cundy teaches biology at Western Washington University.
September 16, 2015
Nooksack Place Names and Ethnobotany
How were places named in the original Nooksack language? Which places were named for plants and habitats? What plants were important to the Nooksack people, and where were they found? The story of Nooksack place names, plants, and habitats will be recounted in a slide presentation by Allan Richardson, anthropologist and researcher of Nooksack Indian culture and history.
Allan Richardson received an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington and taught Anthrolopology at Whatcom Community College for 38 years. He has published articles on Northwest Coast native culture and has served as consultant to the Nooksack Indian Tribe for a number of grants and legal cases. Mr. Richardson is co-author with Dr. Brent Galloway of the book Nooksack Place Names: Geography, Culture, and Language. He is also active in the Washington Native Plant Society, and lives on a small farm on the outskirts of Bellingham.
April 15, 2015
Native Plants and Pollinators in Subalpine Meadows
Jim Davis will review a research project examining impacts of climate change on native plants and bumble bees in the North Cascades. This plant phenology and bumble bee foraging project is currently being implemented at Heather Meadows by ten WNPS Koma Kulshan volunteers.
Jim is president of the not-for-profit group American Alps (www.americanalps.org). Jim has managed multiple research and advocacy projects addressing conservation and public health issues (e.g., public lands, water quality, endangered species, environmental tobacco smoke). He received his MS and PhD degrees in entomology from the University of Missouri and the University of California at Berkeley.
March 18, 2015
Managing the Green (and more): The Botany program of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
What does it mean to be a professional botanist for the second largest federal land management agency – the US Forest Service? Shauna Hee will explain the functions of a multiple land use land management agency, the National Environmental Policy Act, and managing for a diverse array of species (vascular plants, bryophytes, algae, lichens, and fungi). From inventorying whitebark pine in the Glacier Peak Wilderness to revegetating the Monte Cristo Mine repository – the job duties and work locales are diverse. Shauna Hee has been a botanist on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest since 2012.
February 18, 2015
Winter World: How Plants Cope With Bitter Cold
How do plants survive -60 degrees on the tundra? Why do some plants drop their leaves and how does that strategy compare with evergreen lifestyles? Anu will discuss the mechanisms plants use to deal with chilling and sub-freezing temperatures, with some amazing stories of botanical survival. Anu Singh-Cundy teaches in the Biology Department at Western Washington University.
January 21, 2015
Lichens: More Than Meets the Eye
Although lichens are diverse, fascinating and beautiful, and also more important than you might think, they often go unnoticed. Individual lichens include representatives of two and sometimes three of life’s kingdoms. As dual and treble “organisms” they resort to intriguing methods of reproduction. Disparate substrates such as conifers and hardwoods, granite and limestone, and biotic soil crusts play host to unique lichen communities. They occur in such diverse habitats as old power poles, the intertidal zone, and Antarctic nunataks. The presentation will be an illustrated overview of the biology of lichens as well as their relationships with plants and wildlife. Richard Droker is a Seattle based naturalist, specializing in geology, ornithology and more recently lichenology. Photography is a key element of his diverse pursuits, (see geology – an album on Flickr, all birds – an album on Flickr, Collection: lichen genera).
December 17, 2014
Please join us at our annual winter potluck to enjoy a feast of wonderful food and sharing stores about the year. Mark Turner and Natalie McClendon have graciously offered their house for the potluck. Dinner will begin around 7 pm and we will finish off with a slideshow of the highlights of the year. Bring a dish and a drink to share (names A-M bring salad or dessert, and N-Z bring entrees). For those with photos to share, bring along a USB drive with up to 10 digital images. Gather at 6:30 pm at 4682 Wynn Road, Bellingham.
November 19, 2014
568 Trees and Shrubs? No Sweat!
What does it take to craft a definitive field guide to the woody plants of the Northwest? Ellen Kuhlmann and Mark Turner will share some of their adventures along the way to their new book, Trees & Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest. How did Mark find and identify plants he’d never seen before? How did Ellen make sense of a thick stack of primary sources to pen descriptions that a mere enthusiast can understand? Hitchcock is a thick tome; how did they choose what to include in their portable guide? Why didn’t the willows come with labels like plants in an arboretum? Mark and Ellen, both members of our chapter, will have books for sale and signing pens in hand.
October 15, 2014
Botanizing in Siberia
Chapter members Eric DeChaine and Barry Wendling will share images and memories of the people, places, and plants they experienced while documenting the botanical diversity of South Central Siberia. Eric is an associate professor and Herbarium Curator at WWU, and Barry is our Koma Kulshan WNPS chapter president and collections manager for the herbarium.
September 17, 2014
Here’s your chance to catch up on the chapter field trips that you missed this summer. Abe Lloyd will present a slide show with many of the interesting photos he took from the field trips, narrated by Abe and our field trip coordinator, Allan Richardson. We had an action-packed summer with some exciting plant sightings! Come enjoy this photographic summer recap with us. Trip attendees may jump in with some exciting tidbits of their own too.
April 16, 2014
North Cascades — Above the Forest, Below the Ice
Mignonne Bivin will share with us new and ongoing plant monitoring projects in the North Cascades National Park Complex, including monitoring of alpine/subalpine plants such as Whitebark pine, citizen science butterfly monitoring, and their upcoming bio blitz. Learn more about current plant-related activities in our backyard national park, and how you may be able to get involved. Mignonne has been a plant ecologist with the North Cascades National Park since 2001.
May 21, 2014
An illustrated Flora of the Salish Sea
Dr. Linda Ann Vorobik, PhD Botanist and Botanical Artist, will present an illustrated talk on the flora of the islands of the Salish Sea, based on her years growing up on the south end of Lopez Island. Included in the presentation are a scattering of her botanical art; before and after the presentation she will have her art displayed and for sale, with 35% of the proceeds donated back to the chapter.
January 15, 2014
Protecting and Restoring our County Lands
Nick Saling will discuss Whatcom Land Trust’s conservation strategies and point out our stewardship activities and restoration efforts that will reveal the wealth of flora and fauna that we have on our lands. He promises some video clips scattered throughout the slide show to help demonstrate our county’s biodiversity.
Nick works with the Whatcom Land Trust as Director of Stewardship. Since graduating from the WWU Biology program, he has also been a Washington Conservation Corps Supervisor for the Department of Ecology and served with the U.S. Peace Corps doing coastal resource management work.
February 19, 2014
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Revising Hitchcock and Cronquist’s Flora of the Pacific Northwest
In 1973, Leo Hitchcock and Arthur Cronquist published their one-volume Flora of the Pacific Northwest, with illustrations by Jeanne Janish. Over 40 years later it remains a singular piece of scholarship and the standard against which regional floras are measured. Advances in both taxonomy and our knowledge of Pacific Northwest floristics require a revision of this outstanding work if it is to remain the primary flora for our region. David Giblin will cover background information regarding publication of the original Flora of the Pacific Northwest, why a new Flora is needed, as well as an overview for how the current Flora revision project is being conducted.
David Giblin has been the Collections Manager at the University of Washington Herbarium since 2002, and has made plant collecting expeditions throughout the Pacific Northwest. He is co-author of Alpine Flowers of Mt. Rainier, and one of several collaborators with Mark Turner on the recently released Washington Wildflowers plant identification app. In addition to the Flora revision project, he is an Editor and Board Member for the Flora of North America project and is currently working on a wildflower guide to the Olympic Mountains and a plant identification app for Idaho wildflowers.
March 19, 2014
Tidal wetlands and Climate Change Resilience
Though not very rich botanically, estuarine wetlands are some of the most productive habitats on the planet, thanks to their unique position on the border of river, land and sea. However this position also makes them particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts from all three realms, including sea level rise, lower summer river flows and altered sediment delivery. How do tidal wetlands respond to changes in their physical environment, and what does this mean for the functions they provide human communities, such as protection from storms?
Roger Fuller is a landscape ecologist with Western Washington University and worked for 12 years with The Nature Conservancy.
October 16, 2013
A Photographic Forest Fire Story
John Marshall will give us an overview of how fire worked historically across Washington State, how fire exclusion has changed forests, and how vegetation and individual plants respond. John’s presentation will be rich in photography, much of it showing repeated photos from the same sites. John has a B.S. in Fishery Science from Oregon State University, and a M.S. in wildlife resources from the University of Idaho. He works closely with the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest as a contract photographer.
November 20, 2013
Plants Dance with Fungi
Fungi interact with plants in myriad subtle but vital ways and can drastically affect the dynamics of an ecosystem. Kira Taylor will discuss plant-fungal relationships, the role fungi play in a healthy plant community, and the ecology of myco-heterotrophic plants, or plants that rely on fungi for energy. Kira Taylor is a Western Washington University graduate student with a focus on fungal ecology.
December 18, 2013
Marie Hitchman has graciously offered her house for the potluck (601 16th Street, Bellingham, WA). Please join us at our annual winter potluck to enjoy a feast of wonderful food and sharing stories about the year. Gather at 6:30 pm and feasting will begin around 7:00 pm. We will finish off with a slide show of the highlights of the year. Bring a dish and favorite drink (names A-M bring salad or dessert and N-Z bring entrees). Those with photos to share bring along a USB drive with up to 10 digital images.
September 18, 2013
City of Bellingham Habitat Restoration
Renee LaCroix will talk about the City of Bellingham’s urban habitat restoration efforts. She will discuss past and future sites along Bellingham’s lakes, streams and bays; results of several monitoring efforts; and the Habitat Restoration Master Plan. Renee is the Ecology and Restoration Manager for the City of Bellingham’s Public Works Department.
No meetings June, July, or August
May 15, 2013
Traditional Food Plants of Cascadia
Learn from Heidi Bohan about the once common important food plants that were part of the daily menu that predated the introduction of potatoes and processed foods along with harvest and preparation techniques using plants which played an important role in this traditional food system. Heidi may also bring copies of her book.
Heidi is an educator specializing in native plants and their traditional uses. She is the author of The People of Cascadia: Pacific Northwest Native American History. She is a member of the Snoqualmie Tribe Canoe Family and works for the Snoqualmie Tribe as a cultural advisor, ethnobotanist and consultant for their native plant resotration projects. She is also adjunct faculty for Bastyr University and teaches and serves on the advisory team for the Northwest Indian College’s Traditional Plants Program.
April 17, 2013
Pacific Northwest Moths
Lars Crabo will present a survey of various Pacific Northwest moths associated with specific habitats. Lars is an internationally recognized expert on moths and recently conceived of and contributed to the PNW Moths project.