Spring song of the Dungeness River

719The Natural History Society is honored that naturalist and poet Tim McNulty, author of Olympic National Park: A Natural History, will lead a hike on Sunday, April 19.

Our hike will be a short foray into the heart of the rainshadow  Olympics, where we’ll visit handsome old-growth fir and hemlock stands  as well as fire-influenced forest communities suggesting eastern  Washington and even the Rockies, with Rocky Mountain juniper,  lodgepole pine, and yew.  We’ll find red and blue alder, kinickinick,  manzanita, and evergreen huckleberry in the understory.  We’ll look for chocolate and fawn lilies, anglewing  butterflies, and listen to the spring song of the Dungeness in the canyon below.

518The hike is short, only about 5 miles round-trip, but steep in places with uneven terrain,  and has some elevation gains and losses, ranging between 1500 feet at  the trail head and a high point of around 3000 feet elevation.

Dress  for weather.  Bring plenty of water, lunch, and your favorite field  guide.  A sit-down pad might be handy (our lunch spot is rocky).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpace is limited, and carpools will be planned. RSVP to Pat for details at  jltnatural@saveland.org

April Book Club Selection

Final forestThe Natural History Society book club will meet at 3:30 pm on Monday, April 27 to discuss The Final Forest, by William Dietrich.

This book, first published in 1992 as The Final Forest: The Battle for the Last Great Trees of the Pacific Northwest, was updated and rereleased in 2010 as The Final Forest: Big Trees, Forks and the Pacific Northwest. Readers may choose either version.

For location and RSVPs, please contact Pat at jltnatural@saveland.org  

The local battle scene of this book’s subtitle is Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, but the conflict raged, and still rages, over the entire Pacific Northwest, Washington, D.C., Alaska, and other locales that face the dilemma of preserving natural resources versus exploiting them. Dietrich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, presents in an easy-to-read narrative style the point of view of various participants in this war, from the logger whose way of life is threatened to a biologist concerned with saving the Northern spotted owl. No easy solutions to the struggle between the forest industry and environmentalists emerge from this book, but hopeful signs include the increasing awareness on the part of Forest Service personnel and the logging industry that careless, sometimes ruthless, exploitation of the remaining old growth forest is no longer feasible or even possible.  Before Forks, a small town on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, became famous as the location for Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight book series, it was the self-proclaimed “Logging Capital of the World” and ground zero in a regional conflict over the fate of old-growth forests. Since Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist William Dietrich first published The Final Forest in 1992, logging in Forks has given way to tourism, but even with its new fame, Forks is still a home to loggers and others who make their living from the surrounding forests. The new edition recounts how forest policy and practices have changed since the early 1990s and also tells us what has happened in Forks and where the actors who were so important to the timber wars are now.  

William Dietrich, a former science writer for the Seattle Times, is the author of Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River and Natural Grace: The Charm, Wonder, and Lessons of Pacific Northwest Animals and Plants, as well as popular fiction.Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award

Point Williams Beach Walk


Please join us on Thursday, March 26 for a walk on the beautiful shoreline of Point Wilson on the Miller Peninsula just outside of Sequim. With the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains, we hope to see a variety of waterfowl and also enjoy some of the unique species of marine life that only a low tide can share. We will meet at Fat Smitty’s at 2:30 pm and carpool. There is plenty of parking at the site for those who want to meet us there.

To reserve your place and get directions, contact Janell at jltnatural@saveland.org


March Book Club Selection

The Natural History Society Book Club will meet at 3:30 – 5:00 pm on Monday, March 23, to discuss Rachel Carson’s books about the sea. Choose from The Sea Around Us, Under the Sea Wind, or The Edge of the Sea. Feel free to read any (or all!) of these books, then come and share your impressions, reactions, ideas, and questions with other book club members.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964) spent most of her professional life as a marine biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By the late 1950s, she had written three lyrical, popular books about the sea, including the best-selling The Sea Around Us, and had become one of the most respected science writers in America.

Sea around usThe Sea Around Us. 

This classic work remains as fresh today as when it first appeared. Carson’s writing teems with stunning, memorable images–the newly formed Earth cooling beneath an endlessly overcast sky; the centuries of nonstop rain that created the oceans; giant squids battling sperm whales hundreds of fathoms below the surface; and incredibly powerful tides moving 100 billion tons of water daily in the Bay of Fundy. Quite simply, she captures the mystery and allure of the ocean with a compelling blend of imagination and expertise.

Under the sea windUnder the Sea Wind

In her first book, Rachel Carson tells the story of the sea creatures and birds that dwell in and around the waters along North America’s eastern coast—and the delicately balanced ecosystem that sustains them. Following the life cycles of a pair of sanderlings, a mackerel, and an eel, Carson gracefully weaves scientific observation with imaginative prose to educate and inspire, creating one of the finest wildlife narratives in American literature.

Edge of the SeaThe Edge of the Sea

“The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place.” A book to be read for pleasure as well as a practical identification guide, The Edge of the Sea introduces a world of teeming life where the sea meets the land. A new generation of readers is discovering why Rachel Carson’s books have become cornerstones of the environmental and conservation movements.

Contact Pat at jltnatural@saveland.org for location and directions.

Focus on Lichens

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost of us don’t pay much attention to lichens when we walk in our beautiful northwest forests and parks.

These ancient and successful organisms, which are not plants, are composites of fungi and algae. Extremely varied, they can resemble dust, or rags or even hair.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoin the Natural History Society at 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm on Friday, February 27, for a closer look at these fascinating organisms.

We’ll begin with a walk in the park to pick up fallen specimens, then we’ll go to the microscopes to study our findings in detail. You’ll never look at lichens the same way again!

To reserve your place and get directions, contact Pat at jltnatural@saveland.org