A challenging summer hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoin us on Friday, July 18, for an all-day hike up to Marmot Pass. Our intrepid leader, Sally, reminds us that this challenging hike is 10.6 miles round-trip, with an elevation gain of 3,500 feet. Sally suggests we come prepared for cooler weather, wear good hiking shoes, and bring plenty of water and food, as conditions in the mountains can change quickly. The scenery will be spectacular and there should be many wildflowers in bloom at that time, so you might also want to bring cameras and field guides.

This hike will be limited to 12 participants, due to Buckhorn Wilderness regulations. To sign up, contact Pat at JLTnatural@saveland.org

For more information about the trail to Marmot Pass go to http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/marmot-pass-upper-big-quilcene

A Forest Service pass is required at the trailhead.


July Book Club Selection

BarcottThe JLT Natural History Society book club will meet at 3:30 pm on Monday, July 28, to discuss Northwest Passages: A Literary Anthology of the Pacific Northwest from Coyote Tales to Roadside Attractions, by Bruce Barcott.

In this vibrant anthology about the region and its people, editor Bruce Barcott endeavors to define the literary soul of the Northwest. Spanning two hundred years, Northwest Passages brings together writing from such natives, notables, and newcomers as Chief Seattle, Rudyard Kipling, Jack Kerouac and Sherman Alexie.

Please email Pat at jltnatural@saveland.org for more information and for directions to the meeting place. We look forward to seeing you there!

June Book Club Selection

David DouglasThe JLT Natural History Society book club will meet at 3:30 pm on Monday, June 23 to discuss The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest, by Jack Nisbet.

From 1823 to 1834, Scottish plant collector and naturalist David Douglas explored what is now Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, and the impact he had continues to be enormous today.

The Collector tracks Douglas’s fascinating history, from his humble birth in Scotland in 1799 to his botanical training under the famed William Jackson Hooker, and details his adventures in North America discovering exotic new plants for the English and European market.

The book takes readers along on Douglas’s journeys into a literal brave new world of then-obscure realms from Puget Sound to the Sandwich Islands. In telling Douglas’s story, Spokane-based naturalist Jack Nisbet evokes a lost world of early exploration, pristine nature, ambition, and cultural and class conflict with surprisingly modern resonances.

To RSVP, and for locations and directions, please contact Pat at jltnatural@saveland.org



May Book Club Selection


DirtThe NHS Book Club will meet at 4:30 pm on Monday, May 26 to read, Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, by William Bryant Logan.

Logan, a columnist for The New York Times, combines science and philosophy with a quirky curiosity about why the universe works the way it does to create this beautifully written celebration of the birth, death, and regeneration of the soil and the human connection to it.

In these brief, elegant essays, the author raises the concept of dirt to new levels. Logan looks at soil formation and development. His topics range from quarries and the foundations of cathedrals to graveyards and earthworms, from husbandry in ancient Rome to composting in Florida. Logan pays tribute to the dung beetle as a symbol of renewal; he notes that dirt is the source of many drugs that work against infectious diseases (penicillin, streptomycin). He discusses the many forms of clay and the agricultural practices of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and the Iroquois. Dirt is a natural history of the soil and our connection with it. -Publishers Weekly

Whether Logan is traversing the far reaches of the cosmos or plowing through our planet’s crust, his delightful, elegant, and surprisingly soulful meditations greatly enrich our concept of “dirt,” that substance from which we all arise and to which we all must return.

To RSVP and to get location and directions, please contact Pat at jltnatural@saveland.org

Experiencing birdsong


Please join us at 7:00 pm, Thursday, June 5, for an exhilarating multimedia excursion into the nature of birdsong by veteran educator, ecological field guide, and bird expert Ken Wilson.

The mysteries of birdsong have long delighted and intrigued humans. Observers of nature have pondered questions such as the purposes of singing and calling, whether birds have a sense of music—or sometimes sing simply for the joy of it—and why some birds don’t sing at all. In his presentation, Ken will share recent scientific insights on the functions and ecology of birdsong, including examples from the Olympic Peninsula’s diverse birdlife. He will also explain ways to improve the ability to recognize birds by enhancing listening skills. “Regardless of your experiences as a naturalist, improving your ability to distinguish the ‘voices’ of birds will deepen your enjoyment and knowledge of them,” he says.



Ken’s personal and professional focus on the natural world spans nearly 50 years.  His background includes earning a Bachelor’s degree in neurobiology and animal behavior from Cornell University, and a Masters in applied science engineering (water resources) from the University of Washington.  He has conducted field studies in arctic, temperate, and tropical ecosystems, ranging from Alaska and the Western states to Hawaii, and participated in numerous projects focused on birds. He has taught natural-history-related classes in public and private schools, lectured at the college level, and worked as a field ecologist guide for Elderhostel educational travel programs. He has shared his experience and teaching wisdom in a nationally available book, Tools for Energized Teaching, published in 2006. A resident of Port Townsend for more than a decade, Ken has been a frequent contributor to the KPTZ “Nature Now” program and an enthusiastic leader of outings for local organizations.

Ken’s evening presentation will be followed by local birding  trips on Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7. Details and the opportunity to sign up will be available at the presentation.

This event will take place at the Cotton Building, 607 Water Street, in Port Townsend.

Open and free to the public, with a suggested donation of $5 to help defray costs.