Let’s look at moss!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMosses are everywhere in our parks and forests; we find them covering fallen logs and rocks, growing up the trunks of trees, and hanging from branches. We’re so used to seeing moss in the background that we don’t pay much attention to it.  At first glance the mosses in the forest may all look alike, but they’re not!


Join Pat Rothman and members of the NHS at 10:00 am on Saturday, February 20, for a two-mile walk and a closer look at these tiny, fascinating plants.

Way leaved cotton moss 2We’ll talk about the characteristics of different mosses, such as leaf shape, growth pattern and specific location, so you can learn to recognize some of the most common ones in our area.

Dress for the weather in layers. This will be an easy walk, but the trails may be muddy. Bring a hand lens if you have one.

Participation is limited. Please contact Pat at jltnatural@saveland.org


February 2016 Book Selection


feathers cover

February’s Natural History Book Club selection is Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson.  We will meet on Monday, February 22, from 3:30-5:00.  Contact Jean at jltnatural@saveland.org to RSVP and for location.

Feathers are an evolutionary marvel, dating back more than 100 million years.  This expansive natural history looks at feathers from many viewpoints–as insulation, as enabling flight, as protection, as adornment and beauty.  Thor Hanson’s book is based on the research of ornithologists, paleontologists, biologists, engineers, and art historians.  He combines personal storytelling with scientific information in a most entertaining manner.  Hanson resides in the San Juan Islands.  He spoke at the Port Townsend library recently about his latest book Seeds.

Identifying winter twigs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinter twigs, Saturday, January 9

We all love going out into our parks and wilderness areas with field guides to identify the buds, blossoms, leaves and berries of local trees and shrubs, but how do we identify those seemingly lifeless branches in the middle of winter?

Join the Natural History Society on January 9, 2016 for an investigation of winter twigs and learn ways to identify trees and shrubs  when they are in their dormant period.

349Our guide, Cheryl Lowe, Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee and Beach Watchers Coordinator, will lead us on a winter walk to learn about woody plants in their dormant period.

This will be a short walk of about two miles over uneven terrain.  Dress for the weather in layers, and wear sturdy boots for this outing.  Bring binoculars for winter bird watching, bring cameras and field guides, and maybe even bring a thermos of hot chocolate! We will be out for approximately two hours.

mail.rothman.netTo sign up for this outing, and for further information, please contact Chris at JLTnatural@saveland.org.


January 2016 Book Selection

gathering moss

The Natural History Society Book Club will discuss Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer on Monday, January 25, 2016, from 3:30 – 5:00. We will meet at Wendy Feltham’s house.  E-mail Jean at jltnatural@saveland.org for directions, if needed.

Gathering Moss  is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection, inviting readers to explore and learn from the simple lives of mosses.  It is not an identification guide, nor is it a scientific treatise.  It is a series of personal essays that leads readers to an understanding of how mosses live and are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings–from salmon and hummingbirds to redwoods.  Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses, at the same time reflecting on what these largely unnoticed organisms have to teach us.


Bees and biodiversity

Photo Jerry FreilichEntomologist Jerry Freilich, recently retired as Olympic National Park’s research coordinator, will present Bees and Biodiversity on Thursday, January 7, 2016, at 7:00 pm at the QUUF.

Most people can name perhaps three or four kinds of bees. They are incredulous to learn that there are actually close to 4,000 species of native bees in North America and this does not include honey bees (which are non-native). One of Freilich’s most recent projects was an effort to find and identify as many bee species as possible in Olympic National Park.

Grindelia integrifolia Entire-leaved GumweedThis talk will explain why bees are so difficult to study. Most are tiny, fast-flying and inconspicuous. They go about their jobs, don’t interact with people, and generally fly below human radar.

Join us for this special program to learn more!

The program begins at 7 pm in the QUUF’s sanctuary hall on San Juan Avenue, Port Townsend. This event is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of five dollars.