Bees and biodiversity

Photo Jerry FreilichEntomologist Jerry Freilich, recently retired as Olympic National Park’s research coordinator, will present Bees and Biodiversity on Thursday, December 3 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.

A mushroom walk


Come and learn about mushrooms with the Natural History Society. Join mushroom enthusiast Caroline Robertson and naturalist Ken Wilson for an introduction to local mushrooms on Friday, November 20, at 10:00 am.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’ll look at the features that distinguish one mushroom from another and try our hand at identifying some of the common species we find. We’ll learn some ecological roles and astonishing facts. Come dressed for the weather and uneven terrain.

To make this a richer experience for all, the number of participants is limited. RSVP to Janell at


Nov/Dec 2015 Book Selection

beyond words photoIn order to accommodate holiday activities, the Natural History Society book club will have one meeting, rather than two, for the months of November and December.  We will meet on Monday, December 7, from 3:30 – 5:00, at Oma Landstra’s house. Contact Jean at for directions, if needed.

We will discuss Carl Safina’s book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. Amazon describes this book as weaving decades of field observations with new discoveries about the brain.  Safina writes about animal behaviors that challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals.  We will read stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love in various locations–in Africa, in Yellowstone National Park, in the Pacific Northwest. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy prompts us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals.  It is a “graceful examination of humanity’s place in the world.”


An outing to the Duckabush River

IMG_4692Come and visit protected wildlife habitat on the Duckabush River.

Natural History Society members Dave Rugh and Pat Rothman will lead an outing to explore two Jefferson Land Trust properties: the  Duckabush Oxbow Preserve and the Duckabush Wetlands Preserve.



Join us on Saturday, October 24 for an easy walk over uneven terrain. The Duckabush River provides spawning and rearing habitat for trout and salmon, and many animals and birds inhabit the area. This is an excellent place to look for signs of elk, bear, beaver, owls, woodpeckers and ducks.

Bring your camera, binoculars, a favorite field guide, lunch and water.

For sign up for this outing, and for meeting time and place, please contact Pat at

October 2015 Book Selection

wild treesThe JLT Natural History Society book club selection for October 2015 is The Wild Trees by Richard Preston.

The club will meet on Monday, October 26, from 3:30-5:00. Please RSVP to Jean at  for information on the location of the meeting.

Richard Preston’s nonfiction story of exploration of the canopy of tall trees (mostly Sequoia sempervirens in Northern California) is both an adventure story and a description of a new field of botanical research.  The explorers are young, college-age students who share a passion for the trees. These amateur botanists ignore the common wisdom that “there is nothing left to discover in North America.”  They master tree-climbing skills, and enter a world where humans have not been before.

Preston’s tale of some of the world’s tallest trees includes chapters on tall trees in Washington State and in Australia.