Butterflies of the Rain Forest and Rain Shadow


Calling all butterfly lovers! The JLT Natural History is pleased to kick off its 2015 season of evening programs on Monday, January 12 with a dazzling presentation by the award-winning Washington writer and naturalist, Robert Michael Pyle. His topic, “Butterflies of the Rain Forest and Rain Shadow” will be lushly illustrated with photos and lore amassed over his decades of studying butterflies and aiding in their conservation around the world.

Butterflies live at the pleasure of the weather and the climate, so how particular species adapt to temperature and rainfall, and interact with their companion plants, influences which varieties people are likely to encounter on outings, Pyle notes. Bob will introduce the audience to many of the butterfly characters that that grace our region, both those adapted to the wet western greenwood—including beauties inhabiting areas around Jefferson County—and species that thrive east of the Cascades, where the rainfall drops off.  He’ll also discuss how the changing climate is already altering the diversity and numbers of Northwest butterflies.

RMP at Sta BarbaraHighly acclaimed as the author of the definitive guides, Butterflies of Cascadia and the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, Pyle has published sixteen other nonfiction books, as well as hundreds of articles, essays, stories, poems, and scientific papers. His rich academic background in natural history, ecology, and conservation have supported his leadership in a host of conservation projects and organizations. In 1971, he founded the international Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and later chaired its Monarch Butterfly Project. He also served as founding chairman of the specialist group within the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that focuses on Lepidoptera, the scientific order encompassing moths and butterflies. Closer to his home base in Gray’s River, Washington, Pyle work as Northwest Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy. For his expert work on butterfly ecology and conservation Pyle has earned numerous prestigious awards.

Wearing his other career cap, Pyle has lectured and taught environmental and place-based writing and field courses worldwide. In recent years he has served as a visiting professor at Utah State University and the University of Montana, and in the 1990s he was on the faculty of nature writers that criss-crossed the U.S. on “The Forgotten Language Tours”, sponsored by Orion, the literary nature magazine.

This JLT Natural History Society event will take place at 7 pm, at the Port Townsend Cotton Building on Water Street. The presentation is free and open to the public. A $5 donation will help pay the costs for this and future programs.


January Book Club Selection

Highest Tide

The Natural History Society Book Club will meet on Monday, January 26, 3:30 to 5:00 pm to discuss The Highest Tide, by Jim Lynch.

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O’Malley sneaks out of his house and goes exploring on the tidal flats of Puget Sound. When he discovers a rare giant squid, he instantly becomes a local phenomenon shadowed by people curious as to whether this speed-reading, Rachel Carson obsessed teenager is just an observant boy or an unlikely prophet.

The Highest Tide is a poignant coming-of-age story and a gripping novel of natural wonder about one boy’s enchantment with the sea during a summer that will change his life, and the lives around him.

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






February Book Club Selection

Big burn

The Natural History Society Book Club will meet on Monday, February 23, 3:30 to 5:00 pm to discuss The Big Burn, by Timothy Egan.

On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men—college boys, day workers, immigrants from mining camps—to fight the fire. But no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them.

Egan narrates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force. Equally dramatic is the larger story he tells of outsized president Teddy Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by and preserved for every citizen.

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

January bird walk at Gardiner Lagoon

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABring your scopes, binoculars, cameras and field guides to the Gardiner Lagoon – a favorite overwintering site for many different types of birds. Join naturalist Kathe Cook at 9:00 am on Tuesday, January 20 to observe a variety of ducks, geese and other birds at the lagoon and out in the bay.

This outing will last approximately two hours.  The terrain is easy, so wear comfortable shoes and dress for winter weather.

A light drizzle is okay, but if it’s raining we’ll postpone until the following Tuesday, January 27.

324From Port Townsend drive west on SR101 and turn right onto Gardiner Beach Road. (If you pass the Wild Bird Store, you’ve gone a bit too far.) Turn left into the parking area at the bottom of the hill.

To RSVP and for more information, please contact Kathe at jltnatural@saveland.org

December Book Club Selection

Jump offThe Natural History Society Book Club will meet on Monday, December 15, from 3:30 to 5:00 pm to discuss The Jump-Off Creek, by Molly Gloss.

This is the unforgettable story of widowed homesteader Lydia Sanderson and her struggles to settle in the mountains of Oregon in the 1890s. The Jump-Off Creek gives readers an intimate look at the hardships of frontier life and a courageous woman determined to survive.

For location and directions, contact Wendy at jltnatural@saveland.org