Category Archives: History of hikes and outings

The Emergence of Spring: Lyre Conservation Area and the Mouth of the Elwha River

Rhododendron macrophyllum

Rhododendron macrophyllum

Come experience the obvious and the less-than-obvious changes that occur with the emergence of a Pacific Northwest spring.

Join the Natural History Society on Tuesday, May 7, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm to observe a rich variety of life through the lens of ecological relationships as well as through the lens of the purely aesthetic. 

Elgaria coerulea (Northern Alligator Lizard)

Northern Alligator Lizard

This will be a day of discoveries, insights, and fun, as we visit both the Lyre Conservation Area and the mouth of the Elwha River, both on the Strait of Juan Fuca, west of Port Angeles. 

Carpools will be organized. Non-drivers should be prepared to pay their driver $12 for gasoline. RSVP to Eileen at for additional information.

Herring and Birding at Fort Flagler

Join the Natural History Society on SaturdayMarch 23, for a two-part outing exploring Fort Flagler. First, Biological Technician Willie Richards will lead a late morning tour of the USGS- Marrowstone Marine Field Station. He will explain their research on Pacific Herring and the focus on disease and pathology. Willie will also tell us about some of the highlights of his experience with USGS, including field sampling in Cordova, Alaska, and capturing wild Pacific Herring in the nearby waters of Puget Sound. For background on herring:

Test your herring knowledge

Bald Eagle

After our tour of the USGS Field Station, we will eat our picnic lunches and wander a bit in Fort Flagler to look for seabirds and other birds. Naturalist and expert birder Ken Wilson will lead our birding.

RSVP to Eileen at JLTnatural@saveland.orgfor details about when and where to meet, as well as information about disinfectants required before entering the USGS Field Station.

Birdsong at North Beach

Redwing Blackbird

Join the Natural History Society on Saturday morning, April 13, for a bird walk focusing on birdsong. Expert naturalists Ken Wilson and Dave Rugh will lead an exhilarating outing teaching us to recognize some of our common birds by their songs. They will share insights on the functions and ecology of birdsong, and enhance our listening skills and appreciation of beautiful spring mornings. 

White-crowned Sparrow

We will walk through the North Beach neighborhood, mostly on level ground with some small hills. Be prepared for any weather by dressing in layers, and bring binoculars and a field guide, if you have one. Please RSVP to Nan at for details and to find out time and meeting location.


January/February Outings

A Winter Hike for the New Year

Whidbey Stones

Join the Natural History Society on Friday, January 4,  from 8:45 am –
5:00 pm for a winter hike at Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island. Named
after the first European settler on Whidbey, Ebey’s Landing is
comprised of state, national, and private parcels totaling 17,400
acres. We’ll walk across fields to golden bluffs that tower above the
surf, then drop down (a bit steeply) to wander along a beautiful beach
and gaze at the snowcapped Olympic Mountains.

Nereocystis luetkeana (Bull Kelp)

We will take the ferry
(reservations required) and begin at the Prairie Overlook for a
5.2-mile lollipop loop-hike with about 300 feet of elevation gain and
loss. RSVP to Janell at Please indicate
whether or not you are able to drive so carpools can be established.

If you are not driving, please plan to compensate your driver for the
ferry fee plus $5 for gas.

Walk the Wildlife Corridor

Male Pileated Woodpecker

Walk four miles with the Natural History Society on Friday, January
25, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm between North Beach and Middlepoint through the Quimper Wildlife Corridor (QWC). The QWC is a conservation partnership led by Jefferson Land Trust. Lands within the corridor are owned and protected by the Land Trust, the state, county, city, and private landowners.

Licorice Ferns

According to Sarah Spaeth at the Land Trust, QWC “is important for managing storm-water and keeping our local water clean. It also creates an urban wildlife refuge that provides natural habitat and safe passage for mammals, birds, and amphibians. For Port Townsend’s growing population, it provides open space and recreational trails.” RSVP to Lee:

Winter ID—Appreciating Plants All Year Long

Join the Natural History Society on Wednesday, November 28, for a
morning exploring Fort Worden with botanist Cheryl Lowe.

Identifying plants in the winter involves looking for different clues than at other times of year. These clues also give us an increased
appreciation for things that we might not notice when flowers or fruits are so obvious. Bark patterns, bud scales, prickles or spines,
branching patterns, or maybe a few lingering berries are the winter characteristics we notice now. Please bring your binoculars and a hand lens, as well as a field guide, if you have them. Trails are in good shape, but there may be some wet sections.

RSVP to Lee at and she will provide details about when and where to meet.