Category Archives: History of presentations

Wolf Talk

JLT Natural History Society and Western Wildlife Outreach joined on Thursday, October 16, 2014, for an entertaining evening of “Wolf Talk” with David Moskowitz, well-known wildlife tracker and author of Wolves in the Land of Salmon. Moskowitz will share stories, images, and video clips from the recent OR7 Expedition, which retraced the wanderings of a young male gray wolf, who traversed more than 1,200 miles through Oregon and into California.

The wolf dubbed OR7 was captured and outfitted with a GPS collar in 2011 by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, to follow his journey via satellite signals across multiple mountain ranges, a vast desert, and past numerous towns and cities along the way. OR7 made international news as he wandered to California, becoming the first wolf to be documented there in 90 years. In the spring of 2014 Moskowitz, along with a filmmaker and other stalwart participants, launched an expedition to follow the approximate path of OR7 on foot and by bicycle. The adventurous mission led the team to fresh insights on what it means to share the landscape with large carnivores in the contemporary world.

David will be joined by local carnivore experts, Lorna and Darrell Smith, of the non-profit Western Wildlife Outreach (WWO), who will discuss Washington’s recovering gray wolf population. WWO is a Port Townsend based organization dedicated to providing accurate, science-based information on bears, wolves, and cougars. The organization aims to promote wildlife-safe communities, at the same time striving to restore and maintain healthy populations of these iconic animals, whose roots in the Pacific Northwest extend to millions of years ago.

David Moskowitz is a professional wildlife tracker, photographer, and outdoor educator. He has contributed his technical expertise to a wide variety of wildlife studies, employing tracking and other non-invasive methods to study wildlife ecology and promote conservation. Moscowitz helped establish the Cascade Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project, whose participants search for and observe rare and sensitive wildlife in the Cascades and other Northwest wildlands.

The Natural History Society is an offshoot organization of the Jefferson Land Trust. It was founded in 2012 to foster active exploration, appreciation, understanding, and conservation of the diverse natural environments of the Olympic Peninsula and beyond.

The “Wolf Talk” program will take place at 7:00 pm, Thursday, October 16, at the Cotton Building, 607 Water Street, Port Townsend. This event is free and open to the public. A $5 donation will help defray the costs and support future programs.

 

Experiencing birdsong

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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.

 

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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.

Earth is a Solar-Powered Juke Box

Hempton fishing for sounds

Hempton fishing for sounds

On March 6, 2014, we joined for a unique acoustic tour around the world with internationally acclaimed acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton. We listened to sunrise circle the globe, heard snow melt and whales sing, and discovered that the Earth is music—clear enough to hum all day.

His passion for natural environments and their signature sounds have led Hempton to circle the globe three times to document and record them. He speaks widely on the importance of listening and the evolutionary consequences of human hearing sensitivity being attuned to the natural environment and capable of detecting sounds over great distances. In Hempton’s words, “Silence—that is, the sounds of nature—is an endangered species. Yet, far from being a luxury, silence is an essential requirement of a full life, the think tank of the soul.”

Hempton at Rainier National Park

Hempton at Rainier National Park

Hempton provides professional audio services to media producers, including Microsoft, Smithsonian, National Geographic, and Discovery Channel. His sound portraits also were featured in the national PBS television documentary, “Vanishing Dawn Chorus,” which earned him an Emmy.

Hempton has garnered awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise and, most recently, the National Hearing Conservation Association, for his efforts to heighten public awareness of the hazards of noise. He is also co-author of One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Quest to Preserve Quiet and the creator of a project that documents the increasing incursion of human-caused noise into natural environments, based in Olympic National Park.

For a taste of Hempton’s work, visit his website, Quiet Planet.

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

7:00 pm, Thursday, March 6, at Quimper Unitarian Universalist, 2333 San Juan Avenue, Port Townsend.

Coexisting with large wild carnivores

D.Smith-WolfThe JLT Natural History Society sponsored a presentation on “Coexisting with Large Carnivores on the Olympic Peninsula and across Washington” on January 23, 2014, by Lorna Smith, Executive Director of Western Wildlife Outreach (WWO) and Darrell Smith, WWO Wildlife Biologist. The talk was illustrated with the couple’s photos of the State’s four top carnivores—grizzly bear, black bear, cougar, and gray wolf—in their natural habitats. The event was held at the Cotton Building (607 Water Street) in Port Townsend.

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“Large carnivores such as bears, cougars, and wolves are highly controversial in a world now almost completely managed by humans, and people may question whether they belong now in ‘our’ world,” Lorna Smith says. However, these animals play critical and underappreciated roles in maintaining healthy ecosystems and balanced natural environments, and when their populations decline or are wiped out profound environmental impacts occur. “These mammals were all but eliminated from the Lower 48 by the late 1930’s and early ‘40’s, she says. “Their absence has caused overpopulations of prey animals such as elk and deer, the spread of disease among these animals, and radically altered landscapes in many, many places.”

D.Smith-GrizzlyThe Smiths shared historical perspectives on changes in large carnivore populations around the Olympic Peninsula. As the number of black bears and cougars has slowly increased to more natural levels during recent decades, human encounters with them have become more frequent, so the presenters also addressed how to live, recreate, and work safely in cougar and bear country. They also discussed the status of Washington’s gray wolf population, newly established in the State after an absence of almost 70 years.

The nonprofit Western Wildlife Outreach is dedicated to providing accurate, science-based information on bears, wolves, and cougars. The organization aims to promote wildlife-safe communities, at the same time striving to restore and maintain healthy populations of these iconic animals, whose roots in the Pacific Northwest extend to millions of years ago.

This presentation was free and open to the public. Donations were appreciated to help defray the costs.

Fires and Forests

FireOn October 17, 2013, we joined for a presentation by fire ecology photographer John Marshall on “Fires and Forests in Washington—Past, Present, and Future.”

John’s presentation covered fire history in our state, including the Olympic Peninsula. He also highlighted the critical role of fire in ecosystems, and the hazards and policy issues surrounding wildfire management.

This event, co-sponsored by the Speakers Bureau of Humanities Washington, was held at the Cotton Building (607 Water St., Port Townsend). It was free and open to the public. $5 donations were appreciated to help defray costs.