Category Archives: Uncategorized

Flower Families of Mt. Ellinor

Eriophyllum lanatum (Oregon Sunshine)

Join the Natural History Society on Wednesday, July 17, for a summer hike up rocky Mt. Ellinor. We are fortunate that botanist Coca Sanchez will lead us on her annual wildflower walk for the Natural History Society. This time she will take us up a steep mountain to seek endemic wildflowers. Coca will discuss some of our most common flower families, pointing out any blooming species.


Chamaenerion angustifolium (Fireweed), Eriophyllum lanatum (Oregon Sunshine), Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)

Mt. Ellinor is known for its wildflower meadows and spectacular views from rocky ridges. We will hike from the upper trailhead to the summit, hoping to see views of Lake Cushman and the surrounding Olympic peaks.

RSVP to Eileen at for meeting time and place, what to bring, and additional information.

Insects at the Illahee

Insects at the Illahee

Paddle-tailed Darner (Aeshna palmata)

Join the Natural History Society on Saturday, June 15, for a summer afternoon exploring insects at the Land Trust’s Illahee Preserve. Entomologist Richard Lewis will lead us on a short hike to look in open space, clearings, forest edges, the forest, and aquatic environments.

Tribe Chironomini
A member of Non-biting Midges Family Chironomidae

Richard will tell us about insects and their role in the natural world. He will discuss different types of insects we find here and their life histories and roles in nature. Richard will introduce a variety of sampling techniques including sweep nets, aerial nets, aquatic nets, traps, and beat trays. In each area we will also look for and discuss evidence of insects such as feeding damage, nests, tracks, and prey.

Harpaphe haydeniana (Yellow-spotted millipede)

RSVP to Nan at for meeting time and place, what to bring, and additional information.

November/December 2018 Book Selection

The Jefferson Land Trust Natural History Society book club will gather for its final 2018 session on Monday, December 3, 2018. We will meet at the Pink House next to the Carnegie Library in Port Townsend, from 3:30-5:00.

The book selected for November/December is Upstream: Searching for the Wild Salmon, from River to Table by Langdon Cook.

Upstream is a look at the intersection of man, food, and nature. Cook takes us on a tour of the areas where salmon live, from Alaska to the Pacific Northwest to the Central Valley of California. He covers all sides of the debate over salmon: the legacy of overfishing and industrial development; the conflicts between fishermen, environmentalists, and Native Americans; the modern proliferation of fish hatcheries and farms; and the longstanding battle lines of science versus politics, wilderness versus civilization.

Langdon Cook is the author of The Mushroom Hunters, which we read in October 2016.

The Hoh River Trust – preserving a last great American river and its corridor

hoh-river-1On Thursday, October 6, 2016, the JLT Natural History Society sponsored a presentation on the remarkable history and stewardship efforts of the Hoh River Trust. Executive Director Mike Hagen explained how the trust was formed to obtain and manage lands along the Hoh between the Olympic National Park and the Pacific Ocean.

Of the roughly 250,000 rivers across the continental US, the Hoh is arguably one of the most unspoiled. It flows virtually intact for 56 miles from its source high in the Olympic Mountain range down to the Olympic National Marine Sanctuary. The river corridor contains what many consider the world’s richest old-growth and temperate rainforests. These ecosystems provide critical habitat for endangered and threatened species including marbled murrelet, spotted owl, and bull trout, along with diverse other wildlife, such as elk, black bear, cougar. The river itself supports some of the healthiest native salmon and steelhead runs in the “Lower 48.”

hoh-river-2Within the lower reaches of the river, 30 miles beyond the Olympic National Park boundary, some 10,000 acres encompassing a mile on either side of the river are designated “at risk.” Over the last century, much of this area was managed for commercial timber harvest, and it is now in various stages of regeneration. Restoring the vitality and resilience of these lands for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and humans is the mission of the trust. In its short, twelve-year history, the trust has already acquired nearly 7,000 acres.

Bats: Gentle friends, essential allies

CA myotis batThe JLT Natural History Society was pleased to sponsor a presentation on local bats by biologist Sarah Schmidt of Whidbey Island, on Monday, May 9, 2016, at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend.

Did you know that Washington is home to fifteen species of bats? Bats are vital players in their native habitats. Many are considered “keystone species” because so many other animals and plants depend on them to survive. Fruit-eating bats disperse vast quantities of plant seeds and are critically important in re-greening damaged lands. Nectar-sipping bats pollinate innumerable plant species, particularly white-blossomed ones. The widespread, nightly consumption of tons of flying insects by bats is an enormous service to humans, their crops, and domestic animals.  And, entire industries have been based on the uses of nutrient-rich bat guano.

Sarah Schmidt is a long-time educator and advocate for the appreciation and protection of bats. She shared stories and photos on bat behavior and adaptations, their importance to the balance of natural systems, and threats to their health and conservation.

For more information on Sarah and our local bats, see this excellent article on “Living with bats on Whidbey Island” at