September 2017 Book Selection

The Natural History Society book club’s selection for September 2017 is The Oyster War: The True Story of a Small Farm, Big Politics, and the Future of Wilderness in America by Summer Brennan.

The book club will meet on Monday, September 25, 3:30-5:00. For further information and location, contact Jean at

The Oyster War is the story of a long battle about wilderness protection of land in the Point Reyes, CA area, including Drakes Estero.  Included in that area was an oyster farm first established in the 1930s. The National Park Service informed the owner of the oyster farm that its lease would not be renewed past 2012, and the rancher vowed to keep the farm in business, even if it meant taking his fight to the Supreme Court.  Environmentalists, national politicians, scientists, and the Department of Interior all joined in the long battle that had the potential to influence the future of wilderness for decades to come.



Elwha Dams Removal Tour and Hike

Join the Natural History Society for an overview of the largest dam removals in the world so far — the demolition of the Glines Canyon Dam, which formed Lake Mills, and the Elwha Dam, which formed Lake Aldwell.

Jean Mann has kindly planned our visit to three sites on Tuesday, August 15, meeting at 9:00 am to carpool and returning by 5:00 pm.

We will start at the Glines Canyon Dam overlook, where there are extensive views of the Elwha River both above and below the former dam, and take the marked trail less than a mile to the riverbed.

The trail passes through revegetated areas of the former Lake Mills and leads to terraces of sediment, now covered with lupine. It is not a steep trail, but hiking shoes are advised, and hiking poles might be helpful where the trail crosses a little stream.

We’ll then visit the Elwha River interpretive center, where murals and signage outline the history of human interaction with the Elwha River.

Finally, we’ll drive to the mouth of the Elwha, where there is now a beautiful sandy beach, as a result of the Elwha River again being free-flowing.

Bring a lunch, water, layers of clothing, hiking shoes, binoculars, and possibly hiking poles.

RSVP to Jean at for location and details about carpooling.

August 2017 Book Selection

Product Details

Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean by Jonathan White will be the focus of our book club on Monday, August 28, 2017.  We will meet at the Ilahee Preserve from 3:30 – 5:00.  Contact Jean at for directions or any questions.

We will have a special guest at our gathering–author Jonathan White will join us!

Writer, sailor, and surfer Jonathan White takes readers across the globe to discover the science and spirit of ocean tides. His book includes such diverse accounts as hunting for mussels under the Arctic ice with an Inuit elder, racing a 25-foot tidal bore in China, and the growth of tidal power generation in Chile and Scotland.  Tides is a combination of lyrical prose, adventure travel, and scientific inquiry into the elemental, mysterious paradox that keeps our planet’s waters in constant motion. Photographs, scientific figures, line drawings, and sixteen color photos dramatically illustrate this expert tour of the tides.


A summer hike

Join the Natural History Society for a summer hike on Tuesday, July  11th, to Hurricane Ridge with native plant buffs, Coca Sanchez and  Dana Ecelberger. Coca and Dana are local landscapers, Rare Care  volunteers, and graduates of the Land Trust’s first Northwest
Naturalist course.

We will carpool from Port Townsend to the road up to Hurricane Ridge. From there we plan to hike the Roaring Winds/Obstruction Point Trail,  a 6.4-mile round-trip hike with 1,400 feet elevation gain. Difficulty  level is moderate. No dogs allowed, per the National Park rules.

Obstruction Point Trail is the highest trail in the Park, passing  through alpine country and great viewsheds. There is a strong  possibility that we will run into snow, so bring layers for
temperature fluctuations. We expect to see early season wildflowers  such as Glacier Lily, Phlox, Frittilarias, and orchids.

Please bring your knowledge, curiosity, plenty of food and water, field guides of your choice, binoculars and hand lenses. Hiking boots,  a hat, and hiking poles are recommended. A group of 12 or less is  preferred, but we won’t turn anyone away. In case the trail is  impassable due to snow, we will hike the Mount Angeles Saddle Trail.

To RSVP, please contact Lee at

July 2017 Book Selection

Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature will be discussed on Monday, July 24, 2017.  We will meet at the Ilahee Preserve from 3:30 – 5:00.  Contact Jean at for directions or any questions.

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, published in 1962, did more than any other single publication to alert the world to the hazards of environmental poisoning and to inspire a powerful social movement that would alter the course of American history. This definitive, sweeping biography shows the origins of Carson’s fierce dedication to natural science–and tells the dramatic story of how Carson, already a famous nature writer, became a brilliant if reluctant reformer. Drawing on unprecendented access to sources and interviews, Lear masterfully explores the roots of Carson’s powerful connection to the natural world, crafting a ” fine portrait of the environmentalist as a human being” (Smithsonian).