On Tuesday, January 14, the Natural History Society examined old growth stumps and discovered what they mean to forest health. We walked approximately four miles at Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park on old logging roads and moderately maintained trails with little elevation gain. This is one of the largest lowland forests remaining in West Puget Sound.
Inspiration for this outing came from the Natural History Society Book Club’s October 2019 selection, Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land, by Robert M. Pyle. The author wrote, “… a good stump is a wonderful thing to teach the watchful naturalist.” This gave many of us unexpected insights. We encouraged everyone to share 2-3 sentences from Wintergreen on this walk.
Many community partners launched a visionary campaign in 2011 to conserve Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park and surrounding forestland and coastline from the timber industry and over-development. There’s a new vision and hope for the forest, restoring it as a more natural ecosystem. What better place to share thoughts and new hope for 2020?
What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World by Jon Young
Deep bird language is an ancient discipline, perfected by Native peoples the world over. Finally, science is catching up. This groundbreaking book unites the indigenous knowledge, the latest research, and the author’s own experience of four decades in the field to lead us toward a deeper connection to the animals and, in the end, ourselves.
If you’ve participated in the Jefferson Land Trust Natural History course, you’ve been introduced to the idea of a “sit spot,” a special place outdoors that you regularly spend time just watching and listening. That concept is derived from the teachings of this author, Jon Young, and is discussed in more detail in this book.
Please join us at the Pink House next to Port Townsend Public Library on Monday, January 27th, 3:30-5:00 p.m. to talk about what we learned from the book and to share your experiences with listening to birds. We’ll also share with everyone some news from our special “sit spot.”
On December 6, 2019, the Natural History Society walked through the Kinney Point State Park, approximately 3/4 mile on a moderately well-maintained trail through a mature Douglas-fir, cedar, and maple forest on the southern end of Marrowstone Island.
Kinney Point was transferred to State Park property from State School Lands because of the exceptional old growth habitat. The trail ends at the ‘kayak camp’ just up from the cobble beach at the mouth of a shallow ravine. The majority of the shoreline is high, steep bluff, so access to the beach is challenging. The forest is quite beautiful and there are also opportunities for the hale and hearty to explore off trail.
Although we don’t usually limit numbers on our outings, this outing was limited to the first 12 participants to request attendance.
Our December 2019 natural history book club selection is Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape by Barry Lopez. Originally published in 1986, Arctic Dreams won the National Book Award and remains a classic in natural history literature. Lopez offers a thorough examination of this obscure world-its terrain, its wildlife, its history of Eskimo natives and intrepid explorers who have arrived on their icy shores. But what turns this marvelous work of natural history into a breathtaking study of profound originality is his unique meditation on how the landscape can shape our imagination, desires, and dreams. Its prose as hauntingly pure as the land it describes, Arctic Dreams is nothing less than an indelible classic of modern literature. Please join us to share in discussion and your personal experiences in arctic wildlands.
We’ll be meeting at the Pink House next to the Port Townsend Public Library on Monday, December 9th, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. After the discussion, we’ll be making a list of suggested reading for February-July 2020. We’ll be e-mailing the list to all book club participants to vote for their top 6. If you have any titles you’d like us to consider, please e-mail Kathy at email@example.com and I’ll add it to the list. Keep in mind that we prefer books on natural history topics that are related to the Pacific Northwest.
On November 8, 2019, the Natural History Society explored the Quimper Lost Wilderness in our own Cape George backyard.
This outing was led by Steve Grace – local naturalist, author, and educator – who happened upon this 30-acre stand of old growth forest and then spearheaded the effort to recognize its value and protect it. We not only saw this sacred place but also got to hear firsthand about the efforts to preserve it. We walked approximately one mile across some uneven ground.
Eileen at JLTnatural@saveland.org provided meeting time and place, suggestions for what to bring, and additional information.