The Wenatchee World

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Latest Posts

Community Connections
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Susan Ballinger | Golden October

Low-angled, fleeting October sunshine sharpens the fall foliage display of our native deciduous shrubs and trees. My favorite tree this time of year is the larch, a species that breaks the rule that says a conifer tree must have evergreen needles. Larch needles turn golden orange in October, lighting up the mountainside with a shimmering glow. Come November, the ground below a larch is carpeted with soft brown needles and the tree’s bare branches make the tree look dead. In the Cascades and the greater Pacific Northwest, we have two ...
Community Connections
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Susan Ballinger | New guide points out our native shrubs, trees

June in the Wenatchee Valley is peak bloom time for many native shrubs that form dense thickets in foothill ravines and alongside streams. Have you caught a whiff of sweet citrus perfume wafting from Lewis’s mock-orange? Or, been reminded of crashing ocean waves by the frothy sea-foam flower head of oceanspray? Have you cracked a smile at the over-sized flat-topped white mass of flowers on the gangly blue elderberry?
Community Connections
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Susan Ballinger | Make it an adventure, don’t mention the hike

If you ask local parents who routinely take their children out on the trails of our region, they will likely advise you not to ask kids if they want to go on a hike — as most will reply with a resounding “no.” Instead, be a clever parent and describe an adventure destination that includes a picnic and downplay the fact that everyone will have to hike to get there!
Community Connections

Susan Ballinger | How you can connect with nature

Would you like to spend a few Saturdays this fall exploring our local river valleys, with a seasoned naturalist as your guide? Does it sound fun to linger stream-side on a gravel bar, with the warm September sun on your back, taking notes on what you see? Would you enjoy strolling beneath a grove of leafy cottonwood trees while trying to spot a bird calling overhead? If you’ve answered “yes,” consider signing up for the Wenatchee-based Wenatchee Naturalist course, a program of the Wenatchee River Institute. The fall course begins ...
Community Connections
Sagebrush

In appreciation of sagebrush

I like to joke that for us Eastsiders, the Washington state evergreen is actually big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), not the legislature-adopted Douglas-fir tree. In our arid region of low rainfall, cold winters and hot dry summers, big sagebrush grows five to eight feet tall, forming a canopy above a sea of grasses, smaller shrubs, and wildflowers.
Community Connections
Susan Ballinger

We can help keep nature in balance

Since early March, our foothills have been ablaze with a sequence of blooming wildflowers. Starting with sagebrush buttercup, over 50 different kinds have bloomed and set seed during the three months of spring in Wenatchee’s foothills. To ensure a repeat performance next year, we can all pitch in to help keep non-native weeds from taking over habitat needed by native plants. Consider dedicating 30-minutes and a bit of elbow grease to weed-pulling, either on your own property or along any of our community trail systems. In our lives filled with ...
Community Connections

Looking to the foothills for natural inspiration

In my “Culture of Conservation” column, I will focus on the Wenatchee foothills as a learning lab and introduce you to some of our valley’s remarkable native plants and animals. I hope to inspire you to get out into the foothills and to notice for yourself the natural history stories unfolding on the landscape. You can take the first steps toward becoming a naturalist by opening your eyes, looking carefully, and recording what you see with a photo, a sketch, or field notes.