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 ...
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.
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 ...
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.