Naturalist

Naturalist

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1,000 Words: The Worth of a Picture

My first time as a photographer “in the field” is stored in a place in my memory banks reserved for other indelible firsts — kiss, published story, time I set my eyes upon my daughters. I remember slogging along in a flooded farm field with a small group led by Paul Bannick, the renowned owl expert and photographer and Mountaineers Books author. Well, I was slogging at least; I’m sure Bannick was prepared, as usual, wearing some sort of waders. I was stepping daintily in my duck boots, fearful of sinking to my thighs in water and mud that smelled faintly of rotten eggs.  Read more…

Baker Lodge Photography Weekend - August 10-12

The photography and naturalists committees have teamed up for a weekend of events at Baker Lodge. This is a great opportunity to share our love of the outdoors together and develop an enhanced sense of connection. Read more…

Did You Know? Mt. Skokomish Wilderness

With its steep and rugged trail systems and its proximity to Olympia, the Mt. Skokomish Wilderness is a great training ground for the locals. It's not just for locals though - many of its mountains and trails are well worth traveling to visit.  Read more…

Olympia Naturalist Committee's First Events

Beginning in April 2018, seven Olympia Mountaineers made  monthly trips to Seattle to participate in the Naturalist course. Using that course as inspiration, we formed an Olympia Naturalist Committee and are developing a series of "Walks and Talks" featuring naturalist topics. Join us for these starting in August! Read more…

Olympia Branch Hiking and Backpacking Set For A Great Summer

Welcome to summer and all that it entails! At the Olympia Hiking & Backpacking committee, we've been very busy gearing up for summer. Learn what's new and say hello to Monty Pratt (pictured above, left), our newest committee member! Read more…

On National Nature Photography Day: Thank you photographers!

Today is National Nature Photography Day. Mountaineers Books and, especially our conservation imprint, Braided River, works with a number of amazingly talented and dedicated nature photographers. These folks frequently spend long hours alone in the wild capturing images that the rest of us would never see without them. These images have a huge impact on how we come to understand and feel about nature. Often their photos are the only reference we have for faraway places, and they move us to care about those environments. Nature photographers are on the leading edge of connecting us emotionally to the world that we depend on for all of our physical needs and for which degradation in a faraway place  affects the place where we live. Read more…

An unexpected encounter in the great Northern Temperate Rainforest

It’s very difficult to forget that we live in one of the world’s great rainforest ecosystems here in western Washington – the Northern Temperate Rainforest. After all, with very little coaxing (just a few decades), the trees grow tall and dramatic, the mosses and ferns quickly drape the fallen debris, and – lest you need a reminder – it rains a lot.  We are now in the midst of what my droll spouse likes to call “June-uary”, that nondescript but agonizing period from about May to mid-July when the rest of the country is bursting into spring and summer and we are just….drippy. Read more…

Happy World Otter Day! - Citizen Science Opportunity

Happy World Otter Day! Organized by the International Otter Survival Fund, this day aims to raise awareness of the 13 otter species worldwide and the threats they face. Locally, the Woodland Park Zoo is looking to understand the behavior of PNW otters and you can help! Read more…

Orcas of the Salish Sea

Resident orcas of the Salish Sea may be wild creatures, but satellite tags, drone images and individual health profiles are making them as familiar as family to researchers. The distinctively marked, largest members of the dolphin family that comprise the J, K, and L pods, also known as killer whales, are being studied inside and out. While scientists monitor the whales’ whereabouts, new babies, and what’s happening with food sources, they’re also analyzing the whales’ feces and blubber to better understand the health of individuals.  Read more…

How To Choose Binoculars

Having binoculars can make any trip more fun and memorable. At The Mountaineers, we aren't experts in the technology that goes into seeing far away, but lucky for us, our friends at Binoculars Today like to share! Read more…

Mason Bees: Raising Beneficial Pollinators

I had three Asian pear trees that were in decline. They weren’t producing much fruit and what did grow, didn’t have much flavor. I thought honeybees might be the answer. Mason bees are sometimes referred to as orchard bees, because of their super pollination power in the orchards. Read more…

Hikes, Bears & Brews: Playing Smart in WA's Bear Country

Did you know that Washington state is home to more than 25,000 black bears and two small populations of grizzlies? Spring is a great time to explore the natural beauty of our state and it’s also prime time to practice your bear awareness skills. Bears are highly active this time of year, waking from hibernation and looking for food. Read more…

Bears Ears Guidebook Author Answers Five Questions About The Monument

Morgan Sjogren’s new guidebook, The Best Bears Ears National Monument Hikes, came out in January, less than two months after the current administration reduced its boundaries by 85 percent. Published by Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) Press, Morgan’s book is the only guidebook published for this region. But Morgan, a writer, adventurer, and competitive trail runner, fell in love with Bears Ears while running in it and wanted to encourage others to explore this region, too. We asked her five questions  about the book and the Monument. Mountaineers Books is the worldwide distributor of CMC Press books. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Christine Grenier

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Christine Grenier, a hike leader with the Kitsap Branch who offers other Mountaineers the chance to slow down, look around, and enjoy the scenery. Read more…

Know Before You Go: Your First Mountaineers Hike

Maybe you’re an experienced hiker looking for a new community of outdoor enthusiasts. Or perhaps you have a bucket list with hikes to see a waterfall or lake, reach an overlook view point, or catch the wildflowers in peak season. Perhaps this is your first hike in decades, or ever! Regardless of why you’ve joined The Mountaineers on a hike, we are excited that you’re here, and we want to help you prepare to head out on your first hike with our community. Welcome! Read more…

Join Us For A Spring Photography Field Trip To See Your Favorite Places In A New Way

You can capture the magic of nature right in your own backyard. Join us this spring for field trips with our Seattle Photography Committee to explore a city lake, the waterfront, downtown, a ghost town, see migratory birds, and more! Read more…

Speaker Series Will Explore the Natural World - Mar 14

Each year, the Seattle Naturalist Committee provides a lecture series designed to delve into phenomena of the natural world. The events are open to everyone and no registration is required - just pay $5 at the door. Attendance is free for members of the Naturalist Study Group. Check out this season's talks! Read more…

Introducing Photography Workshops: Master Landscapes, Close-Ups, and Street Scenes

The Seattle branch Photography Committee has three workshops coming up between now through May, two of them brand new! Join us to learn how to  master landscapes, close-ups, and street scenes. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Danielle Graham

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Danielle Graham, a volunteer leader with the Foothills Branch who encourages aspiring leaders to glean tips and tricks from every leader they interact with, and who wants all members to feel valued and included in The Mountaineers' community. Read more…

Where and When to Photograph Nature in Washington

Sunny Walter was a dedicated Mountaineers member and passionate photographer, with a keen interest in the natural world. When she was Chair of our Seattle Photography Committee, she compiled a list of the best places and times to capture nature in Washington. Read more…

The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature, with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

I think what has made this book even more meaningful for all of us here is the subject itself—birds. When the project first came to us, photographer Gerrit Vyn used the title “Why Birds?” It’s a good question. Why do we care about them? What makes them so interesting and draws our attention? How is it that so many birds are iconic and for so many different reasons? Read more…

Colors of the West: En Plein Air - Oct 24

Join us October 24, at 7pm for the next Mountaineers Books Web Series event with Molly Hashimoto, author of the new book Colors of the West: An Artist’s Guide to Nature’s Palette. Molly is an award-winning artist and art teacher. In her book, Molly explains techniques for creating successful watercolor paintings en plein air, a French term meaning literally “in the open air.” Read more…

Introduction to Hiking - Oct 16 in Issaquah

Are you new to the Pacific Northwest and to giving hiking/backpacking a try for the first time? If you're not sure where to go, how to find compatible people to go with, what gear you need, or how to do it safely, join us on Monday, October 16 for a free seminar. Read more…

Webinar: A Sideways Look at Clouds - September 21

Join us on September 21 for the next Mountaineers Books Web Series episode with author Maria Mudd Ruth. Maria calls herself an accidental naturalist and has written more than a dozen books about natural wonders that have, one, fascinated her and, two, she became obsessed with learning about.  Maria’s new book, A Sideways Look at Clouds, shares her curiosity about clouds and what she’s learned about them—why there are so many variations, what they tell us, how far away they are, and why they are even there, among much more. Read more…

Photography Hikes During August 2017

At The Mountaineers, we love to hike! For members of our photography committee, we typically plan shorter, easier hikes to accomodate plenty of time to photograph nature. We took two hikes during the month of August 2017.  Read more…

Circumambulating Lake Washington

On March 8, 2017, Seattle Hike Leaders Kathy Biever and Julie Miller set out on the first of seven urban hikes to complete a circuit around Lake Washington. Their fun summer journey will be complete on September 6. Read more…

Find a Park, Drink Wine, Get a Discount - Sept 14

Fjallraven, a new outdoor clothing and gear brand in the Northwest, and Canoe Ridge Vineyard, a Seattle-based winery, are anxious to meet Mountaineers, show you what they offer, and give you a big discount - all while you learn about Seattle parks that you've probably never heard of. Read more…

Five Great Books For A Fresh Perspective in August

Although my bookshelf overflows with well-thumbed copies of our where-to hiking guides, these stories and how-to titles have each offered me a different way of seeing the world. Read more…

Following the 2017 “Super Bloom”

I’m not much interested in the names of flowers and plants, but I am a science geek and love to know the WHY of things. So as everyone's photos began to illustrate a dramatic, exuberant wildflower year on our trails this spring and early summer, I spent a little time seeking out what I could learn about the cause of the phenomenon – actually known in technical parlance as a ‘super bloom’[1]. Read more…

The Seeds of Thor

If you have breakfast at Thor Hanson’ home in the San Juans, you will experience the amazing variety of seeds: wheat in your pancakes, cotton for your pajamas, pepper in your bacon, jam from strawberries, and of course that most stimulating of seed brews – coffee. Read more…