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INSTAGRAM X MOSES COULEE

Earlier this month, we got together with some of the top Washington creatives on Instagram to explore our Moses Coulee Preserve. Each of them are extremely talented photographers and storytellers, and have quite the following on Instagram. For most, it was their first time explore the arid lands in Washington. As we journeyed on, we got to know each one a little better and have amazing memories to look back on, on this trip and see the amazing work we are doing in this part of the state.

Group:

Bethany Olson

Cory Staudacher

Benjamin Schuyler

Eric Kimberlin

Travis Gillet

Don Macanlalay

Forest Eckley

Caleb Babcock

Ariana Babcock

Kari Davidson

Erik Hedberg

Filson

Moment Lenses

FAMILY DINNER IN OLYMPIA  It felt more like a family dinner than a legislative event. The recent Tribal dinner at Washington’s Capital Building featured some big names, including Governor Jay Inslee, legislators, agency directors and more than a dozen tribal leaders. But despite all the titles, the evening had the air of a family reunion complete with storytelling and friendly banter. The Nature Conservancy in Washington was honored to be invited to this gathering.  As tribal leaders rose to introduce themselves, share stories and joke with other tribes, it was easy to see the importance of community. We are in this together. All of us, from tribal members to legislators to Nature Conservancy leaders, believe in the value of nature in our state. Working together as a community, we are better positioned to solve tough environmental challenges, carry out innovative programs and find the best ways to care for people and nature. 
 Our inclusion at the Tribal dinner was an honor and recognition of the value we put in our relationship with our region’s tribes. Their partnership is vital to our work in communities and nature. Their history, knowledge and insights lead us towards creative solutions that preserve nature and support communities. We can’t do it without them and were thrilled to be a guest at their family dinner.

FAMILY DINNER IN OLYMPIA

It felt more like a family dinner than a legislative event. The recent Tribal dinner at Washington’s Capital Building featured some big names, including Governor Jay Inslee, legislators, agency directors and more than a dozen tribal leaders. But despite all the titles, the evening had the air of a family reunion complete with storytelling and friendly banter. The Nature Conservancy in Washington was honored to be invited to this gathering.

As tribal leaders rose to introduce themselves, share stories and joke with other tribes, it was easy to see the importance of community. We are in this together. All of us, from tribal members to legislators to Nature Conservancy leaders, believe in the value of nature in our state. Working together as a community, we are better positioned to solve tough environmental challenges, carry out innovative programs and find the best ways to care for people and nature.

Our inclusion at the Tribal dinner was an honor and recognition of the value we put in our relationship with our region’s tribes. Their partnership is vital to our work in communities and nature. Their history, knowledge and insights lead us towards creative solutions that preserve nature and support communities. We can’t do it without them and were thrilled to be a guest at their family dinner.

CEDAR RIVER RESTORATION

Scientists and staff from the Nature Conservancy’s Washington office had the unique opportunity to explore our floodplain management work on the Cedar River, with ecologists and representatives from the local government. The Cedar River Watershed the main source of drinking water the city of Seattle. It is amazing to see our hard work and collaborative efforts come to life to keep Washington beautiful.

Music:
“Silhouettes” by The OO-Ray (http://15people.net)

Keep up with The Nature Conservancy’s latest efforts to protect nature and preserve life on Twitter (http://bit.ly/eDzkmN) and Facebook (http://on.fb.me/pSsCIr)

KIDS + NATURE = ADVENTURE  A mom reflects on greeting the new day with her daughter & the value of the great outdoors.  BY JODIE TOFT, MARINE ECOLOGIST FOR THE NATURE CONSERVANCY IN WASHINGTON 
 Part of me would’ve loved if my daughter’s first word had been “crepuscular”. Not “twilight”, “dawn”, or “dusk”. “Crepuscular” - that crusty sounding word that, if said, would have confirmed my nerd genes had successfully been passed on to my daughter. But also a sign that perhaps she notices something deeply special about the time of day when, in my eyes, nature is at its finest.   The push and pull between night and day makes for a good show. The black and white of night cedes to the colors, letting in blues first and then the rest. Birdsong and wind wake the trees. While I appreciate dawn and dusk in the city, it’s when I’m camping that they resonate the most.   For the past three years, my husband and I have taken our daughter (and now son, too) camping with our friends and their daughter at Mount Rainier. I’m not going to lie. It’s absolutely exhausting. We backpack 2 miles in to our campsite, manage somehow to set up camp, eat something besides trail mix for dinner, and settle into our tents for what few would call a good night’s sleep, if it’s to be called sleep at all. But from these mild tribulations are borne wonderful rewards. The greatest glee from chasing frogs, throwing rocks, climbing over, under, and through anything in sight. Looking for deer, watching birds, huckleberry plucking. It’s all fair game.   On our trip last year, my daughter woke just before sunrise, as usual. She was already closer to me than my own skin, having burrowed throughout the night. We groggily made our way out of the tent, me wishing that zippers were silent so as not to wake her baby brother. I knew we had at least an hour before the rest of our illustrious crew would emerge from the tents. An hour or so just for us. We walked down from our campsite into a meadow, and found a rock to sit on. After breathing in the air and watching the sky begin to turn colors, she noticed the moon, perched just above the hills surrounding our meadow. We spent the next hour watching the moon, walking back and forth on a trail through the meadow and noticing the world wake up.   Being outdoors makes me happy. Watching my kids outdoors makes my really happy. I can only assume they’re taking it all in and hopefully becoming richer people for the experiences. I think they are.  At 5:30 the other morning I heard my girl get out of bed, fumble with the door and trundle her way to our room. I expected to hear a mild lament of hunger or cold or fear of the closet. Instead, she whispered in a soft, slightly incredulous voice, “Dad, Mom….look outside…did you see the moon? It’s a sliver. It’s beautiful.”. And she climbed into bed. The word “crepuscular” means nothing to her. But she gets it. I know that. Her first word? “Ball”, just like the moon.

KIDS + NATURE = ADVENTURE

A mom reflects on greeting the new day with her daughter & the value of the great outdoors.

BY JODIE TOFT, MARINE ECOLOGIST FOR THE NATURE CONSERVANCY IN WASHINGTON

Part of me would’ve loved if my daughter’s first word had been “crepuscular”. Not “twilight”, “dawn”, or “dusk”. “Crepuscular” - that crusty sounding word that, if said, would have confirmed my nerd genes had successfully been passed on to my daughter. But also a sign that perhaps she notices something deeply special about the time of day when, in my eyes, nature is at its finest. 

The push and pull between night and day makes for a good show. The black and white of night cedes to the colors, letting in blues first and then the rest. Birdsong and wind wake the trees. While I appreciate dawn and dusk in the city, it’s when I’m camping that they resonate the most. 

For the past three years, my husband and I have taken our daughter (and now son, too) camping with our friends and their daughter at Mount Rainier. I’m not going to lie. It’s absolutely exhausting. We backpack 2 miles in to our campsite, manage somehow to set up camp, eat something besides trail mix for dinner, and settle into our tents for what few would call a good night’s sleep, if it’s to be called sleep at all. But from these mild tribulations are borne wonderful rewards. The greatest glee from chasing frogs, throwing rocks, climbing over, under, and through anything in sight. Looking for deer, watching birds, huckleberry plucking. It’s all fair game. 

On our trip last year, my daughter woke just before sunrise, as usual. She was already closer to me than my own skin, having burrowed throughout the night. We groggily made our way out of the tent, me wishing that zippers were silent so as not to wake her baby brother. I knew we had at least an hour before the rest of our illustrious crew would emerge from the tents. An hour or so just for us. We walked down from our campsite into a meadow, and found a rock to sit on. After breathing in the air and watching the sky begin to turn colors, she noticed the moon, perched just above the hills surrounding our meadow. We spent the next hour watching the moon, walking back and forth on a trail through the meadow and noticing the world wake up. 

Being outdoors makes me happy. Watching my kids outdoors makes my really happy. I can only assume they’re taking it all in and hopefully becoming richer people for the experiences. I think they are.

At 5:30 the other morning I heard my girl get out of bed, fumble with the door and trundle her way to our room. I expected to hear a mild lament of hunger or cold or fear of the closet. Instead, she whispered in a soft, slightly incredulous voice, “Dad, Mom….look outside…did you see the moon? It’s a sliver. It’s beautiful.”. And she climbed into bed. The word “crepuscular” means nothing to her. But she gets it. I know that. Her first word? “Ball”, just like the moon.

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ELLSWORTH CREEK PRESERVE

What Conservancy forester Kyle Smith does in the forest might shock some Nature Conservancy members. As The Forest Manager for The Nature Conservancy Preserves on the Washington Coast, Kyle is charged with developing healthy forests on Nature Conservancy land and amazingly, he spends a fair bit of his time overseeing logging operations. Yes, logging!

The idea of cutting trees on Nature Conservancy land may feel wrong, but it actually leads to important results for humans and nature. The southwestern Washington forests are some of the most productive on earth. For over a century they’ve been heavily logged. These clear-cut lands are replanted, but the result is not always a healthy forest with the habitat requirements that many wildlife species need to survive and flourish. That’s where Kyle comes in.

With a Forest Management and a Natural Resource Management degree, Kyle is responsible for the 8,000 acre forest restoration project known as the Ellsworth Creek Preserve located in the far southwest corner of the state. Much of the land there suffers from being clear-cut, then replanted creating a forest of packed-in, equal sized, single-species trees competing for light and resources while failing to create the varied and natural habitat birds and animals need to thrive. Like a doctor, Kyle diagnoses tracts of land and creates prescriptions to return them to ecological health. Often that prescription involves selective harvesting of trees to favor a diverse presence of tree sizes and species that were once present on the landscape. Following a thinning, additional trees and plants may be added in an effort to restore the natural diversity of plants that once graced the area.

Kyle may not truly see the results of his work because a return to a more natural state takes decades or longer. Initially after selective logging, he sees a lot of tall stringy trees – trees that previous shot up as high as possible to beat out other trees for light. In the years following thinning, those trees will put down broad roots then begin to grow larger in diameter, increasing their canopy sizes, as trees in that area once were. Returning to this more natural state is a slow process, but there are immediate environmental benefits such as development of a forest understory where before it was too dark and shaded for much of anything to survive. This forest understory provides forage for many species such as elk and a large variety of forest related birds.

Success requires long term commitment. Since 2006, The Conservancy has thinned more than 3800 acres in the region. But there are many thousands of acres waiting for thinning and restorative work that will create a healthier forest for plants, birds, animals and humans.

While it might feel strange for the Nature Conservancy to be running a logging operation, the impact is significant. Local sustainable jobs provide important support for communities in the region. The logs generate income for The Nature Conservancy, money that can be funneled right back into restoration and conservation work. Most important, the end result is healthier forest giving birds and animals the opportunity to thrive, sheltering streams where salmon can breed and creating recreational opportunities for humans.

So if you ever happen to see a logging truck carrying logs with The Nature Conservancy logo on them, don’t be shocked! It’s all part of the meticulous, scientific process of restoring forest health.