Highland Wonders is a monthly education series featuring the natural history of the Okanogan Highlands and surrounding areas. Come and meet some new people and enjoy refreshments; leave with a better understanding of your watershed.
The indoor series runs on the First Friday of the month, from November through May (skipping December). The outdoor series is offered during summer, and the schedule varies.
Tom Burke attended Tacoma Community College, then WSU, where he graduated in 1971 with a BS in Wildlife Biology. He was granted the designation as Certified Wildlife Biologist® by the Wildlife Society in 1979. Following college, Burke worked for the US Forest Service as a Forestry Technician, then became the first Wildlife Biologist on the Colville National Forest (1972 through 1992). He then moved to Olympia, where he worked for the Wenatchee National Forest in the office of the WA Dept. of Wildlife in an interagency exchange program, with the title of Priority Habitat Specialist. After the severe wildfires in 1994, he was transferred to the Entiat Ranger District to work on fire recovery, where he completed his career as wildlife, botany, ecology, and reforestation staff, retiring in 2002.
Burke became interested in mollusks while doing wetland surveys and working on parasite studies on the Colville National Forest. Finding no current guides to the identification of the western land snails, he began collecting data to develop those keys and has been focused on this effort ever since. In 1994, work on the Interagency Mollusk Taxa Team was added to his other duties, developing survey guidelines and management recommendations for 43 species of mollusks (24 land snails and slugs, and 19 aquatic snails and mussels).
Following his retirement in 2002, Burke has continued to work on mollusk surveys and identification under contract for various agencies and organizations. While doing surveys for the BLM in the San Juan Islands, he was asked to propose an identification guide for the inland mollusks. The result was a guide to Land Snails and Slugs of the Pacific Northwest, with photographs by Bill Leonard, published by Oregon State University Press in 2013. Approximately 250 species and subspecies are described in the book, “Land Snails and Slugs of the Pacific Northwest,” by Thomas E. Burke, with photographs by William P. Leonard (2013, OSU Press). The geographic area covered by this book includes all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana to the Continental Divide.
Event at a Glance:
When: Friday, November 4, at 6:30 pm. (Dinner benefiting the Community Cultural Center at 5:15 pm, followed by the presentation with tea, coffee and desserts.)
Cost: Presentation is free; dinner is $8 for CCC members and $9 for non-members; desserts by donation (benefit for the CCC).
Where: Community Cultural Center (CCC), 411 S Western Ave, Tonasket, WA
Donations are always welcome.
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To begin or renew your OHA membership and be first in line to register for the summertime events, please visit www.okanoganhighlands.org/support, or contact OHA for more information. To sign up for this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 509-476-2432. The starting time and location will be provided upon registration.
Please visit OHA's past events page to learn about other events that have been held in summers past. Each of these events was jam-packed with information tailored to the sights, sounds, and natural history of the highlands. The events are often full to capacity. Be sure to begin or renew your OHA membership for priority in signing up for this summer's events.
Questions? Contact OHA's Conservation Coordinator, Julie Ashmore: email@example.com