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Highland Wonders ~ Upcoming

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.

In Search of Dragons and Damsels: a field trip with Dennis Paulson, July 23rd

Last year, Dennis Paulson, one of the most knowledgeable naturalists in the Northwest, provided a profusely illustrated lecture as part of the indoor Highland Wonders series. This summer, he will share his interest in the biodiversity and biology of dragonflies and damselflies by taking a group outdoors. The numerous lakes in the north Okanogan have diverse dragonfly and damselfly faunas. On Saturday, July 23, Dennis will provide a hands-on field experience focused on the lives of dragonflies and damselflies in our region. We will take a group into the field to visit several lakes in areas such as Molson and Mt Hull, beginning and ending the day in Tonasket, visiting a variety of habitats used by dragonflies for breeding, feeding, and completing their life cycle. We will see how many species we can identify, and watch for interesting territorial and reproductive behaviors that these species display. We will carry a few nets to capture individuals to show them in the hand, as a close-up look is a great way to augment seeing them in the field. We will also try to scoop some larvae/nymphs from the water to view the other part of their life cycle.    Dennis Paulson

Dennis Paulson holds the view that natural 
history is our most important science.

Dragonflies and damselflies are often called birdwatchers’ insects. Active and brilliantly colored, these four-winged predators fly everywhere over pristine wetlands. Their very different-looking larvae are dominant predators in the water below. They have the best vision and the most versatile flight of any insects, and their sex life is similarly superlative. 

Dennis would say there are no insects more interesting than dragonflies and damselflies. They are common, but because of their association with wetlands, many people go through life with little contact with these wonders of nature. “Any well-rounded naturalist should have that contact, and this is such an opportunity,” Paulson says. “We have to preserve our natural ecosystems, as much for ourselves as for the animals and plants with which we share the world. Understanding those systems and their animals and plants are essential to their conservation. Thus natural history is our most important science.”

Due to the nature of the outdoor event, participation is limited, and priority registration will be offered for OHA members. A waiting list will be generated on a first-come, first-serve basis. To begin or renew OHA membership and be first in line to register for the summertime events, community members can donate online, or contact OHA for more information. Further details will be provided to those who register for the field trip. To sign up for this event, please email or call 509-476-2432.

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To begin or renew your OHA membership and be first in line to register for the summertime events, please visit, or contact OHA for more information. To sign up for this event, email 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: