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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 April (skipping December). The outdoor series is offered in spring through fall, and the schedule varies.

Friday, February 1 ~ 
“Soil science and story: 
Connecting the worlds below and above our feet”
with Luke Cerise 

 Luke Cerise
Luke Cerise inspects a soil sample at Triple Creek in 2015

Soil Scientist Luke Cerise will return to the Highland Wonders educational series to build community understanding of the stories hidden beneath the ground in our local soils — and how this understanding can help shape the way we manage our landscapes. Luke will discuss soil memory, and how inherent soil characteristics are retained even when dramatic changes happen above ground, which can help us interpret the history of the landscape. Community members will learn about how soil remembers water saturation many years after soil dries out, how cycles of freezing and thawing speak about changes over long periods of time, and other events from the past that can be viewed in a soil profile. Luke will describe some common soil types in our area and why soil types are significant to plants and the rest of the ecosystem, and will demonstrate how private landowners can access soil maps and information using the NRCS Web Soil Survey program. 

Event at a Glance:

When: Friday, February 1, 2019, at 6:30 pm. Dinner benefiting the Community Cultural Center (CCC) at 5:15 pm, followed by the presentation with tea, coffee, and desserts.

Cost: Presentation is free; dinner is $9 with desserts by donation (benefit for the CCC). 

Where: Community Cultural Center of Tonasket, 411 S Western Ave

Other Upcoming Events:

March 1, 2019
A Deeper Vision: Wes Wehr and the Okanogan Highlands
(Indoor presentation at the Community Cultural Center of Tonasket)

Wesley Wehr was a child of western Washington who from an early age showed talent in music, visual arts, and the ability to connect with a wide variety of people. He also developed a real passion for fossils and gemstones, often traveling to eastern Washington to seek out new treasures. “In the desert at night,” Wehr later wrote, “looking at the basalt cliffs and the full moon above them, I began to visualize what the landscape had once been.”

Wehr combined his artistic feel for geologic time with knowledge of living and fossil plants to become one of the premier amateur paleobotanists in the world. Beginning in the late 1970s, he turned his attention to the Okanogan Highlands, digging extensively around Republic and across the border near Princeton, British Columbia. He was instrumental in assembling the combination of scientific and local educational facilities at the current Stonerose Interpretive Center and visualized the formations between the Cascades and the Rocky Mountains as fertile ground for long-term, sustainable study.   
Join us as we explore how Wes Wehr experienced and helped to reveal hidden dimensions of the Okanagon Highlands.

This event is provided in partnership with Humanities Washington and the North Central Regional Library. 

Humanities Washington     North Central Regional Library

April 5, 2019
Butterflies of the Okanogan
with Caitlin LeBar
(Indoor presentation at the Community Cultural Center of Tonasket)

Okanogan County is host to 124 of the 155 butterfly species recorded in Washington. Caitlin will speak about some of the ecogeographical aspects that contribute to this incredible diversity, what species you can expect to commonly find and some of the more reclusive species to watch for. Also learn how you can contribute to ongoing research by photographing and recording data through various methods. Two of Caitlin’s books will be available for purchase: Butterflies of the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area and Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Washington.

June 22, 2019
Bumble Bee Field Trip
with Rich Hatfield
(Outdoor field trip in the highlands)

The bumble bee field trip on June 22, 2019 will provide community members with an opportunity to learn about the bumble bee species in our area, their importance to our ecosystem, as well as ways we can help conserve them. In an effort to learn more about bumble bees to improve evidence based bumble bee conservation guidance, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, in partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and the Oregon Bee Project, has launched the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas. On a hike in the Okanogan Highlands, Rich Hatfield, Xerces Society conservation biologist, will share information about the Atlas Project, how to participate, and the value that the project will have to our area, both locally, and more regionally. The goal of this field trip is to connect the community with the contributions of our native bumble bees and other native pollinators and provide inspiration and a user-friendly method of engagement in a citizen science making positive strides toward effective conservation.

Space will be limited; registration details TBA.

This event is provided in partnership with Humanities Washington, with community member financial support.

Humanities Washington



Event Details:
Dinner at 5:15 pm benefiting the Community Cultural Center of Tonasket (411 Western Avenue)

Presentation at 6:30 pm is free; dinner at 5:15 pm is $8 for CCC members and $9 for non-members; desserts by donation (benefit for the CCC). 

Desserts and tea/coffee by donation 

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Did you miss the lichen presentation, or do you want a refresher?
Visit for video and info from the event. Or, subscribe to OHA’s Highland Wonders YouTube channel for video of this and other events (

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Questions? Contact OHA's Conservation Coordinator, Julie Ashmore: