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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.

Grouse and Spouse

Friday, January 8th

Grouse have a variety of mating systems, ranging from monogamy in ptarmigan to extreme polygamy in sage-grouse. This talk will explore some of their breeding behavior. Mike Schroeder (aka grouse) has a Ph.D. in wildlife biology and is the upland bird research scientist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Leslie Robb (aka spouse) earned a master’s degree in zoology. Leslie and Mike have conducted research on several species of grouse in North America.

"No two species illustrate the variation in grouse mating systems more than willow ptarmigan and greater sage-grouse," Schroeder says. "Male willow ptarmigan follow their paired females attentively throughout the breeding season while male sage-grouse attempt to mate with every female they see."


Male Dusky Grouse
Male Dusky Grouse displaying, near Molson, WA

Dr. Schroeder is a Certified Wildlife Biologist who has pursued research and management of grouse since 1981. He joined the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in 1992 and has continued to focus most of his activities on the biology and management of grouse. His research has included studies of: (1) population dynamics and behavioral ecology of greater sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse; (2) greater sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse translocations; (3) effects of wind power on greater sage-grouse and other species of shrubsteppe wildlife; (4) conservation genetics of grouse; and (5) effects of farm programs on greater sage-grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, and other species of shrubsteppe wildlife. Mike is also developing a monitoring and evaluation program for WDFW wildlife areas. He has worked with graduate students from Washington State University, University of Idaho, and Eastern Washington University to address specific management issues related to grouse. For more information on Dr. Schroeder's work, please visit staff/schroeder_michael.html

Michael Schroeder releases a Sharp-tailed Grouse
Michael Schroeder releases a Sharp-tailed Grouse

Leslie Robb received her Bachelor of Science degree from Acadia University
in Nova Scotia and her Master of Science degree in Zoology from the
University of Alberta. She has done fieldwork on greater prairie-chickens
and white-tailed ptarmigan and has numerous publications on many species
of grouse. She has been involved in the ‘grouse world’ for almost 30

Event at a Glance:  

When: Friday, January 8th, 2016, 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 $7.50 for CCC members and $8.50 for non-members.

Where: Community Cultural Center (CCC), 411 S Western Ave, Tonasket, WA

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Coming up in 2016

 February 5     Lost Lake Wetland
 with George Thornton
Come and learn about how OHA is preserving the Lost Lake wetland, making the site available to researchers, and teaching youth about the value and function of wetlands. Delve with us into the depths of Lost Lake’s treasures, and take a look at the array of botanical gems that thrive at the Preserve.

The Lost Lake wetland supports an astonishing degree of biodiversity, with several wetland types and a complex web of life. From aquatic insect-eating plants to Northern Harriers swooping through the air in search of prey, the wetland is a hub of activity. More loon chicks have been hatched at Lost Lake than at any other lake in WA State, using the wetland fringe for nesting. Throughout the site, various kinds of wetlands foster the growth of rare plants and rich wildlife, as the mix of land and water transitions from forested seepage wetland to calcareous fen to shrub swamp. George Thornton has nurtured a personal interest in native plants of Okanogan Highlands for many years, observing some of our most special wetlands over time. 
 March 4     Corvids
 with John Marzluff
Crows are mischievous, playful, social, and passionate. They have brains that are huge for their body size and exhibit an avian kind of eloquence. They mate for life and associate with relatives and neighbors for years. The ongoing connection between humans and crows—a cultural co-evolution—has shaped both species for millions of years. With his extraordinary research on the intelligence and startling abilities of corvids—crows, ravens, and jays—scientist John Marzluff tells amazing stories of these brilliant birds, shining a light on their fascinating characteristics and behaviors. 
 April 1 Native Bees, with Don Rolfs
 May 6 Deer and Wildfire
 with Scott Fitkin
Deer ecology and management, particularly post-wildfire. Learn about how the wildfires have affected deer and other ungulates in our region.

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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: