~ with George Thornton, Dana Visalli, and Erica Heinlen ~
An opportunity for the community to bring their curiosity about native plants to a panel of experts
Erica Heinlen presents on mosses and lichens
Are you curious about the native plants growing around you? “What is this species, and what do I need to know about it?” On Sept 26, 2014, OHA invited the community to bring photos and/or samples to our “Evening with the Experts,” event, along with observations about the plant. Community members were encouraged to bring digital photos on USB flash drives, SD memory cards, or email in advance to email@example.com. The event was open to everyone, whether they brought in a mystery plant or not. There were plenty of examples available for everyone to learn from.
Download the Event Handouts:
Guide to Identifying Plant Families (1.3 MB)
Plant Families - Methow Naturalist (3.9 MB)
Recommended Plant Field Guides (136 KB)
About the Experts:
“Evening with the Experts” was led by a panel of botanists, each with their own unique experience and expertise to bring to the community. George Thornton, retired Oroville high school teacher, long-time local botanist, and President of OHA’s board, will spearhead the event. Thornton grew up in the Okanogan and raised his family here, contributing to the community as a teacher and a botanist, and volunteering with a wide variety of community organizations. His interest in plants began at an early age and developed throughout this life; on Sept 26 he will share from his wide-ranging experience with unique and rarely seen Okanogan Highland plants, as well as the more common species. Thornton provided the first Highland Wonders presentation in November of 2010 on “Botanical Gems of the Okanogan Highlands,” and has also lead an OHA outdoor Native Plant Hike at Lost Lake and a Cedar Ecology event near Chesaw.
Dana Visalli contributed his knowledge on the panel, returning to Highland Wonders after his initial presentation on Highland Wildflowers in November of 2012. Visalli has worked for the last 22 years as a professional botanist and naturalist. He has published the quarterly natural history journal, “The Methow Naturalist” for the past 19 years, and has directed a summer ecology camp for children for 22 years. He lives in the Methow Valley, where he is an organic market gardener, and maintains the regional species lists for flowering plants, mosses, lichens, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. “I am becoming increasingly entranced by the story of the journey that life is on,” Visalli says. “Plants are a big part of that story, becoming more complex over time. There are 300,000 different species of plants on earth, each one of them intricately adapted to a particular environment. They are beautiful and intriguing in their own right, and of course they make our lives, and all animal life on land, possible. So let's get into them!"
Erica Heinlen joined the Highland Wonders team for this event, sharing her unique specialty in mosses. The community is fortunate to have a mosses expert living in Tonasket, and OHA is pleased that she generously shared her skill and understanding at this event. Heinlen studied botany at the University of Washington and worked for the local Forest Service for several years doing vascular plant surveys. She caught an interest in bryophytes (mosses) on the job and so attended the University of Alberta and obtained her Masters degree in bryophytes in 2002, focused on mosses of the Okanogan Highlands. She has been working part-time for the Forest Service and contracting other bryophyte work since then. Heinlen was also available to help identify lichen, in addition to mosses.
Do you have a mystery plant you'd like to bring to a future event? Please follow these important guidelines:
(Download the printable Guidelines for Plant Photos and Specimens)