A Local Treasure, by Noreen Parks

On Port Townsend’s very own radio station, KPTZ (91.9), one of our favorite programs is Nature Now, which focuses on the natural history of our region. The small crew of naturalist-producers reports on recent nature observations in our local area, and each episode features one or more timely topics.

Black-bellied plover Photo by Wendy Feltham

Black-bellied plover

Recent episodes have probed the mysteries of tent caterpillar outbreaks, the specialized adaptations of bird wings, the sometimes shocking strategies of animal parenting, and the secret lives of pine martens.

Tune in to broadcasts on Wednesday at 12:05, Thursday at 5:00, or Saturday at 12:30, and you’ll surely be delighted with some new insights on our rich local environment and its inhabitants. (You can also access the most recent programs on the KPTZ website.) To share your nature observations or contribute to upcoming episodes, email program coordinator Nan Evans at

History of Events

In past years, we hosted speakers for evening events in our community. We are currently not planning evening events.

Past speakers and evening programs include:

October 6, 2016. The Hoh River Trust. Executive Director Mike Hagen explained how the trust was formed to obtain and manage lands along the Hoh between the Olympic National Park and the Pacific Ocean.


May 9, 2016.  Bats, Gentle Friends, Essential Allies.  Sarah Schmidt, long-time educator and advocate for the appreciation and protection of bats, shared stories and photos on bat behavior and adaptations, their importance to the balance of natural systems, and threats to their health and conservation.

January 7, 2016.  Bees and Biodiversity. Entomologist Jerry Freilich, recently retired as Olympic National Park’s research coordinator, presented a program on bees.

May 11, 2015. Golden Paintbrush: Back from the Brink.  A presentation on the biology of the golden paintbrush and the sometimes controversial process of its recovery.

January 12, 2015. Butterflies of the Rain Forest and Rain Shadow. An evening with butterfly expert and founder of the Xerxes Society, Robert Michael Pyle.

October 16, 2014. Wolf Talk. David Moscowitz, well-known author and wildlife tracker, shared stories and images of the wolf known as OR7.

June 5, 2014. Experiencing Bird Song.  An exhilarating multimedia excursion into the nature of birdsong, by veteran educator, ecological field guide, and bird expert Ken Wilson.

March 6, 2014. Earth is a solar-powered juke box. Presented by acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton.

Mountain-Lion-With-Cub free wallpaper - 2012-09-24 at 01-21-25 - Version 2January 23, 2014. Coexisting with large, wild carnivores.  Lorna and Darrell Smith, of Western Wildlife Outreach, spoke about the critical roles carnivores play in maintaining healthy ecosystems and balanced natural environments.

October 17, 2013. Fires and Forests in Washington: Past, Present and Future. Fire ecology photographer John Marshall presented a program on fire history in our state, highlighting the critical role of fire in ecosystems, and the hazards and policy issues surrounding wildfire management.

April 11, 2013. Removing the dam and restoring the Elwha River. Photographer and naturalist Eric Kessler presented a slide show and talk which traced the long, remarkable journey that led to the undamming of the Elwha River.

January 7, 2013. Whales of northern Alaska. Dave Rugh, wildlife biologist and researcher with NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Laboratory for 34 years, presented a talk and slide show on the status of bowhead, gray and beluga whales in northern Alaska waters.

5130WXQZZEL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Books on our shelves:

Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, Pojar and MacKinnon.

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America, Dunn and Alderfer

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America, David Allen SibleyMoscowitz book

Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest: Tracking and Identifying Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates, David Moskowitz

The Weather of the Pacific Northwest, Cliff Mass

Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest, Andy Lamb & Bernard P. Hanby

Websites we love:
Jefferson Land Trust, helping the community preserve open space, working lands and habitat in Jefferson County.
Admiralty Audubon, the local chapter of the National Audubon Society.
North Olympic Salmon Coalition, restoring, enhancing and protecting the habitat of North Olympic Peninsula wild salmon stocks.
Port Townsend Marine Science Center, an educational and scientific organization devoted to understanding and conserving our marine and shoreline environment.
Washington Native Plant Society. A great source for native plant information; check out our state’s unique and diverse plant life.
Common trees of the Pacific Northwest. Identify trees by using OSU’s dichotomous key to trees.
A wildflower search engine. Identify flowers by color, shape, size, date and location of blooms.

Olympic Peninsula Environmental News

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