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Spring Wildflowers in the Upper Skagit

May 19th, 2017 | Posted by in Naturalist Notes

Spring has come here in the upper Skagit River valley and our April showers have indeed brought May flowers. With the increase of daylight and clear days, the valleys in-between the still snow-covered mountains have turned bright shades of green. The shorelines along the river and its reservoirs are in great contrast against the dark, evergreen hue of the high slopes. While the waking up of the forest rejuvenates even the deepest winter doldrums, there are surprises along the forest floor that bring spring’s energy forth for those willing to go look.

Calypso orchid (Colypso bulbosa) on Sourdough Mountain Trail. Photo by Dan Dubie

Our spring wildflower bloom has begun and is now in full swing. A few weeks ago, as the spring sun started to warm the floors of our valleys and deep forests, the first plant harbingers of spring began to grow. Just as our migrating birds returned to their homes for the summer, our resident perennial and annual wildflowers began their annual strive for life. Quickly after the snow leaves, the first herbaceous flowers to arise are those with energy reserves stored in corms or “bulbs” beneath the ground. These flowers quickly get to work, growing a few leaves and showy flowers that attract the early spring flies and solitary bees. Examples of these are the glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflora), which is known to sprout through snow; the amazingly small calypso orchid (Calypso bulbosa); and the bright white western trillium (Trillium ovatum), which shines like a light on our deep, moist forest floors.

» Continue reading Spring Wildflowers in the Upper Skagit

From the Cascades to the Olympics

June 11th, 2010 | Posted by in Graduate M.Ed. Program

Spring is here and it was time for the North Cascades Institute cohort-ions of the ninth – C9 graduate students - to take our spring retreat on Sunday, May 23rd through Tuesday, May 25th. With itinerary in place, gear packed and risk managers appeased, it was time for our departure and to get peninsular at Olympic National Park.  

Day 1—After a nice drive across Highway 20 to the Keystone Ferry on Whidbey Island, we quickly found ourselves enjoying a refreshing sea breeze. The cohort arrived in Port Townsend and made a b-line for the nearest brewpub. Oh graduate students. I quickly found myself at the Water Street Brewery sipping down a smooth locally brewed Irish Stout and enjoying my company. 


Chinese Teapots Wholesale Chinese Teapots Amber Spiral Bracelets

(Title) Justin McWethy sets up camp at Boulder Creek Hot Springs (Above) Rebecca, Justin, Brandi and Mike pause for a goofy pose aboard the Keystone Ferry

Corey and Justin enjoying some cheer at the Port Townsend brewpub

» Continue reading From the Cascades to the Olympics