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Prior presentation information
(topics that have either a link to a web site or where a copy of the  presentation has been made available)




Chapter Meetings
General Meeting Information


    (Please note location(s) of each meeting.  Directions to each location .)

         February 8, 2016 (Olympia)  7PM
Mark Darrach: Floristic Surprises in the Blue Mountains

Whether climbing into thick patches of alder or inching down a steep, rocky gully, Mark Darrach constantly keeps his eyes on the ground. A botanist for the US Forest Service in the Umatilla National Forest, Mark has spent nearly twenty-one years observing the wide variety of fauna found in the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington and northeast Oregon. He hikes far off trails, carefully documenting different trees, shrubs and grasses, compiling a full list of resources in any given area of this beautiful area. Mark has a head for plant names, easily identifying the usual suspects on his site expeditions. In this presentation, he will share with us a look at some of these usual suspects as well the more unusual and rare plants he has observed while working in his one-million-acre office.

February 10, 2016 (Tacoma)  7PM
Patty Carter: Puyallup Historical Fish Hatchery

Nestled on 80 acres of beautiful natural habitat, only 14 blocks from the Washington State Fair, the Puyallup Fish Hatchery operates today, as it has since 1949. In 2012 the Puyallup Hatchery was given new life when citizens came forward at a time it was about to be lost, got involved and created the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation.  Join Historical Foundation Director, Patty Carter, to learn more about this important part of Pacific Northwest history and its ongoing plans for the future.

March 9, 2016 (Tacoma)  7PM
John Hayes: Mount Rainier Institute – Training Tomorrow’s Environmental Stewards

Nestled in the beautiful Pack Forest near Eatonville, is a residential learning center that uses the natural and cultural resources of the forest and nearby Mount Rainier National Park to provide outstanding nature-based education experiences to our next generation of environmental stewards and leaders.  Join John Hayes, Mount Rainier Institute’s Environmental Education Program Manager, to learn more about the Mt. Rainier Institute – born as a partnership between Mount Rainier National Park and the University of Washington. John will provide an overview of the Institute and provide additional details about its multi-day programs focusing on science/STEM education.

March 14, 2016 (Olympia)  7PM
Dee Arntz: Mothers of Nature: Women Conservationists of Washington

In this presentation, author and Washington conservationist Dee Arntz will recount the important stories of the courageous women who helped bring about Washington’s environmental conservation successes. Bonnie Phillips, Melanie Rowland and Helen Engle battled harmful timber cutting. Polly Dyer and Emily Haig worked to expand Olympic National Park and organized efforts to establish North Cascades National Park. Women helped create the Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters. As a state representative, Jolene Unsoeld led the fight against Boeing and other major corporations to pass the state Model Toxics Control Act.  

Following the meeting, Dee’s book, “Mothers of Nature,” will be on sale and Dee will be available for book signing.

April 11, 2016 (Olympia)  7PM
Andy MacKinnon: Mycoheterotrophs: The Fungal Connection


Popular author and lecturer, Andy MacKinnon, will lead us in exploring the world of mycoheterotrophs - plants that rely on mycorrhizal fungi to supply them with carbon and nutrients. Once we learn about what they are and how they work, Andy will take us on a virtual tour of the mycoheterotrophs we are likely to see in the Pacific Northwest.

Andy MacKinnon is a research ecologist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, West Coast Region. He has worked, on and off, for the British Columbia government since 1982, in research for the BC Forest Service (much of that in ecosystem classification) and in land use planning in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii. He's also an adjunct professor in Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University and teaches field courses for the University of Victoria and University of British Columbia in Bamfield and Haida Gwaii.

April 13, 2016 (Tacoma)  7PM
John Soennichsen: Washington's Channeled Scablands

In this presentation, author John Soennichsen will discuss Washington's Channeled Scablands - an area of dramatic geology and features such as massive coulees, abandoned waterfalls, narrow canyons, deep potholes, striking basalt buttes and incredibly large boulders dramatically perched in the unlikeliest of places. Unlike many popular national destinations where one prominent natural feature is located within a fairly small area—such as a mountain, a canyon, or a lake—the scablands consist of a variety of attractions and are spread out over a region nearly two thousand square miles in size.

Covering much of the material found in his book “Washington's Channeled Scablands”, John will discuss the five regions that comprise the scablands. He will talk about the distinguishing features of these regions and how best to plan your visit to see and enjoy the various geologic and other attractions found there. See for more information.  John’s book will be on sale at the meeting.

May 9, 2016 (Olympia)  7PM
Lee Ellis: An Introduction to Mosses

Have you ever asked yourself “What exactly is a moss?” or "How do mosses differ from other plants?” This lecture will start with an historical look at mosses, then a survey of moss structure and biology, and a look at their relationship to other plants. A walk in the woods will never be the same!

Local moss enthusiast Lee Ellis became hooked on mosses after taking a class taught by Elva Lawton, author of Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest.  Lee now volunteers in the UW bryophyte herbarium, in addition to doing moss surveys, teaching moss classes and leading moss field trips.

May 11, 2016 (Tacoma)  7PM
Rolf Gersonde: SERNW - Protecting and Restoring NW Ecosystems

The Society of Ecological Restoration (SER) Northwest Chapter was founded in 1993 as a private non-profit organization. It has since grown into a dynamic interactive professional society dedicated to the art and science of restoration. SERNW President, Rolf Gersonde, will present an overview of SERNW and will describe some of the completed and ongoing projects that are protecting and restoring ecosystems throughout the Cascadia bioregion which includes Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Northern California.

Meeting Locations:

Washington State Capitol Museum Coach House
211 21st Avenue SW
Olympia, WA 98501

Directions to the Washington State Capital Museum: From Interstate 5 in Olympia, take Exit 105, following the "State Capital/City Center" route. Go through a tunnel, (get in the left hand lane) and turn left on Capital Way. Follow the brown and white "State Capital Museum" signs to 21st Avenue. Turn right on 21st Avenue and proceed two blocks. The museum is on the left in a stucco mansion.  We meet in the carriage house in back of the mansion.

Tacoma Nature Center
1919 South Tyler Street
Tacoma, WA  98405

Directions to the Tacoma Nature Center: From Interstate 5, take State Highway 16 towards Gig Harbor. Look for the 19th Street EAST, exit and take it, which puts you onto South 19th Street. Travel to the first light, turn right on South Tyler, and then left into the first driveway at the Tacoma Nature Center.

General Meeting Information

South Sound Chapter presentations are held on the
second Monday and Wednesday of the month (October through May, in Olympia and Tacoma, respectively):

  • In Olympia, we typically gather at the Washington State Capitol Museum (211 21st Avenue SW; 360-753-2580).
  • In Tacoma, we typically gather at the Tacoma Nature Center (1919 South Tyler; 253-591-6439).
  • On occasion, however, our presentations are held at alternate facilities to accommodate larger audiences, so please be sure to note where each  meeting is held before you embark.

All meetings are open to the public and most are free of charge. Refreshments are typically provided by WNPS volunteers. We hope you'll join us for an evening of camaraderie and education about the world of native plants as well as the habitats that they create and sustain.

Outside of field trips and holiday gatherings, most meetings start at 7:00 pm. These "meetings" consist of a quick preview of activity announcements, but are mostly grounded in presentations that last 45 minutes to over an hour. Our topics are geared to attract and speak to neophytes and amateurs, as well as "dyed-in-the-wool" or otherwise committed botanists. We may be biased, but we think our presentations are top of the line!  

Members and the public are invited to attend all presentations.  For more information about our programs, please contact the Chapter Chair.

We hope to see all of you at the meetings!!!