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Please note:  Items with [PDF]
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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 .)

         Monday, January 9, 2017 (Olympia)  7PM
Sarah Hamman:  South Sound Prairie Restoration

The South Sound Prairies are a fragile and shrinking environment threatened by development, invasive species (including Douglas-fir) and changing climate. The Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) staff, aided by numerous community volunteers, has taken the lead in preserving and restoring these prairies. Come and learn more about the challenges we face and the steps being taken to address them.

Sarah Hamman is the Restoration Ecologist for the Center for Natural Lands Management, a conservation non-profit based out of Washington and California. Her work is aimed at restoring rare species habitat in PNW prairies using rigorous science and careful conservation planning. Sarah holds a B.A. in Biology from Wittenberg University and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University.

Sarah is also an adjunct professor at The Evergreen State College, where she teaches Fire Science and Society, and Restoration Ecology, for the Master of Environmental Science program. Sarah and Frederica Bowcutt have co-edited the valuable new book, Vascular Plants of the South Sound Prairies. Our chapter supported the rollout of the book in 2016.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 (Tacoma)  7PM
Jessica Stone:  Restoration of the Parkland Prairie

The Parkland Prairie Nature Preserve is a 4.5-acre parcel owned by Pierce County Parks and Recreation in the Parkland area. Located at the intersection of Tule Lake Rd. S. and Yakima Ave S., the preserve contains a degraded urban patch of prairie dominated by noxious weeds. Pierce County Parks and Recreation has teamed with the Pierce County Beekeepers Association to reclaim and improve the preserve by removing noxious weeds, installing forage-rich plants to help pollinators, and creating an accessible and educational place for the public to enjoy.

Jessica Stone is the Natural Lands Steward for Pierce County Parks and Recreation Services. She is heading up the restoration effort in cooperation with the Pierce County Beekeepers. They are currently designing six areas: a display garden, a Rubus garden, central prairie, oak woodland, riparian area, and Douglas-fir woodland. WNPS is supporting the project.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017  (Tacoma)  7PM
Monday, February 13, 2017  (Olympia)  7PM
Dr. Rita Hummel:
Using Native Plants in Rain Gardens
Dr. Hummel is a retired Horticulturist from Washington State University. Join us to hear about some of her most recent research work which has been on plant varieties for use in landscapes, most specifically on plant varieties for use in rain gardens. You can read more about Dr. Hummel’s research in the article “Growth and Establishment of Managed Grasslands and Ornamental Grasses in the WSU Puyallup Research Rain Gardens” at

Wednesday, March 8, 2017  (Tacoma)  7PM
Due to severe weather the original speaker for the March 8 meeting in Tacoma will be unable to be here.  Fortunately, we have a great alternative.  

Anna Thurston will discuss Green Roofs - Personal and Collective Benefits (When Done Well)
Anna's lifelong involvement in horticulture expanded at The Evergreen State College where she studied in the Masters of Environmental Science program learning about green infrastructure as a replacement or enhancement for gray infrastructure. Natural green systems provide community benefits in the form of ecosystem services, like the slowing of stormwater drainage and filtration towards improved water quality and protection of endangered species.  Anna's engaging thesis was funded by the Evergreen Sustainability Foundation and examines plant, water and other failure issues associated with vegetated roofing. Her findings may answer your questions about whether you want to install a green roof of your own, including what kind of plants you might use (native species are among them!), media selection, and long-term management options that help a green roof thrive, more than simply survive.


Monday, March 13, 2017  (Olympia)  7PM
Sue Milliken and Kelly Dobson: Botanizing in China
Sue Milliken and Kelly Dodson of Far Reaches Farm will take you along on their Oct-Nov 2015 plant hunting trip to China’s Chongqing, Hubei, Anhui and Zhejiang provinces. Among the many obviously exotic species, they will point out surprising parallels in shared genera among our own native flora. China has a staggeringly complex flora with over 33000 species of vascular plants and many familiar genera got their evolutionary start in the botanical petri dish of China’s complex geography and diverse climatic influences. This will be more fun than technical. If you have not seen a presentation of theirs you will want to be there; if you have seen a presentation of theirs you will really want to be there. Their collecting trips are reminiscent of the travels of early botanists in our area – think of people like David
Douglas and Archibald Menzies. Sue and Kelly own and operate a specialty nursery called Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend. A visit to their nursery, which is occasionally open for retail sales on weekends, is a worthwhile plant experience in its own right. Visit their website at


Monday, April 10, 2017  (Olympia)  7PM
Dan Hintz:
The Balancing Act: People and the Environment Along the I-90 Corridor
Dan Hintz is the Restoration Specialist for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. Dan studied environmental horticulture at the University of Washington specializing in the benefits of healthy urban green spaces. He will talk to us about the balancing act of maintaining and restoring natural habitat and biodiversity while improving the quality of life and building community.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017  (Tacoma)  7PM
Dave Peter:  Mapping the Historic Prairies of the Olympic Peninsula
We are pleased to welcome Dave Peter again to speak with us. Dave has his PhD from the University of Washington in Forest Ecology. Dave specializes in how forests respond to changes in the environment for the United. State Forest Service’s Olympia Forestry Sciences Laboratory. He will share with us his current work to characterize and map the historic prairies of the Olympic Peninsula.


Monday, May 8, 2017  (Olympia)  7PM
Dr. John Bishop: Revegetation of Mt. St Helens
Once again, the South Sound Chapter is working in cooperation with The Evergreen State College and Dr. Frederica Bowcutt to present a special program in the Evergreen College Music Auditorium. This year we will have Dr. John Bishop, Associate Professor at Washington State University Vancouver’s School of Biological Sciences. John’s work has been on “Response of populations, communities, and ecosystems to catastrophic disturbance” focused on the plants, animals, and soils of the primary successional Pumice Plain of Mount St. Helens. Much of this work is focused on herbivore effects on keystone plant colonists, such as a Lupin (Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii , and its specialist lepidopterna herbivores), and Willows (Salix sitchensis) and cascading effects on community and ecosystem development. Those who have heard John speak will attest that this is a fascinating talk you will not want to miss. Go to to learn more about Dr. Bishop’s work including a PBS news hour video.
Note: the meeting will be at the Evergreen State College.

(This is a joint Olympia and Tacoma meeting)

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!!!