17 episodes

Join Okanogan Highlands Alliance in learning about the ecosystems and wildlife of the Okanogan Highlands of north central Washington! In this podcast, scientists and educators share their stories and knowledge of the natural history of our unique area - the Okanogan Highlands. To learn more about OHA, please visit our website okanoganhighlands.org.

Highland Wonders Okanogan Highlands Alliance

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings

Join Okanogan Highlands Alliance in learning about the ecosystems and wildlife of the Okanogan Highlands of north central Washington! In this podcast, scientists and educators share their stories and knowledge of the natural history of our unique area - the Okanogan Highlands. To learn more about OHA, please visit our website okanoganhighlands.org.

    All About Bears

    All About Bears

    Dr. Bill Gaines, wildlife biologist and Executive Director of the Washington Conservation Science Institute, has been studying wildlife, including (and especially) bears since the late 1980’s and, wow, has he had some adventures! In this episode, Dr. Gaines shares his experiences and understandings that have come about through his research studies on the ecology, habitat, and population of black bears and interior grizzly bears in the North Cascades over the last three decades. 

    This summer (2023), the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service are expected to release a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that includes a response to initial public comments (received in 2022) and a range of options for how to proceed with an effort to restore a grizzly bear population to the North Cascades Ecosystem. If this podcast piques your interest and you would like to further your understanding about grizzly bear restoration in the North Cascades, the DEIS, and how to be involved in the public process, here are some sources to find more information:

    Friends of the North Cascades Grizzly Bear: https://www.northcascadesgrizzly.org/

    National Park Service: 2022 North Cascades Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan/Environmental Impact Statement: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=112008

    US Fish & Wildlife Service: North Cascades Grizzly Bear Restoration EIS: https://www.fws.gov/project/north-cascades-grizzly-bear-restoration-eis

    Dr. Bill Gaines is the Executive Director of Washington Conservation Science Institute. Learn more about him and his organization at: https://waconservationscience.com/

    This podcast is produced by Okanogan Highlands Alliance. The core of OHA's mission is to encourage and support education and public participation in decisions involving the integrity, sustainability, and prosperity of our community and the environment. For more information or to support OHA, visit our website: okanoganhighlands.org

    • 59 min
    Canada Lynx and Home Range Wildlife Research

    Canada Lynx and Home Range Wildlife Research

    Join us for a refreshingly fun episode, full of natural history, scientific research, and the developing story of Home Range Wildlife Research, whose mission is “to advance wildlife conservation by conducting high-quality research, educating aspiring biologists, and engaging local communities.” Anna Machowicz, Home Range Education Director, shares exciting news about field training and volunteer opportunities, and explains how Home Range has begun implementation of a long-term study of Canada Lynx populations in the mountains between the Methow and Okanogan – an area that has been significantly altered by two decades of megafires. In all that they do, Home Range invites community volunteers, students, and academics to participate, leading collaborative investigations of wildlife and working to understand how communities and land managers can support wildlife populations and healthy ecosystems into the future. Check out their website: https://www.homerange.org/home for more information, and to sign up for training and volunteer opportunities! 

    For additional information, check out this recent article about Home Range in the Seattle Times:


    This podcast is produced by Okanogan Highlands Alliance. For more information or to support OHA, visit our website: okanoganhighlands.org

    • 38 min
    Gifts of the Crow

    Gifts of the Crow

    Dr John Marzluff, professor at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, shares a captivating review of the life history, the anatomy, the culture of corvids, including hilarious and surprising stories of the many ways that these ubiquitous birds both influence and are influenced by people. After listening, we think you might look at your local crows, ravens, magpies and jays with new eyes, and you might even change the way you behave around them! This episode is slightly modified from the original presentation, which took place through OHA’s Highland Wonders Speaker Series in 2016. 

    To learn more about Dr John Marzluff, his work and his research about corvids and other wildlife, visit:

    University of Washington’s Avian Conservation Laboratory at: https://sites.uw.edu/sefsacl/

    University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at: https://environment.uw.edu/faculty/john-marzluff/

    You can find Dr Marzluff’s books, including Gifts of the Crow: how perception, emotion, and thought allow smart birds to behave like humans (2013) on Amazon.com

    To learn more about and support Okanogan Highlands Alliance, visit: okanoganhighlands.org

    • 1 hr 3 min
    The Saga of Washington's Wildlife

    The Saga of Washington's Wildlife

    Welcome to a fast-paced, information-packed, part-spoken musical tour of Washington’s diverse wildlife and habitats! Ken Bevis, wildlife biologist with the Washington Department of Natural Resources will inspire awe and excitement (and leave you tappin' your toes) about the natural history of Washington, with special attention to the Okanogan Highlands. In his position with DNR, Ken works with landowners to manage their private forests for habitat and wildlife, and raises awareness of the importance of standing dead trees, which contribute more than their fair share of shelter and food to creatures of the forests.

    Julie Vanderwal, musican and science teacher, provides musical accompaniment to the wildlife songs.

    To learn more, and support Okanogan Highlands Alliance, visit: okanoganhighlands.org

    • 59 min
    Sculpted By Ice

    Sculpted By Ice

    Kicking off the 3rd season of the Highland Wonders Podcast we are joined by Dr. Karl Lillquist, geography professor from Central Washington University, who has a special connection to the Okanogan Highlands because he grew up here and has studied this landscape for his whole career! This summer, Karl led a group of geology enthusiasts on an ice age tour though the highlands, visiting road cuts high above the valley floor where deep lake sediments are visible, hiking atop eskers and kames, which are structures formed by stagnant ice, and observing glacier-carved bedrock hills near Havillah. This podcast hits the highlights, but we expect that after listening you will be excited to learn more, and you are in luck! Dr Lillquist wrote a detailed field guide, complete with a map of our tour locations - if you are in the area, you can take yourself on a tour!

    Check out:

    Field Guide: Landforms and Landscapes of the Okanogan Highlands by Dr Karl Lillquist

    To learn more about and support Okanogan Highlands Alliance, visit: okanoganhighlands.org

    A Story from Anna, Nature Detective

    “Dad, I learned at school today that a long time ago there was ice here, and it covered everything except the very tallest mountains. A lot of ice - like, a HUGE glacier! And that the ice was SO deep. Maybe even a whole mile deep! Maybe deeper!” Her dad looks up in surprise - this is news to him!

    Anna continues, “Do you think that’s true? Where did the ice go? Did it melt? If it melted, where did the water go? How do people know there was ice here when there’s no ice now?”

    Anna and her dad are putting together a puzzle at their kitchen table - it’s a hard one, but slowly the picture is starting to come together.

    Anna’s dad stops and thinks, “Well, Anna, it’s probably a little bit like putting this puzzle together. There are hints - like, the shapes and the colors of these puzzle pieces - but you don’t really know for sure all the time that you are putting it together the right way. Look! Here’s a piece we put in that doesn’t fit quite right.” Anna and her dad puzzle in silence for a few more minutes.

    “What are you talking about, dad? What kind of hints would ice leave? Fossils?” Anna frowns, this doesn’t make a lot of sense, fossils are in rocks, not ice. But maybe there were ice fish trapped in ice rocks that are still here somewhere in ice caves, and she could find some ice fish fossils someday. That would be so cool.

    “Yes, fossils might give some clues. I’m not really sure, Anna, but I bet some of the things that happen now happened back then, so if we can find, like, creeks and rivers now, maybe we could look for signs of old creeks or rivers, and those might be a hint about what it used to look like. And maybe the indigenous people, who have lived here a long time, have a memory or record of how things have changed. If you look for lots of clues in lots of different places, they might make a whole story, like the puzzle pieces make a picture. Then you can look for more clues and see if the new clues makes sense with your story. If not, change your story so it makes sense with what you find!”

    “So, scientists really are like detectives! And story-tellers! That sounds like a fun job. I hope I can be a scientist someday.”

    Anna’s dad laughs, “I’d say you are a pretty good scientist already! They don’t call you Nature Detective for nothing! Now, since we are both curious about this mile-high glacier, let’s listen to OHA’s newest podcast - Sculpted by Ice, with Dr Karl Lillquist. Maybe he has some clues for us!”

    • 53 min
    Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)

    Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)

    Amelia Marchand, of the L.I.G.H.T. Foundation, joins OHA to share her experiences and perspectives on traditional knowledge, or teachings, and the role of ecological knowledge within the bigger framework of cultural understanding that has been amassed over a millenia by indigenous peoples. She shares stories of her life and the inspiration that has driven her and her husband, Joaquin, to create the L.I.G.H.T Foundation whose mission is to cultivate, enrich and perpetuate native plants and the cultural traditions of Pacific Northwest tribes.

    To learn more and donate to the L.I.G.H.T. Foundation, visit the website at: thepnwlf.org

    Check out this article by Amelia Marchand, from June 22, 2022: Climate and Cultural Vulnerabilities of Indigenous Elders, published in the Generations Journal of the American Society on Aging.

    Additional resources to learn more (list specially curated by Amelia Marchand):

    Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network: an opportunity to learn about (and add your local) unusual environmental, animal and weather events world-wide.

    2021 Status of Tribes and Climate Change (STACC) Report  produced by The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals

    Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives : a practical guide to developing collaborations that honor traditional knowledge and minimize risks to indigenous peoples who might be sharing traditional knowledge. Intended audience: agencies, researchers, tribes and traditional knowledge holders (and valuable information for everyone).

    Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers: How to cite oral traditions and ways of knowing in a way that honors and recognizes information shared by indigenous knowledge keepers on a level with written sources.

    Find the full theme song, Blessed Unrest, by Tyler Graves on Spotify, Apple Music, or your favorite music platform.

    For more information about Okanogan Highlands Alliance, or to become a member or volunteer, visit: okanoganhighlands.org or email us at info@okanoganhighlands.org

    Season 2 of the Highland Wonders Podcast is supported by Humanities Washington and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

erinvs ,

Thumbs up

Love learning more about the animals of our valley, should be required for all who want to feel more connected to this wild and lovely corner of the globe.

Solomon 4747 ,

Great Nature podcast

Fascinating podcast on all the critters in the forest. So you can be the brain guy around the camp fire that knows cool fact about cool animals.

hannakli ,

Nature Explained

Fantastic series that delves deep into natural history topics. Informative, rich with details, easy to absorb. A refreshing option, listen and learn!

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