20 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.

    Eager Beavers

    Eager Beavers

    Our furry, toothy friends, nature’s flat-tailed engineers, the North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) is native throughout this continent, and once populated our region in great numbers. Over the last two hundred years the fur trade and the general perception that beavers are pests have decimated populations. The future is looking brighter for beavers, however, as people like Alexa Whipple and organizations like the Methow Beaver Project are making great strides in demonstrating the value of beavers for the many ways they support communities, livelihoods, and biodiversity. The life history of beavers and the ways that they change their habitat to meet their own needs also happens to contribute to water conservation, improve water quality, restore and maintain habitat for countless other species, contribute to wildfire resilience, mitigate climate change, and more. As beavers gain more positive attention for their ecological values, policy makers are looking to do their part to change the way beavers are perceived and managed on a Washington State-wide level. Have a listen!  



    Methow Beaver Project: https://methowbeaverproject.org/

    Senate Bill 5846: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5846&Year=2023&Initiative=false



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

    • 54 min
    Birdwatching Is For You (Who Me? Yes, You!)

    Birdwatching Is For You (Who Me? Yes, You!)

    This episode arrives just in time for the Great Backyard Bird Count, a worldwide citizen science effort organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audubon Society and Birds Canada to observe and record wild birds all over the world. It doesn't matter what level you are, everyone is welcome and encouraged to join a worldwide community of bird fans and participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. This podcast episode will help you prepare!

    Over the course of the next 20 minutes, Alex Feinberg, avid birdwatcher and software programmer with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's eBird program, shares his experiences learning to birdwatch, and how the vast and varied bird resources developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology can help you learn. By the end you will be ready to let your birding career take flight.

    We hope that you are inspired to get outside, watch birds, listen for birds, and join the worldwide community of bird fans, not just for the Great Backyard Bird Count, but for a whole lifetime of birdy adventures! 

    For more about The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and to explore their resources, check out their website: https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home

    To get involved, check out the Great Backyard Bird Count: https://www.birdcount.org/

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

    • 19 min
    Grasslands of the Okanogan

    Grasslands of the Okanogan

    Welcome to Highland Wonders Podcast Season 4!!! We are excited to be back and kicking off the new season with Don Gayton: ecologist, writer, and native grass enthusiast. This episode is sure to push you into the next level of your natural history learning, and to inspire new questions about our native species and ecosystems. At the end, if you are thirsty for more, here are some additional resources to tide you over until you can get back out into the shrub steppe or a highland meadow and see for yourself!

    For more about Don Gayton, including his publications and blog, check out his website.

    Zoom in and learn more about our native grasses and their distinctive plant parts in Don Gayton’s Grass Identification Primer

    Zoom out with information from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Shrub Steppe page, where you can find an overview, a virtual tour and a short film (by Conservation Northwest and WDFW) about Washington’s Shrub Steppe Habitat. 

    Join a citizen science opportunity! Help to catalog the biodiversity of the Okanogan Highlands through iNaturalist, a great (and free) platform for learning that allows you to submit your photos or audio observations for identification and learning. It’s a really fun way to connect with a community of nature observers and learners of all levels, and has real value in building our understanding of the biodiversity of our area so that we can better steward our place. Once you have a username, join our local projects to help build a repository of knowledge about the species that inhabit this special place. Here are a couple of projects that we recommend:

    Okanogan Highlands Biodiversity Project: Chesaw and Surroundings

    Okanogan Highlands Biodiversity Project: Mt Bonaparte and Surroundings

    • 30 min
    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:

    https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/could-prescribed-fires-offer-the-best-protection-for-washingtons-lynx/



    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

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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