Blog – vashon nature center gsa 2016 new orleans


• VNC’s work monitoring stream invertebrates over the past 5 years has instigated an exciting restoration opportunity in Shinglemill Creek. Due to initial findings of possible stormwater impacts by McMurray and VHS students in VNC’s stream invertebrate program, rain gardens will soon be installed in the IGA parking lot to curb stormwater run-off from town into Shinglemill Creek. gas and water socialism Make sure to stop by and give Shawn Hoffman, IGA owner, major kudos for looking out for the health of our salmon, ourselves, and the Salish Sea. Thank you King County Groundwater Protection Committee, McMurray students, Rose Foundation, stream team volunteers, and IGA!

• Wild Wonder: Throughout 2019 Vashon Nature Center and Vashon Heritage Museum will be hard at work creating an amazing exhibit highlighting our island’s natural history! We can’t wait to share it with you when it opens in April 2020. Look for exciting lead ups to the exhibit throughout 2019 and concurrent projects offered by us and our partners including Vashon-Maury Island Audubon, Vashon Center for the Arts and others. hp gas online booking no This will be a year to celebrate nature.

When donating to Vashon Nature Center ( also consider Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust who stewards many of the properties where we conduct our programs. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to care for our natural heritage as you can see from the many partnerships mentioned in this letter! We are grateful for all of you who make up our nature community.

Swan kicks off his bird tours at the north-end ferry dock, where on a recent trip he tallied 20 species by scanning the water from the small deck next to the county boat ramp. This included an array of seabirds recently returned from northern and eastern breeding grounds to winter in local waters: Surf Scoters; Common Loons; Horned, Eared and Red-necked Grebes; and Buffleheads. One of his personal favorites is the aptly named Harlequin Duck—drawn to wavelets south of the dock, the males sport sharply delineated birght markings in blue, rust, white and black.

This is also a good place to pick out the characteristics that distinguish our three local cormorants. electricity electricity schoolhouse rock These large, dark birds chase their fish prey by propelling themselves with webbed feet; they nest on cliffs along the Washington Coast. The Double-crested has an orange patch at the base of its bill, the Brandt’s has a tannish bill patch, and the Pelagic is about ¾ the size of the other two with a pencil-thin straight beak and a snaky neck. The Double-crested is the one most likely to roost, wings outstretched, looking like a live Batman insignia.

At this tucked-away island gem, a raised platform affords excellent views of a small yet prolific (species-wise) pond. Between Fisher and this watering hole, Swan often ticks off every duck on his wish list. Common Ravens seem to play King of the Forest on the surrounding snags, and can be seen racing each other over the pond, treating spectators to an array of chortling calls and aerial acrobatics. electric utility companies in florida Keep an eye out for Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned hawks, which zip through the trees in pursuit of their passerine prey (songbirds, or literally: perching birds).

Hold still long enough and you may discern the twitters and chirps of an approaching feeding flock. In fall, passerines of several species group together to ward off and confuse predators like said hawks—insistently scouring trees and bushes for insects, spiders, seeds and berries. Those quiet and watchful enough will be treated to a movable feasting of some combination of Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers (they circle trees in an upward spiral), Red-breasted Nuthatches (they circle trees headfirst in a downward spiral), Bewick’s Wrens, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos and Downy Woodpeckers.

Recent news of ailing orcas is stirring a sense of urgency around the health of our favorite whales and underscores their reliance on thriving salmon populations, which depend on the smaller and aptly named forage fish, like surf smelt and sand lance. For the past three years, volunteers with Vashon Nature Center’s BeachNET (Beach Nearshore Ecology Team) have visited island shores to collect data on characteristics related to forage fish and salmon health. These ecosystem “check-ups” provide important feedback to land managers about the effects of shoreline armoring (bulkheads) on salmon health, and contribute to a regional database being developed to help scientists and resource managers better gauge the health of the entire Salish Sea.

“It’s significant that we have this depth of baseline ‘before’ data because a lot of monitoring happens only after restoration,” says Vashon Nature Center education specialist Maria Metler, who manages the forage fish research volunteers. “After witnessing these sites for three years we have a solid understanding of their makeup before restoration, and that’s going to make the post-restoration ‘after’ data all the more meaningful now that the bulkheads have been removed.”

“We have an extremely well-supported program and our actively engaged volunteers are crucial to its success,” Metler, says. “Our volunteers are at the forefront of helping to broaden the conversation around protecting salmon and orcas, showing there is a lot more we can do in our own front yards beyond stream restoration. Shoreline restoration has been a critical missing piece and our group is helping spread the word.”

“One of the many awesome things I have learned is how bulkheads impact shoreline ecology and how such an interruption in the conversation between the beach and the uplands dramatically impacts the sand spawning forage fish that juvenile salmon rely on to get big and strong for the long voyage out to the open ocean,” says Herold-Daniels, who has logged more than 40 hours with BeachNET this year. “An extension of that is the situation facing our southern resident killer whales and their connection to dwindling Puget Sound Chinook salmon populations. electricity in water pipes Once you see the association between bulkheads and starving whales you can’t ‘unsee’ it—and understanding a problem is the first step to fixing it.”

“I love to get outside and to be involved with nature,” says Fogard, a retired postal carrier who has given more than 50 hours to VNC research projects in 2018. “With climate change, there is a need for all of us to engage in actions that are part of the solution. Citizen science is fun—it gets me out of the house and doing stuff with my neighbors.”

BeachNET also offers VHS students a chance to explore science beyond the lab—for many this is the first time they’ve used a standardized protocol in the field. gas exchange in the lungs occurs due to Land Trust interns, whose work included planting and expanding buffers to improve island stream health, learned about the broader picture of salmon health while collecting data at the beach.

Join us for a night out at the beach: BeachNET low-tide night surveys begin this month and offer a rare opportunity to explore island shorelines after dark with expert naturalists. We welcome new volunteers and require only a three-hour commitment per survey. To get hands-on science experience and learn more about island beaches and wildlife, contact Maria Metler. (Photos by Maria Metler.)