Prior presentation information


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


"Freshwater Invasive Weeds" - Kathy Hamel

The Washington Department of Ecology’s Kathy Hamel will introduce you to some of Washington's most invasive freshwater weeds and describe the waterway problems that they cause. Freshwater invasive plants currently include: Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, and one of the United States worst aquatic invaders—hydrilla. Kathy will explore the pathways for introduction of these species and discuss their impacts when they are introduced and become established. She will also look at management methods being used to control them in Washington State. Kathy has been managing a statewide Aquatic Weeds Management Program for the Washington Department of Ecology for nearly 20 years.

[PDF - 2.23 MB]
For information on this topic, visit:

"Understanding and Restoring Beargrass to the Olympic Peninsula Lowlands"  - Daniela Shebitz

University of Washington doctoral candidate, Daniela Shebitz, will give a presentation on the importance of incorporating cultural land management practices in the restoration of beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) ecosystems. Beargrass is a culturally-significant plant that was once a dominant component of human-maintained savannas in the low elevations of the Olympic Peninsula. Beargrass is a fundamental component of traditional basketry for tribes on the Olympic Peninsula, yet it is becoming increasingly rare to find quality material in the absence of fire. Daniela will talk about the various restoration methods she experimented with in the lowlands of the Olympic National Forest. 

[PDF - 11.8 MB]

"Ethnobotany as a Multidisciplinary Science" - Alfredo Gomez-Beloz

Life does not function in a vacuum: it is affected by everything, including us. As a ceaseless seeker of knowledge and enlightenment, Dr. Alfredo Gomez-Beloz has come to a more holistic understanding of science. He studied the wound healing plants used by the Winikina Warao Indians of the Orinoco River Delta, Venezuela and the use of botánicas by a Mexican population in the US. Dr. Gomez-Beloz has been able to bridge the multiple disciplines of science to offer a more holistic understanding of the world around us through his diverse teaching experiences. Born in Chicago of Mexican parents, Dr. Gomez-Beloz offers a fresh and interesting perspective to the multidisciplinary approach to science, especially ethnobotany, the study of the relationship between people and plants.

[PDF - 9.89 MB]

"Your Highway Nickels in Plants and Pathways" - Robert Barnes 

Ever wonder about all of the decisions that affect the plantings along our state highways? Robert Barnes, a lead Landscape Architect for the Washington Department of Transportation, will present "Your Highway Nickels in Plants and Pathways." Designer and expert planting coordinator, Robert Barnes will provide an overview of the highway design process with emphasis on the plants that make our drives dull or dazzling. Especially if you live in Tacoma or Gig Harbor, you'll appreciate the insights that you'll gain about our most used roadways, new pedestrian pathways under construction, and the various partners that make it all possible.

[PDF - 17 MB]

"A Visit to the Glacial Heritage Preserve" - Wendy Gibble 

May is the best month of the year to take "A Visit the Glacial Heritage Preserve", one of the Puget Sound's last remaining open prairies. Join us in Tacoma for an introduction to this unusual and undulating landscape as Wendy Gibble, UW Botanic Gardens Rare Care Program Manager, shares the findings from her Master’s research on possible causes for the success of the invasive of hairy cat’s ear (Hypochaeris radicata) into the South Puget Sound Prairies. We'll also get an overview of the Washington Rare Plant Care & Conservation Program (Rare Care), located at the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture. This program is the only conservation program focused exclusively on rare plants in the state. The Rare Care program collects plant material from wild rare plant populations and stores them in a climate-controlled seed vault for eventual reintroduction into the wild. Rare Care also monitors rare plant populations located throughout Washington.

[PDF - 1.54 MB]

"Mount Rainier - A Place We Love to Visit" - David Uberuaga

Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga will talk about the extensive revegetation projects that occur in the Park each year and highlight some of the challenges that these efforts entail.  Come learn how the park is maintained both by Park Service staff and by the numerous volunteers that help to make it all possible.  Our speaker has devoted nearly twenty years at Mt. Rainier National Park and is a recent recipient of the National Parks Conservation Association's celebrated Stephen T. Mather Award for his dedication to the protection of the Park, commitment to staff and volunteers.  Join us as we celebrate the glory of "The Mountain."

[PDF - 5.98 MB]

"The Impact of White Pine Blister Rust on Native Forests" -- Greg Ettle

Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is found in the subalpine zone throughout the Coastal, Olympic, Cascade, and Klamath Mountains, extending well into California at high elevations along the Sierra Nevada.  White pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) is common throughout the Pacific Northwest, generally causing widespread mortality of 5-needle pines, and has devastated large areas of whitebark pine.  A demographic study of whitebark pine in Mt. Rainier National Park suggests a rapid decline in whitebark pine in the park, with the population falling below 100 individuals in 148 years.  Management options for blister rust infected stands will be discussed.  Greg Ettl is the Director of the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest and an Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

Presentation [PDF - 4.04 MB]

"Changing Climates, Changing Strategies: Rethinking Conservation Management" –  Peter Dunwiddie

The likelihood of human-induced changes in future climates is forcing conservationists to examine how the potential impacts to biodiversity can best be mitigated.  Large uncertainties, novel threats, and a rapid rate of change combine to make this a difficult issue to address.  This talk will examine various strategies being considered or that are already finding their way into practice that anticipate conservation practice in the 21st century.  Peter Dunwiddie is the Director of Stewardship for The Nature Conservancy in Washington, and has been working on plant and animal conservation issues for over thirty years.

Presentation [PDF - 1.26 MB]

Mountain Flora of Washington State” - Richard Ramsden

Richard’s presentation will focus on some of the showy flowering plants found in the Olympic, Wenatchee and Cascade ranges of Washington. At high elevation, species unique to a small area grow side-by-side with species whose range extends to the arctic, Siberia and the Alps. Where and when to see different species and in which habitats will be discussed. A final segment will offer suggestions on how to cultivate mountain species in an urban garden.

Richard is a long time member of WNPS Central Puget Sound Chapter, the North American Rock Gardening Society Northwest Chapter, and a volunteer for Rare Care, the rare plant monitoring program based at the University of Washington. His photos of local flora have been included in several local publications including Northwest Magazine and Washington Trails, as well as Douglasia.

For more information on this topic, visit:   Alpine Flora of Washington State.

“Genetic variation in foundation tree species: Influences on litter quality, in-stream decomposition, and interactions with nutrients and salmon carcasses.” - Carri LeroyOctober 2011

Although it is obvious that trees of different species perform different roles in ecosystems, the role of genetic variation within species is less obvious. Trees are some of the most genetically diverse organisms in existence and this diversity is especially important for species that structure whole ecosystems. This talk will focus on the influences of genetic diversity on leaf litter chemistry, decomposition and colonization by litter dwelling organisms in streams. In addition, we will examine the interacting influences of nutrients, leaf mixtures and the presence of salmon carcasses on leaf litter decomposition.
Carri is a stream ecologist and has been a faculty member at The Evergreen State College since 2006. She received her B.S./B.A. degrees in Environmental Science and International Studies from Oregon State University,
and an M.A. in Sustainable Communities and a Ph.D. in Biology from Northern Arizona University. She has published over 25 peer-reviewed papers since 2004 and is a strong proponent of involving undergraduate students in the research process. Carri is also the co-director of the Sustainable Prisons Project ( which serves to bring science and nature to incarcerated men and women in Washington state correctional centers.

[PDF - 11.7MB]

“A Lot of What We Know about Puget Sound Country is Wrong” -
Michael Kucher

Michael Kucher was raised on a glacial moraine that separated Connecticut from the Atlantic Ocean, better known as Long Island, NY. It was a pleasant surprise for him to learn how much of Puget Sound’s topography was shaped during that same glaciation, 15,000 years ago. An even greater and more agreeable surprise came as he realized that certain approaches to New England and New York’s ecological history as described in William Cronon’s seminal book, Changes in the Land (1983), and Tom Wessels’s Reading the forested landscape: a natural history of New England (1997) could be adapted and applied to unraveling the history of human impacts on the ecology of Puget Sound Country. Not only easily, but (he hopes) fruitfully.
In his talk, Kucher will attempt to demonstrate that the same sort of misconceptions that once stood in the way of understanding the history of New England’s landscape continue to prevent us from understanding changes in our own. In his talk, Kucher will focus on one aspect of his work, how the eradication of the beaver (
Castor canadensis) has led to strange ideas of what is “natural” in our corner of the world, including the very notion of dwelling in an “evergreen state.” Kucher received his undergraduate education at the Lang College of the New School for Social Research in 1987 and completed his Ph.D. in history at the University of Delaware in 2000. He has taught at UW Tacoma since 1997.

[PDF - 8.8MB]

Replenishing Washington’s Forests - Challenges of Plant Propagation and Subsequent Care of Seedlings - John Trobaugh

John Trobaugh is the Nursery Program Manager at Webster Forest Nursery. The Webster Nursery produces between eight million and ten million seedlings annually to be planted after timber harvests on DNR-managed state trust lands statewide. It also provides between three million and five million seedlings for small private land owners to help them meet the replanting requirements of the State Forest Practices Act.

John has his B.S. degree from Oregon State University and a M.S. in Silviculture from Wisconsin. He managed the Georgia-Pacific bareroot nursery, tree improvement program and northeast regional (Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maine and New Brunswick, Canada) silviculture for eight years; the Georgia-Pacific container nursery, tree improvement program and western regional (Oregon and California) silviculture for six years; and since 2004, manages Washington Department of Natural Resources Webster forest seedling container and bareroot nursery.

[PDF - 16 MB]

Native Butterflies and Native Plants - David Nunnallee

In this presentation David will explore, with high quality photographs, the intimate relationships between Washington’s native butterflies and our native plants. All of our 150+ butterfly species are dependent on plants, both for nectar to nourish the adults and for host plants to feed their caterpillar offspring. We will discover which plants are used by each of the thirteen major groups of butterflies found in Washington. But some plant groups are far more important to butterflies than others; we will explore these as well as some of the individual “super plants” which host multiple butterfly species.

Mr. Nunnallee recently co-authored a book the “Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies” with David James (Reviewed in the Summer Acorn). The final part of the presentation will describe the fifteen-year process which resulted in this book and will discuss some of the resulting discoveries, with emphasis on the host plants.

A retired engineer, David has long had an intense interest in natural history including butterflies, birds, native plants, dragonflies and fossils. He has actively studied butterflies in the Pacific Northwest for two decades, and has been rearing and photographing butterfly larvae for fifteen years. He frequently leads butterfly field trips within Washington State, and is a co-founder of the Washington Butterfly Association. An accomplished photographer, he has more than a thousand published butterfly photographs in books, field guides, web sites, newsletters and permanent public displays. He often speaks to natural history audiences and has given keynote presentations at several conferences.

Presentation [PDF - 88.2 MB]
[PDF - 33 MB - requires Reader X (10) and later to view]

Washington State Noxious Weeds: Laws, the Weed Board and Noxious Weed Species - Wendy DesCamp

This presentation will provide an overview of the noxious weed laws in Washington and the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board membership and roles. Our state’s noxious weed list is large and diverse, and we’ll talk about how and why these plants are listed. We’ll review our newest noxious weed list additions and discuss some lesser known noxious weed species that can grow in this area.

Wendy DesCamp is the Education Specialist for the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. She received her B.S. in Biology and M.S. degree in Forest Resources from the University of Washington and researched yellow archangel (
Lamiastrum galeobdolon
) for her thesis. Before the Weed Board, Wendy’s past work included being the Collections Manager for the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and working for the Pacific Northwest Invasive Plant Council.

Presentation [PDF - 4.47MB]


David E. Perry: Smartphone Garden Photography

Cameras in smart phones today are miniature wonders. They are nearly always within reach and are delightfully capable of making magical photographs that can quickly and easily be shared. Spend an hour with photographer, longtime blogger and storyteller, David E. Perry as he discusses the amazing potential that smart phone cameras offer. Learn to both master their wonders and sidestep some of their inherent pitfalls. David will show simple processes and tricks to enhance your own smart phone photography and show which apps offer the most zing for a mere $1.99.

David Perry is an inspirational photographer, a willing teacher and a captivating storyteller who brings the unique insights and skills garnered in his thirty plus years of worldwide, on-location photo assignments for major corporations, ad agencies, magazines and book publishers to each new project he encounters. The inquisitive son of a zoologist, David grew up in the field with his dad, trapping and preserving specimens for museums, exploring caves and studying the complex interplay between life forms and their ecologies. He began documenting his impressions of the living world around him with cameras at a very early age.

David has recently completed several assignments for Sunset, Fine Gardening and Pacific Horticulture, in addition to his ongoing assignment work for a variety of agricultural, portrait and corporate clients. He is currently working on his second book project in collaboration with Dr. John Albers of Albers Vista Gardens and was co-creator of The 50 Mile Bouquet, chronicling the emergent world of seasonal, sustainable and organic cut flowers with award-winning author, Debra Prinzing.

Information provided after the meeting:
Link to the pdf version of the lecture handout:
David Perry blog site:

Joe Arnett: Rare Plants - Endemics, Disjuncts, and Peripheral Species

Why is this plant growing here? Is it a native? How did it get here? Are there more of these plants nearby? What are our conservation priorities for this plant? These are the kinds of questions often facing Joe Arnett, rare plant botanist for the Washington Natural Heritage Program. Joe will discuss selection of the plant species regarded to be conservation priorities in Washington, considering the different ways that they are distributed on the landscape. Aspects of distribution include evaluation of risk, genetics, and dispersal mechanisms.

Joe Arnett has been the rare plant botanist for the Washington Natural Heritage Program since 2005 and has formally studied the plants of Washington since 1982. He is an at-large member of the State Board of the Washington Native Plant Society.

Presentation [PDF - 6.69 MB]


Matt Vander Haegen: Ecological Integrity Monitoring (EIM) of WDFW Wildlife Areas

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages close to 1 million acres of land ranging from coastal marshes to arid sagebrush-steppe.  Join WDFW biologists Matt Vander Haegen and John Pierce as they describe a new and innovative project aimed at monitoring the ecological integrity of these lands into an uncertain future. The Ecological Integrity Monitoring (EIM) Project is using a multitude of data sources at various scales, from satellite imagery in computer applications to citizen science volunteers collecting field data with GPS and smart phones, to track our valuable resources.  Scatter Creek Wildlife Area near Littlerock is one of our pilot areas for the project where volunteers are monitoring our rare oak-woodland and prairie communities.  The presentation will outline the goals of the project, introduce you to the methods used by staff and citizen scientists in collecting data in the field, and share the project’s vision for incorporating citizen science as a key element of the overall project. You’ll also learn how you can put your botany skills to work while enjoying time in the field by joining the citizen science volunteers, students, and mentors who participate in the project.

Matt Vander Haegen is a senior research scientist with WDFW and a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Washington.  His research focuses on the effects of human land use on wildlife populations and habitat and has included such diverse species as shrubsteppe birds, western gray squirrels (our largest native tree squirrel!) and western pond turtles.  John Pierce is Chief Scientist for WDFW’s Wildlife Program and directs the Program’s efforts at managing abundance and distribution data of wildlife species, researching ecological relationships and limiting factors of priority wildlife species, monitoring wildlife health, and analysis of spatial data.

Presentation link

Susan McDougall: Trees Live Here – Visiting America’s Arboretums

Based upon her visits to 33 of the country’s arboretums, Susan McDougall  will present a photographic and textual exploration of these special “places for trees.” Besides introducing a selection of these arboretums, her talk will give special emphasis to the work being done by modern arboretums to present their native trees and other plants in ecosystem settings.

Susan McDougall’s life-long love of trees and gardens finds expression in her new book, “Trees Live Here.” With a background in mathematics and geophysics, she worked as a software engineer before retiring to pursue interests in writing and photography. She has written two books on Pacific northwest natural history and co-authored the first complete flora of Mount Adams. Her photographs have been published in several books and are often used for non-profit educational purposes.  Her book will be on sale at the meeting.

Click here to see see some of Susan's arboretum pictures.

         Truls Jensen:  Inspiration from On-High

Truls Jensen has been very active with the North American Rock Garden Society. He will speak to us on how plants have adapted to the extreme environmental conditions of high mountains and what that tells us about selecting and caring for garden plants as our climate changes. All those concerned about climate change will find Truls’ talk fascinating.

Truls and his wife Emma Elliot own and operate Wild Ginger Farm in Beavercreek, Oregon where they grow and sell alpine, native and woodland plants. Truls was born in Norway and, after moving to the U.S. as a child, was drawn to the Sierra Nevada of California where he explored and backpacked extensively. His interest in nature led him to study biology and ultimately earn a PhD in Entomology. As a scientist he conducted ecological field research for the University of California, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Natural History Survey. You may visit their website at

Mark Egger:  Castillejas, the Indian Paintbrush

Mark Egger will guide us through the fascinating world of the Castillejas and share a few pictures of his incredible photo collection.

Mark is a retired public school science teacher who has given his expertise to become a research Associate at the Burke Museum in Seattle. As Mark describes himself, “I am a life-long naturalist and biologist with a special interest in botany and birds. I am “best known” in the naturalist community as a specialist on the plant genus Castilleja (Indian Paintbrush), . . . My primary photo collection is on Flickr, and I invite you to come visit my site. My Castillejas photos number in the tens of thousands and are arranged in 260 species sets. Every Castilleja species and variety in North America is presented, as well as many of the species from Mexico and Central and South America”.


Donovan Tracy:  Sub-alpine Meadows of Mt. Rainier

Donovan Tracy is an exceptional photographer who has amassed an amazing collection of photos of the flowers of Mt. Rainier. Donovan is the co-author with David Giblin, collection manager of the UW Herbarium, of the Burke Museum’s Alpine Flowers of Mt. Rainier, a field guide first published in 2011. The guide features 90 flowers commonly found above the tree line.

Easy to use and durable, Alpine Flowers of Mt. Rainier is a valuable resource for further appreciation of the splendor of Mt. Rainier’s flowers in the higher elevations. He will speak to us about Mt. Rainier’s sub-alpine meadows.

To view his work, visit Donovan Tracy’s website at Flowers of Rainier, Enter/index.htm. His web site includes photographs and descriptions of 235 species of flowering plants within Mount Rainier National Park.

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

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

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.

Kylea Johnson and Jan Robinson:  Chehalis River Basin Land Trust: A Local Force

Kylea Johnson, Programs Director for the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust, and Jan Robinson, Board President of the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust will share land conservation in the Chehalis River Basin, an area covering five counties and over 2,600 square miles. Through projects, community engagement and volunteer events, they are the voice of conservation in the basin. Preview their organization at

Lauren Danner, Ph.D.
Crown Jewel Wilderness, the North Cascades National Park

Just in time to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the North Cascades National Park, this talk will chronicle the park’s creation. The remote, rugged and stunningly beautiful north Cascade peaks have been protected from development for generations to come.

Lauren Danner, PhD, is a writer and historian based in Olympia, Washington. She focuses on public lands policy, Pacific Northwest and environmental history, and outdoor recreation. A former college professor, museum director and Washington State field coordinator for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial, she now writes at

Donovan Tracy
Alpine Flowers of Mount Rainier

Wild flower enthusiast and photographer, Donovan Tracy will discuss the amazing flowers found in the alpine zones of Mount Rainier.   Donovan is a volunteer at the UW Herbarium, co-author of Alpine Flowers of Mount Rainier and developer of the website Flowers of Rainier, featuring over 250 species and 10 wildflower hikes.



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