Vashon Habitat Stewardship Whirlwind

by Bianca Perla on May 13, 2013 0 Comments


written by: Kathryn True


Greg Rabourn, King County’s Vashon-Maury Island Basin Steward, organized a “Vashon Habitat Stewardship Whirlwind” event in January of this year, and recently uploaded videos of the presentations. This community program was organized to help bring the Vashon Island community up-to-date on the many conservation and restoration projects on Vashon and Maury Islands. Speakers included Susie Kalhorn of the Groundwater Protection Committee, Tom Dean of the Land Trust and Vashon Nature Center’s Bianca Perla on stream health, salmon watching and the 2012 Island Bioblitz. Greg spoke about restoration efforts at Cove Creek, Judd Creek and Raab’s Lagoon Natural Area.

Each presenter was limited to 10 minutes, allowing for a brief and wide-ranging overview of current watershed health, habitat restoration efforts, and habitat preservation and acquisition.

Follow this link for a listing and links for all of the videos, or click here to see Bianca ...

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An Interview with Naturalist/Author/Inspiration Robert Michael Pyle

by Bianca Perla on January 9, 2013 4 Comments

WRITTEN BY: Kathryn True

Vashon-Maury Island Audubon Society is hosting a talk and book signing with the inimitable naturalist and nature writer Robert Michael Pyle next Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 pm at the Land Trust building. It’s hard to know where to start when introducing Bob—his talents are varied and many. He is a master lepidopterist who wrote the essential guide, The Butterflies of Cascadia. He is the award-winning author of 16 books including Wintergreen, an eloquent tribute to his southwest Washington homeland. He is a storyteller whose wit and insights bring the audience into a small circle of warmth when he speaks. Perhaps above all, he is an open-hearted soul who invites all he meets to join him in the sacred camaraderie shared by those who love the wild.

His new book, The Tangled Bank, is a collection of essays that originally appeared in Bob’s ...

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Nature’s night of love

by Bianca Perla on February 13, 2012 3 Comments



If you find your flashlight and take a moonlit walk to one of Vashon’s forested ponds or wetlands tonight you might witness the incredible way nature celebrates Valentine’s Day. This may not be your partner’s idea of a typical romantic evening, but it will be interesting! Valentine’s night is smack in the middle of peak salamander mating season on Vashon. Look for wriggling pairs or groups of both northwestern and the less common long-toed salamanders in the dark shallows. Sometimes they can be found amorously clasped together just under the floating leaves at the edges of still waters.

Ambystoma macrodactylum, from Vashon (2006). Notice that one toe is longer than the others on each foot-- hence the name “long-toed salamander”. Photo by: Kathryn True


These two species of native salamander (Ambystoma gracile and A. macrodactylum) are grouped together under the name mole ...

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Stars in my eyes

by Bianca Perla on February 7, 2012 1 Comment

WRITTEN BY: Kathryn True

When Orion strides into the skyscape each year I feel like I’m greeting an old friend, and I’m reminded of the first time I ever saw him. Standing on the sidewalk in front of my childhood home in Oregon, my mom showed me how to chain together the stars that outlined the hunter’s belt and sword. This was the first constellation I learned, and it still produces a sense of awe that we are so very, very small in the galactic scheme of things. Although daunting, I also find it weirdly freeing to try to wrap my brain around things completely un-Earthbound; the nature of the universe is so vast it swallows my worldly worries whole.

Orion is a great starter constellation because he’s easy to find and is composed of a number of very bright stars of varying colors, plus a ...

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Big Storm Offers Big Chance to Follow Some Tracks

by Bianca Perla on January 17, 2012 1 Comment


My 12-year-old has been teasing me about how I’m more wound up about the prospect of new snow than she is…and she might be right (I’m wide awake at 3 am writing this because I’m so excited for the onslaught that I can’t sleep).

There’s something about how snow transforms every tarp, bucket and stump to create a monochrome sculpture park—all is forgiven. I enjoy the minutely exquisite symmetry of a snowflake, and trying to get close enough to discover its individual secret before my breath transforms it into a common drop of water. Scraggly bare branches adorned in frosty coats become beguiling artistic studies. Not to mention the joyful abandonment that is sledding, and the rare island event: cross-country skiing to the neighbor’s for a cuppa.

Waiting for snow also evokes childhood mornings, impatiently listening to the ...

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