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Education Notes

Education Notes

by Ken Wiersema

July – August 2019


Backyard Birder Class

July 6th 10:00 a.m. “Gulls and Shorebirds”

The final program for the 2018-2019 series will be “Gulls and Shorebirds” presented by Bob Boekelheide. The program will be offered Saturday, July 6, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in the Dungeness River Audubon Center, Railroad Bridge Park, Sequim.

Bob will once again proclaim and explain his frequent mantra: “There is no such bird as a Seagull”.  Come and learn how to identify the more than a dozen species of gulls, gull like birds, and the multitude of their shorebird associates who call the Olympic Peninsula home, visit us during their migration, or breed here.  The program is richly illustrated with regional photographs and Bob welcomes your questions and comments.  Bob will lead a short field trip to a local shoreline after the class.  Don’t miss it!

Backyard Birder program

The Backyard Birding series of classes, hosted by members of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, is intended for residents of this area who are interested in knowing more about birds seen locally each season of the year and learning how to develop good habitats for wild birds. “Backyard Birding” can be taken either as individual classes or as a series. The cost of each session is $5 and is free for anyone under 18. After the completion of five sessions, participants will be offered free membership in OPAS for one year. Instructors are volunteers, and class fees support the educational programs of OPAS and the Dungeness River Audubon Center.

We invite new presenters to be part our Backyard birding programs. If you have a topic you’d want to present or know of a speaker who’d be interested in doing a class,  please let me or Rhonda Marks-Coats ( know and we’ll follow up.  And if you wish to suggest a new or revised bird subject we should offer, also let us know.  A list of the speakers and class topics for the 2019-20 programs will be in the next edition.

And a big Thank You to Denny Van Horn, many years a Backyard Birder speaker,  who plans to move away from Sequim this fall and will be absent from our list of next year’s speakers. We’ll miss you.

Backyard birding programs will be on hiatus for August and September. New and revitalized programs will return on Oct 5th.  Watch for them!

Focus On Series, a joint program of OPAS and the River Center is on hiatus until October.  It will return with a series of six new programs.  Watch for it.

Learn by the Light of the Moon programs return for 2019 with a whole new lineup.

These talks are offered without fee and will happen once a month, on the evening of the full moon. The series provides opportunity to hear from local naturalists and scientists, working to better understand our world. Presented in the Center’s outdoor amphitheater. Use the padded seating on the amphitheater benches, or feel free to bring lawn chairs and a flashlight [and blankets?] — No rainchecks; if raining, program moves into building. For more information, contact 360-681-4076 /

July 16th 7 p.m. “Hunting Behaviors of Cougars” – Mark Elbroch, PhD, Director & Lead Scientist, Puma Program – Panthera

Perhaps no other behavior so defines cougars, as their ability to subdue and kill prey many times their size. And its no doubt that their unique weapons and hunting strategies make them scary. Join Mark Elbroch of Panthera for a visual and anecdotal presentation on the Peninsula’s largest carnivore, the cougar. Through research and visual imagery, Mark will discuss how cougars hunt, which prey they prefer, and how often they feed. He’ll also discuss how cougar hunting behaviors fit into our larger ecosystems. Appropriate for all ages

August 15th  7 p.m. “Behind the scenes at the Burke Museum: recent and ongoing bird studies” – John Klicka, Curator of Birds, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Department of Biology, University of Washington