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Conservation

Apr 30, 2021

This year, National Arbor Day is celebrated on April 30. The day is all about celebrating trees! Below are a few ideas from Northwest Trek’s staff horticulturist of how you can celebrate Arbor Day this year. Enjoy the outdoors! Join the City Nature Challenge and help identify wildlife and nature as a citizen scientist! The global challenge asks ordinary folks to become nature scientists for an hour, a day, or however long you have. Just download the free iNaturalist app or access it on your computer, get outside and start recording what you see. It is a competition, too- can …

Dec 16, 2020

A rainy and cold December morning couldn’t stop dedicated volunteers from planting trees at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Recently, 10 employees from Columbia Bank volunteered to help the park’s horticulturist plant 260 native trees around the parking lots. Dressed in rain coats, hats and boots, the volunteers stood in a socially-distanced circle and listened as horticulturist Jake Pool explained the process of planting and why it’s so important to have new trees in the park. “In the 13 years I’ve worked at Northwest Trek, this is by far the worst year I’ve seen for tree loss,” said Pool. “Just this …

Dec 03, 2020

A poem about birds next to a snowy owl habitat? A tree poem planted in a forest? That’s Poetry in the Park at Northwest Trek! This December, guests can wander around the wildlife park to find poetry signs right next to native Northwest animals and plants in a partnership with Tahoma Audubon Society, who installs Poetry in the Park elsewhere in Tacoma during the year. The park is also filled with festive decorations like evergreen gnomes, white pumpkin “snowmen”, giant snowflakes on trees and a trail of animal cutouts showing just how animals (and us) need trees to live, year-round. …

Oct 22, 2020

Inflammatory bowel disease is no fun. Diarrhea, vomiting, unpleasant gut sensations, even pain or fever. But if you’re an American red wolf, there are worse implications: That inflammation in your intestines might cause you to lose weight, get stressed and maybe even fail to reproduce. For an endangered species with less than 300 like you left on the planet, that’s a big worry. That’s exactly why Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium veterinarians have been investigating IBD in red wolves. Head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf first discovered that red wolves do, in fact, develop the disease, just like people and pets. …

Oct 08, 2020

Once upon a time there were two wolf species: red wolves and gray wolves. Neither of them were “big and bad,” but they were often feared by humans. Over time, more and more were hunted. By 1940 gray wolves were decimated in the American wild and by the 1970s, so were red wolves. It was time for the story’s hero to step in. “Humans have a long history of blaming predators for problems, like wolves and grizzly bears,” says Marc Heinzman, zoological curator at Northwest Trek. “But scientific data shows that’s just not true in all cases.” While it’s true …

Sep 16, 2020

Sister zoo Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has won two significant awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, announced today at the 2020 AZA online conference. One is shared with Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The prestigious Edward Bean Award was given to Point Defiance Zoo in collaboration with the National Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Nashville Zoo for its work in breeding endangered clouded leopards. The award, which goes jointly to all three zoos as members of the Clouded Leopard Consortium, is in the Innovation category, and recognizes outstanding efforts in breeding that either significantly enhance the …

Jul 30, 2020

It’s a warm summer evening, and you’re out for a twilight walk. Suddenly, you spot a pair of bright eyes in the undergrowth. You freeze. A coyote steps out into the silence, bushy-tailed, followed by – yes! – three young pups. Quick as lightning, you whip out your phone and snap a photo. Alerted, they turn and swiftly vanish to hunt their dinner – and you upload the shot and location to a crowd-sourcing nature app, to feed into a study. Another triumph for community science! Sounds futuristic? Actually, it could be you this summer, if you’re willing. The Grit …

Jun 17, 2020

UPDATE 7/14/20: We are saddened to report that Macklin unexpectedly passed away yesterday from internal complications. He will be deeply missed.   Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has a new fisher in the Forest & Wetland habitat, just in time for the park’s reopening on June 18. Macklin is an 8-year-old male fisher from British Columbia – and he also tells an incredible story of conservation and care. Bringing back fishers Fishers, furry mammals in the weasel family, are native to the Northwest and historically ranged from the Cascades to Canada. But deforestation and demand for their thick, silky fur had …

Mar 26, 2020

Amphibians are excellent ecosystem monitors. If their populations are changing, you can bet something is happening in the habitat. That’s why Northwest Trek staff routinely survey the grounds for eight different species: rough skinned newts, northwestern salamanders, long-toed salamanders, Western toads, Oregon spotted frogs, red legged frogs, Pacific tree frogs and bull frogs. That data is regularly reported to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to better protect and conserve the amphibians for the future. Northwest Trek’s recent temporary closure to help slow the spread of coronavirus has not stopped staff on grounds from monitoring for egg masses of …

Nov 15, 2019

It was a glorious day to be a fisher. In the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, just south of Randle, Washington, fall leaves crackled underfoot and the November air was crisp. As a crowd of humans watched in hushed silence, the door lifted on a crate – and the first of four new Cascades fishers darted out into the ferns. The latest chapter in the recovery of a species was being told. “We are here today as partners in bringing fishers back to Washington,” explained Jeff Lewis, conservation biologist for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. “Individually, as a species, …