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Conservation Stories

At Northwest Trek, we care about conservation. Passionately.

As stewards of a 725-acre forested park full of native Northwest animals, we look constantly for ways to protect wildlife and wilderness. From raising orphaned animals to financial support, we conserve.

Read our stories to find out how.

fisher in log
Returning Fishers to Washington

Yes. They’re adorable.

Fishers are a native carnivore in the weasel family. They climb trees but prefer to hunt on the forest floor. They eat small rodents but also fruit and mushrooms (though ironically, not much fish). And by hunting and carrying seeds, they keep our ecosystem balanced.

But fishers also have incredibly soft, silky fur – and that’s been their greatest threat.

Oregon spotted frog in hand
Spotting Oregon Spotted Frogs

These amphibians once inhabited large areas of Puget Sound lowlands, but now the species is endangered in Washington. Only a handful exist.

A program was started in 2008 to reestablish the local population of these frogs. Northwest Trek – in partnership with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and other zoos – raised thousands of frogs from fertilized eggs and released them in Pierce County wetlands to breed.

trumpeter swans on lake
Trumpeter Swans Restored

This species disappeared from the Midwest thanks to hunting and loss of habitat in the 1800s.

Now these beautiful swans are making a recovery  – and Northwest Trek has played a key role.

We’ve sent 31 swan cygnets, or babies, hatched here to the Iowa-based Trumpeter Swan Society, which works to repopulate swans in the middle of the country. In 2011, six Northwest Trek-born cygnets were released at Lake Terrell near Bellingham, Washington.

Volunteer in pond looking at egg mass for restoring
Restoring Wild Places

Planting forests. Counting frogs.

Healthy habitat makes for healthy wildlife, and that’s why it’s our goal at Northwest Trek to improve and maintain habitat, both inside the park and in the broader community.

From rooting out invasive plants and planting natives to monitoring species and supporting regional organizations, here’s what we’re doing right now – and how you can help.

Western pond turtle on a log
Working together for turtles

It’s one of the delights of summer hiking in the Northwest – to come across a lake and spot a demure Western pond turtle sunning itself on a log.

But those native turtles are in rapid decline, due to non-native predators, loss of habitat and shell disease. Northwest Trek is working with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to conserve this vulnerable species. Our education curator Jessica Moore is taking the lead in showing our community how to help save this shy reptile.

Bat with white-nose syndrome
Keeping Watch on Bats

White-nosed syndrome is a deadly fungal disease that has killed millions of hibernating bats in eastern North America – and now it’s here too. The first detection in the West of this disease was found in 2016 in King County. Named for the white fungus that grows on the muzzle of infected bats, the disease sickens, weakens and eventually kills hibernating bats.

Northwest Trek is working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to collect data on bat colonies, so we can better understand and protect our bats. Our first study began in summer 2017, with work done by staff, interns and volunteers.