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Conservation

Jul 16, 2018

The mission began at sunset. After a quick briefing to receive assignments and equipment, 26 staff and volunteers spread silently out to their locations. In the entrance breezeway, near the tram garage and underneath trees, they hunkered low on the ground as darkness grew. They waited, breath hushed. And then, with a chattering and creaking overhead, the mission began: The Great Trek Bat Count of 2018. As bats began to fly out from their roosts into the night to hunt, the humans sitting quietly below them began to click their counters, one for each outgoing bat. One staff member had …

Jun 05, 2018

Some was sprinkled around the base of a tree. More was scattered over the floor of the tram garage. But it was just outside one of the veterinary clinics, under a wide overhanging awning, that Michelle Tirhi got really excited. “Look at all that!” she exclaimed, sweeping her eyes around the concrete floor. “And it’s all fresh! We could just scoop up some right now.” Bending down, she picked up a tiny black sliver the size and shape of a rice grain and held it up triumphantly. Bat poop. Or guano, to be precise. Tirhi, the District II wildlife biologist …

Jun 04, 2018

Amazing. That’s the word used to describe the outcome of the 2018 Point Defiance Park BioBlitz, a 24-hour survey of living things observed in the 760-acre park. By sheer numbers, the BioBlitz more than met its purpose of forging connections between people and their natural surroundings, said Metro Parks Tacoma’s Craig Standridge. In his role as community engagement coordinator at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, he oversaw the April 27-28 event, as well as the previous one in 2011. “There was an overwhelming level of participation and enthusiasm,” he said. “It showed there is a real craving for this type …

Jun 04, 2018

Deep in the forests of Mount Rainier National Park, a female fisher holes up in the crook of a towering Douglas fir, protecting and feeding her newborn kits. Far below and several miles away, a propeller spins faster and faster, generating the speed needed to hurl a small aircraft down an airstrip and into the Northwest skies. The plane’s belly and wings bristle with antennae as it heads off on a mission to pinpoint the fisher’s location using signals from a transmitter implanted before her release. This is a fisher reconnaissance mission, funded with the donations made by Northwest Trek …

Apr 25, 2018

On a clear spring day at Northwest Trek, Amy Newton is standing hip-deep in a chilly pond. Waterproof notebook and GPS in hand, she peers into the cloudy water. “Guys! We need your help over here – I think it’s a Pacific tree frog!” she calls. With the moon-walk gait of people who don’t want to squish anything, John Miller and Kim Bryant wade over and inspect. “Yeah, I think so,” pronounces Miller. “So cool,” adds Bryant, gently fingering the sloppy, Jello-like mass in the water. It’s Amphibian Egg Mass training day at Northwest Trek, and Miller, Newton and Bryant …

Mar 22, 2018

It’s kind of obvious that Rachael Mueller is passionate about recycling. Standing in front of the entire Northwest Trek staff at a monthly staff meeting, the wildlife park’s Conservation Program Coordinator flips through slides and speaks with an urgency most of us don’t associate with used tires and electrical wire. But Mueller has a mission – to protect the wild places she herself discovered as a child. And she’s helping Northwest Trek do that through recycling. What do we recycle? Pretty much everything, it seems. Mueller’s staff presentation is all about mixed recycling – paper, plastic, metal. But Northwest Trek …

Oct 13, 2017

Planting forest. Counting frogs. Healthy habitat makes for healthy wildlife, and that’s why it’s our goal at Northwest Trek to to improve and maintain wild habitat, both inside the park and in the broader community. Here’s what we’re doing right now – and how you can help. Habitat Restoration We strive to maintain quality habitat for wildlife both inside and outside of the wildlife park. On our five miles of nature trails we’ve cleared out pockets of diseased trees, replanting for a healthier and more diverse forest. We have plans for the restoration of a large wetland on 100 acres of …

Jun 13, 2017

Imagine – you’re hiking in deep Northwest forest. Silence and solitude surround you. Suddenly you round a corner and freeze – a grizzly bear is standing on the path. Actually, chances are that won’t happen. Biologists estimate there are fewer than 10 grizzlies in the North Cascades. – an area of nearly 10,000 square miles. And if we take no action, there will soon be none. We can’t let this happen to an American icon. Northwest Trek is joining Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo and other Friends of the North Cascades Grizzly Bear in endorsing one of …