Native of the Month: Wild Cranberry

Native of the Month: Wild Cranberry

Wild cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) is a low creeping perennial shrub with small evergreen leaves. The flower buds start out as deep pink, but as the buds open, the flowers become lighter in color. The flowers and berries grow in clusters at the ends of the branches...

Dietary Mushroom Intake Survey

Dietary Mushroom Intake Survey

Low consumption of fruits and vegetables coupled with high sodium, saturated fat, and sugar intake contributes to development of chronic diseases, health complications, and death. In fact, a healthy diet would prevent 1 in every 5 deaths in the United States. Although...

The Amazing Network Beneath our Feet

The Amazing Network Beneath our Feet

When you think of fungi, you may think of the incredibly diverse fruiting bodies we see above ground, but there is a whole network of fungal threads underneath the forest floor! This network of fungal threads, known as mycelium, intertwine with tree roots...

Jumping Spider Responses to Color

Jumping Spider Responses to Color

Many animals use color to determine whether food is nutritional or poisonous. A ladybug's red color, for example, shows birds that she is toxic to eat. This evolutionary trait is called aposematism. It has been heavily studied that when birds and other animals are...

Native of the Month: Devil’s Club

Native of the Month: Devil’s Club

It's not hard to imagine the origin of this plant's namesake. Devil's club is known for its aggressive spikes on thick yellowish stems. This Pacific Northwest native generally grows around 5 feet tall (1.5 meters), but in undisturbed areas, can reach up to 16 feet (3...

Pacific Northwest Native Tree Diseases

Pacific Northwest Native Tree Diseases

Known as the Evergreen State, Washington is replete with many different species of trees. There are also plenty of diseases that can harm them. The leaves, roots, or branches of various tree species can become infected with diseases that lead to wood decay, reduced...

Native of the Month: Bark Beetles

Native of the Month: Bark Beetles

Bark BeetlesBark beetles are both friends and foes. They are native decomposers, pollinators, and food for wildlife in Washington state forests, but they also cause tree mortality which is exacerbated by climate change. Bark beetle species in Washington include red...

Native of the Month: Bog Laurel

Native of the Month: Bog Laurel

Bog Laurel - Kalmia MicrophyllaBog laurel, also known as swamp laurel, is a short shrub with oppositely arranged, leathery, glossy leaves. Its stems stand erect, and its small, pink flowers are found in clusters. The fruit are woody capsules that have long stems on...

Native of the Month: American Pika

Native of the Month: American Pika

American Pika- Ochotona princepsThe American pika lives in high elevation, cool climate areas west of the Rocky Mountains including places like Mount Rainer National Park. Typically found above the tree line, they live on rock faces and cliffs near the...

Significance of Environmental Education

Significance of Environmental Education

The natural world is a fascinating place that sparks wonder and curiosities in all of us. As human beings, we are a part of the natural world and directly connect to it. But there is a disconnect between our society and the outdoors, and it is predicted to only grow...

Wildfires and the Climate Crisis

Wildfires and the Climate Crisis

Over the past few years, springs and summers in Washington have been replete with wildfires and the consequences have been nothing short of disastrous. By September in 2020, not only did fires burn over 626,982 acres and destroy 181 homes, but the University of...

Native of the Month: Serviceberry

Native of the Month: Serviceberry

Serviceberry - Amelanchier alnifolia Western service berry, Saskatoon, or Juneberry is a beautiful woody species that can be spotted throughout most of Canada and western North America because it can grow in a plethora of areas including open forests, stream banks,...

Salmon Increases Bird Abundance

Salmon Increases Bird Abundance

In the Pacific Northwest, we value salmon for a multitude of reasons, but the first that comes to mind may not be that they increase bird abundance and diversity. In a study completed by Marlene Wagner and John Reynolds, they found that more birds habited streams and...

Native of the Month: American Robin

Native of the Month: American Robin

American Robin - Turdus migratoriusAmerican robins can be seen anywhere in North America and are often spotted running through lawns or perched in a tree. In the spring and summer, robin calls are a lovely sound to wake up to in the morning. As larger songbirds,...