2018 Summer Lecture Series


The 31st Annual Summer Lecture Series at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR will be held Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in the Norm Dicks Visitor Center auditorium in July and August.  The auditorium seats 100 people and the doors open at 6:00 p.m. All lectures are free.  Thanks to Friends of Nisqually NWR Complex for their support of the summer lecture series. 

July 11 

So you want to be a Park Ranger

Russ Cahill has been a Deputy Sheriff, a National Park Ranger, and the Director of State Parks in Alaska and California. He has authored several works including Kolea, a novel about ancient Hawai’i and Tales from the Parks, a memoir of park ranger days.  

Russ will talk with you on his thoughts regarding the parks true origins and give some perspective on the present day situations. Along the way he will share stories from the “wild days” in the parks of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Be prepared for a conversation rather than a lecture. Questions are welcome; answers possible. There will be a quiz.


July 18   

Water, water everywhere, but is there enough? The paradox of water in Thurston County. 

Kevin Hansen, LHg. LG, LEED AP is County Hydrogeologist for Thurston County, Washington.

This talk will “follow the water” as it moves through our county. Come along on the journey as we learn about the twelve feet of rain falling in the Black Hills, to the drying streams in Yelm, to the amazing She Nah Nam (McAllister/Medicine Springs) gushing water, and to the wastewater feeding our summer creek flow. A portion of the data being presented was identified and calculated as part of the intensive data evaluation efforts in the aftermath of the Washington Supreme Court’s Hirst decision in late 2016. Kevin Hansen is coming to convey the story behind the significant variance in water levels and its data impacting Thurston County.


July 25  

Have You Ever Wondered What the ‘Mane’ Difference is Between the American Lion, aka the Cougar, and the African Lion?”


Robyn Barfoot, Board member/core trainer at Wild Felid Advocacy Center

Have you ever pondered what the differences are between our American lion and the African lion? Let’s explore a local jewel and then take it global to the king of the jungle in Africa! We will even make a stop along the way to visit the very rare and endangered Asiatic lion. Join me in a fun filled, informative and intriguing evening that is bound to make you roar with excitement over these amazing felines! (Disclosure: The only lions that will be present during this lecture are the adorable stuffed animal kind.)


August 1  

Colors of the West: An Artist's Guide to Nature's Palette   

Molly Hashimoto  

Learn how Molly Hashimoto got started traveling and painting in the American West. Her artistic inspirations for her work include artists Thomas Moran and Abby Williams Hill. See how she keeps her outdoor art supplies simple and portable, and how you can try that for yourself. She'll bring a few of her favorite materials for you to test.


August 8 

Getting Past Your Photo Gear for Better Bird Photographs
 Tim Boyer, author of Learn the Art of Bird Photography  

Whether you have a DSLR, a bridge camera or your digiscope, there are some important fundamentals of bird photography. This presentation talks about how to improve your bird photographs no matter what camera you may have. We’ll look at the fundamentals of bird photography through the elements necessary to make a beautiful image. Those photographic elements include the quality of light you choose, getting a sharp image, a great point of view, managing the background, what to watch for at the edges of the frame, great composition, and how to get a good exposure. Tim will further present examples of proper field techniques along with how to get the best sun angle, how to get close to birds, and how to photograph birds in flight.  


August 15 

Washington’s Humble Bumbles


David Jennings has an academic background in wildlife ecology and conservation.   His conservation focus is on our native pollinators

Bumbles serve as a great introduction to our native bees and other pollinators.  Field identification of bumble bees is harder than it might seem. Not only do other insects try to look like them but different species of bumble bees in a given area tend to look like each other. Across the U.S. there are approximately 48 species of bumble bees.  At least twenty-four of them can be found in Washington. Our major focus will be ID tips for some of our more common species. Come learn about our native bumble bees, their behavior, our local ecology and local conservation issues. Learn them, respect them, protect them!


 August 22  

Life’s a beach: Snowy Plovers and what it really means to be a beach-nesting shorebird.


Gabrielle Robinson is a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Even for the species that have evolved to live and reproduce almost exclusively in coastal habitats, the beach can be a harsh and unforgiving place to call home. The increasing pressure from development, recreation, climate change, and the spread of invasive species threatens the inconspicuous but incredibly tenacious little shorebird, the Snowy Plover. See how this remarkable shorebird somehow manages to beat the odds of survival each year on our west coast beaches. Learn about the day-to-day struggles these threatened birds face, as well as some surprising success stories, and what you can do to help.


August 29 

 For Heaven’s Sake Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation    

Come see the owls!

Claudia Supensky, Director/Founder; and David Supensky, Project Manager Wildlife Rehabilitation - licensed with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

This presentation is expected to inform and educate attendees about wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Learn about various species, what to do when coming upon animals that need help, and the mission of the Rehab Center:  "For Heaven’s Sake Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation (FHSARR) is dedicated to the preservation of orphaned and injured animals (wildlife) by providing quality care and treatment in a safe, secure and nurturing environment while preparing them for release into their natural habitat,” FHSARR is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.