2021 Walks and Talks
How to Be a Citizen Scientist
2-3pm at the Summit Visitor Center
July 11, July 25, August 8
Do you like spending time outside learning about wildlife around you? Have you always wanted to be a scientist? Now is your chance to learn how! Citizen science is when everyday people help collect data for professional scientists. Interpretive Naturalists Rachel and Deanna will teach all ages how they can be citizen scientists. Learn how to use technology to help identify plants and animals and how to add the data to online collections that help researchers understand wildlife populations.
Bea & Cindy’s Mor’n S’mores
5 – 6pm at Cascade Lake Day-Use Shelter
Friday, June 25
Camping out means cooking out, and here are a few great ideas for you to try, especially if you want your kids to share KP. Simple pleasures over the fire, a propane stove…or a solar powered oven! Definitely family-friendly – in fact, encouraged!
A Sense of Place: Nature Awareness and Contemplation
Cold Spring Shelter on Mt. Constitution
Sunday from 10 – 11am, June 20, Summer Solstice
Sunday from 10 – 11am, September 19
Join Minor Lile as he leads us in a series of contemplative programs timed to coincide with the seasonal solstices and equinoxes. We’ll be given the opportunity to experience nature in its wholeness and to reflect upon and share our experiences. The program includes a brief talk followed by a field exploration. Best suited for age 8 and older, mostly level terrain.
10 – 11am at the Cascade Shelter
Saturdays, June 26 through August 14
Join interpretive naturalists Rachel Baker and Deanna Bugel as we discover the ways a Junior Ranger can have fun with hands-on learning, exciting games, funny stories, and great ideas on how we can safely enjoy and help conserve Moran State Park and the world around us. Please wear shoes good for doing a small walk-about. Small children need to be accompanied by adults. Ages 4-12.
Wildflowers and their pollinators
1 – 4:30pm at the first turnout on the road to the Summit
Wednesday, July 7
What makes Mt. Constitution special? Unique alpine meadows that occur nowhere else in the San Juan Islands! Drop by the temporary research station on the road to the Summit and chat with Madrona Murphy, botanist for the conservation research cooperative, Kwiaht, and Kwiaht ecologist Russel Barsh, as they observe native pollinators in one of Mount Constitution’s scenic meadows. You can find their book, Wildflowers of Moran State Park, at Darvill’s in Eastsound, and visit their special website by Googling sjipollinators. Great for all ages. This research station will be staffed for several hours, so if it seems a bit crowded, come back a little later!
Forage Fish & Their Link to Salmon and Orca Whales
4 – 5pm at Obstruction Pass (meet at the beach) Friday, July 9
Explore the beaches and marine environment of Obstruction Pass State Park with near-shore habitat biologist Tina Whitman of Friends of the San Juans. Learn about forage fish and the important role local shorelines play in supporting chinook salmon and the southern resident Orca whales. Family friendly; wear comfortable shoes that can get wet. Rain or shine.
Newts & Frogs & Salamanders, Oh My!
9am – Noon, on the Mountain Lake trail (Campground trailhead)
Friday, July 16
Join Kwiaht’s herpetologist, Christian Oldham, for an introduction to the wonderful world of Moran State Park’s amphibians! Come learn about the fascinating lifecycles of our native amphibians and meet some of them in person! Great for all ages. This research station will be staffed for several hours, so if it seems a bit crowded, come back a little later!
Squirrels in Moran State Park and on Orcas Island
6 – 7pm at Cascade Lake Day Use Shelter
Friday, July 16
Join Wildlife Biologist Joe Springer to explore the lives of squirrels of Moran State Park and within the San Juan Islands. We’ll Identify the Douglas Squirrel and the Eastern Fox Squirrel, inhabitants of our park, and discuss other neighboring squirrels. It is possible that Northern Flying Squirrels are here, too, but they aren’t seen as they are completely nocturnal and live in the dense coniferous forest. For adults and students.
Medicinal Plants of Moran State Park
6 – 7pm at the Cascade Shelter
Sunday, August 1
Join Kristy Bredin to take a virtual walk through the park and explore some of the plants you’ll find there and unearth their medicinal secrets. This slideshow will include pictures of plants in the park as well as information about timing of harvest and which parts are used for medicine and preparations. Great for all ages!
Bird Sleuth! Birds of the alpine woods and meadow
1 – 4:30pm at Little Summit (park at Little Summit turnout and walk up the short loop trail)
Saturday, August 7
Join Kwiaht ornithologist Joe Behnke during an afternoon of bird-watching at one of Mount Constitution’s most scenic overlooks where alpine meadows, woodlands, and rocky outcrops meet. Depending on weather and luck, you may be visited not only by songbirds, ravens, and woodpeckers but also by bald eagles and vultures. Great for all ages. Some spare binoculars and Bird Sleuth Workbooks will be available for young scientists. This research station will be staff for several hours, so if it seems a bit crowded, come back a little later!
The Forest Fantastic!
6 – 7pm Meet at flags near the ELC; park near ELC beach
Friday, Aug 20
The forest is a living, changing entity. Find out more about the four dominant tree species that make up our island forests. Use all your senses to get to know them like old friends. Join Carolyn Cruso, Naturalist/Environmental Educator, and learn which cones go with which trees. See how various disturbances in the system let in more light, effectively pressing the reset button on the cycle of forest succession. For adults, children, and families.
Shinrin-Yoku, Forest Bathing Stroll
11 – Noon at Cascade Falls Trail parking lot
Thursday, August 19
Experience the physical and mental health benefits of shinrin-yoku, the traditional Japanese wellness practice of forest bathing. Shinrin-yoku practitioner and guide Flavia Wagner will take you on a slow, intimate exploration of Moran’s forests that will engage all five senses. In the hour, she will unveil why this evidence-based practice is considered forest medicine by many. Walking shoes recommended. Ages 8 and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Bats’ Night Out! Bats over Mountain Lake
8 – 9:30pm at the bulletin board outside the ranger residence at Mountain Lake
Saturday, August 21
Join Kwiaht ecologist Russel Barsh for an introduction to the eight species of bats that roost in Moran State Park, followed by an opportunity to see bats flying over Mountain Lake by moonlight Eavesdrop on them using special electronic equipment that makes bats’ ultrasonic echolocation chirps as audible and understandable as bird songs! Family Friendly, younger children should be accompanied by an adult. Space at the lakeside viewpoint may be limited. This event is only possible one night each year!
Moran State Park in Photographs: Recent and Historic
6 – 7pm at Cascade Lake Day-Use Shelter
Thursday, September 10
Enjoy Peter Fisher’s collection of historic and recent photos about Moran State Park. The older images have been restored. Fun for all ages!