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This season’s Perspectives series will begin at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center on Tuesday, November 10. Set for 7:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month from November through May, this year’s series presenters will offer windows into a wide range of Olympic National Park topics and adventures, from the recent discovery of a fossil sea star near Kalaloch to fish-counting snorkel trips and high-mountain archeology.
All programs will take place at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles. All are offered free of charge and are co-sponsored by the Friends of Olympic National Park. Seating is limited and attendees are urged to arrive early.
“I’m pleased to invite our neighbors and community members to our tenth annual Perspectives series,” said Superintendent Karen Gustin. “And I extend my sincere thanks to the Friends of Olympic National Park for co-hosting these talks with us.”
Details about this season’s programs are provided below:
November 10 – Plate Boundary Observatory: Monitoring the Pacific/North American Plate Boundary in Western United States and Alaska
Mike Jackson and Ken Austin, UNAVCO Plate Boundary Observatory
The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) project uses a variety of instruments, some of them located at Hurricane Ridge, coupled with aerial and satellite imagery, to measure both short and long term movements of the earth’s surface. Join Mike Jackson and Ken Austin from the PBO to learn how data collected is changing our current understanding of the geologic forces that shape the western United States.
December 8 – Fossil Sea Star Reveals Clues to Olympic’s Geologic Past
Elizabeth Nesbitt, Burke Museum UW, Steve Fradkin, Coastal Ecologist, Olympic National Park
Walking along a popular beach on the coast of Olympic National Park, a visitor made an interesting discovery and reported it to a park ranger. The discovery, a fossilized sea star, is very significant as the only sea star known from the Hoh Formation, and one of very few known from the Pacific Northwest. Join Elizabeth Nesbitt and Steve Fradkin as they relate the tale of how the fossil was recovered and the insights the specimen might reveal on Olympic’s paleoenvironment.
January 12 - From Headwaters to Sea: Riverscape Snorkel Surveys to Assess Fish Populations in Olympic National Park
Sam Brenkman, Fisheries Biologist, Olympic National Park
Fisheries biologists are going to extraordinary lengths to learn more about the life history of Olympic’s diverse fish populations. Over the years, researchers have donned drysuits and snorkel gear to survey hundreds of miles of icy, glacier fed rivers from the perspective of a fish. Join fish biologist Sam Brenkman to learn about their findings.
February 9 – An Olympic Poet and Naturalist Tim McNulty, Author
Author Tim McNulty will read from and discuss his book, Olympic National Park, A Natural History. Twelve years after the book’s initial publication, there have been many new studies, adding to our knowledge about the park. McNulty’s recently revised edition includes new research on glaciers, marmots, black bears, fishers, salmon and climate-driven changes in river dynamics. Tim McNulty is an award winning poet and author living in Sequim.
March 9 – Dam, Salmon, and Nutrients: Freshwater Ecology of the Elwha River Restoration Project
Jeffrey Duda, Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey
Dam removal and restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem raises a host of interesting questions. How will resident fish populations above the dams respond to returning salmon? How will the freshwater ecosystem change, after existing for 100 years without the nutrients provided by salmon? Jeffrey Duda will describe current research projects that are setting the stage for answering these and other questions.
April 13– They Went Where?! Archeology from the River Valleys to the Mountain Tops
Kim Kwarsick, Archeologist, Olympic National Park
Over the last 25 years, the search for archeological sites has become more sophisticated, expanding into almost every corner of Olympic National Park. These new findings are revealing how Native Americans once thrived in areas now considered remote wilderness. This presentation will discuss what archeologists believe Native Americans were doing at a variety of sites from the high country of the park to the forested river valleys.
May 11 – Lake Ozette Mercury Studies
Chad Furl, Washington State Department of Ecology
A multi-year study revealed high concentrations of mercury in fish taken from Lake Ozette. How could a remote lake like Ozette be contaminated by elevated levels of mercury? Additional studies have sought clues to explain the elevated levels of mercury and to identify the sources. Chad Furl, Washington State Department of Ecology will present the latest research findings on mercury in Lake Ozette.