How to take yourself on a field trip, Part 1 by Libby Mills

posted Mar 30, 2020, 4:29 PM by Roxie Rochat

Seeking resident nesting birds and watching winter birds before they depart for the north

  1. Wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds.  At the same sink, look at your binoculars and note if they are waterproof.  If they are, give them a bath too.  Twenty seconds sounds about right.  Dry the lenses carefully, mindful that if you scratch the coatings that’s it.  You can’t re-coat them. If your bins are not waterproof, clean the lenses only, with proper lens fluid. Don’t soak them in running water.
  2. Grab a ball cap for the sun and find a place where you can put the sun at your back so that you get great light on the bushes where you want to see birds.
  3. Be still for five minutes as you look and listen attentively.  Bird song is most noticeable before 10 am, but now that spring is coming on strong, the birds are preparing to breed.   That means they are singing on territories to tell other birds they have claimed this area.  Always look at or listen to the bird as long as you can before turning away to look up either its looks or song.  If you look down at a book or an app on your phone that may be the last contact with that bird for a while. If you are using binoculars, try to see the bird singing.  Where does it like to sing? From a high perch? Or deep in a hidden place.  If you are seeing an old familiar bird, watch its activities and see if you can see it do something new.
  4. If you can’t find the bird with your binoculars, look with the unaided eye to get a broader field of view. Listen carefully. This shouldn’t be too hard if you are on a walk alone. When I lead groups of fifteen learners, I often think how much more they might find, being quiet and alone. 
  5. If you are home from work or school for a long time, this is a perfect time to start recording notes in a field journal. Take out that notebook you’ve been saving.  You have been saving it for now.  Be thoughtful, be brave, take notes, and make visual notes too.  You can trace the path a swallow makes in the air.  You can make an alphabet down the side of the page and try to find something that goes with each letter, in your surroundings.  You can turn the page and start over in a different habitat. There are a thousand directions for any of us to go on the page. 
  6. Make a list of every plant you see hummingbirds visit. Or make a list of every plant that’s in bloom.  Or find pussy willows and note which birds and insects are visiting it!  Try making a drawing, in ANY style, to remember the moment, the day, the time that you are living in.  A journal is filled with your own ideas and reflections as well as your observations.   I will try to keep part of my book just about nature.  One page at a time.  One moment at a time.  Take this opportunity to go deep into attentiveness and “enjoy the peace of wild things”.

When I want to know more about a bird and I’m near a computer I look up from Seattle Audubon.  I always have bird apps on my phone, or a field guide tucked in a big pocket.  Back indoors, look up and touch the pull down tabs for Birding, which will suggest many places to go birding near home, as well as Resources, that will help you find many learning resources on line.  Use some of your time at home to look at our conservation notes and be active to protect the birds and wild places we love.  Skagit Audubon is here to help you learn about and love birds.  Together we will protect what we care about, even if we aren’t closer than six feet, or more apart.

Reprinted with permission from

Covid-19 Update

posted Mar 30, 2020, 4:25 PM by Roxie Rochat

All BWH Programs are suspended until further notice due to the risks associated with COVID-19. We will update this notice and resume activities when the government health authorities say that it is safe to do so.

Salal Native Plant Sale - Postponed

posted Mar 26, 2020, 11:47 AM by Roxie Rochat

Because of the Stay at Home order for Washington State and our concern for everyone's health and safety, we are canceling the Native Plant Sale scheduled for May 2 and the picnic scheduled for May 16. We will consider some sort of sale, perhaps orders by email, in early summer depending on the situation. 
Stay well and stay tuned,


Wed, Mar 18th, 7pm: Living with a Green Roof - POSTPONED for COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS

posted Mar 5, 2020, 1:03 PM by Roxie Rochat   [ updated Mar 11, 2020, 3:29 PM ]

NOTE: We are regretfully cancelling this month's program and will reschedule it for a later date when we can assemble more safely.

How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives:

Discover what a living roof is and what an amazing ecosystem it becomes! Whether you want to install one or understand and appreciate their value. Learn the ins and outs of what a living roof is Wednesday, March 18, 7 p.m. at the Island County Multi-Purpose Center, 141 N East Camano Drive. Janet Hall will lead you on the journey of what their 4-year-old living roof has to offer as wildlife habitat and protection of our natural resources. Janet and her spouse built their sustainable house in 2006. One important component was to install a living roof. The learning curve was steep and worth the effort. 

The Camano Wildlife Habitat Project, sponsored by Friends of Camano Island Parks, hosts public presentations the third Wednesday of the month.  For information, call 360-387-2236, visit, or email


posted Mar 5, 2020, 12:55 PM by Roxie Rochat   [ updated Mar 26, 2020, 11:45 AM ]


Spring 2020
hosted by the Salal Chapter
of the Washington Native Plant Society

Originally scheduled for
May 2nd, 10 AM to Noon
has been postponed until further notice

Once again we have a great selection of
native trees, shrubs and flowers.
  • We will post the plant list in mid-March, but wanted you to have the date in your calendar now.
  • As in the past, the sale will take place at the south end of the WSU display gardens at 16650 State Route 536, west of Mount Vernon.
  • Proceeds are used for scholarships, educational programs and garden maintenance.
  • Come early for the best selection.
  • New! - Bring your empty 4" and 1 gallon plant pots - we are doing more propagation now and need them.
  • Email Salal Native Plant Garden <> for more information.

2/26/2020 7pm: Septic Drain Field Planting Ideas: Attractive Landscaping for your Septic Tank and Drain Field, Camano Library

posted Feb 21, 2020, 12:44 PM by Roxie Rochat

Sound Water Stewards-Camano Speaker Series Presents:

SEPTIC DRAIN FIELD PLANTING IDEAS: Attractive Landscaping Choices for your Septic Tank & Drain Field

Presented by Scott Chase, Sound Water Stewards

  • When 26 February 2020 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • Venue: Sno-Isle Library Camano
    848 N Sunrise Blvd, Camano Island WA 98282
  • contact_email:
Proper landscaping choices can protect you from damaging the investment you’ve made in your septic tank and drain field. This talk will address basic septic system and drain field maintenance; which plants, shrubs and ground covers are best and which to avoid; how drought-tolerant native plants can provide attractive alternatives to grass. Retired WSU Extension program coordinator Scott Chase has given talks in the past on planting for shoreline stability, wild mushrooms, and rain barrels.

PROGRAM: Wed, February 19: Firewise Gardening and Habitats by Kristin Marshall, SCD

posted Feb 18, 2020, 12:52 PM by Roxie Rochat

The wildfires in Australia and recent summer fires in our country encourage many of us to think about how we can protect our homes. Firewise practices can help reduce the risk of catastrophic damage, and if done with care, can also maintain essential habitat for birds, amphibians, and pollinators. Join Kristin Marshall, Senior Habitat Restoration Specialist with the Snohomish Conservation District, to learn how to reduce the extent of wildfire damage to your home and backyard wildlife habitat  Wednesday, February 19, 7 p.m., at the Island County Multi-Purpose Center, 141 N East Camano Drive (Blue Building). 

The Camano Wildlife Habitat Project, sponsored by Friends of Camano Island Parks, hosts public presentations the third Wednesday of the month.  For information, call 360-387-2236, visit, or email

Sat. Jan 25th, Stanwood Country Living Expo

posted Jan 21, 2020, 2:16 PM by Roxie Rochat

Several of our recent speakers are offering classes at the Stanwood Country Living Expo on January 25th:
Owls of the Night - Sheila Pera & Jan Brandt
Why are So Many Trees Dying? - Kevin Zobrist
Bats! Who They Are, Where They Live, and Who They Benefit! - Meg Lunnum

Other wildlife habitat related classes include:
bee keeping for honey,
mason bee farming,
landscape design,
managing wildlife habitats,
pruning, &
pollinator gardening.

See for class listings and registration details.

Cancelled: Jan 15th Program - Birds and Window Collisions - Kim Nelson

posted Jan 14, 2020, 3:19 PM by Roxie Rochat

The Camano Wildlife Habitat meeting scheduled for Wednesday night, January 15th, has been cancelled due to weather and road conditions. We will try to reschedule the speaker for a future meeting.

Updates on Program Cancellations

posted Jan 13, 2020, 1:02 PM by Roxie Rochat

We will definitely post news about program cancellations here if the weather makes travel unsafe.
Please continue to monitor this website for further updates.

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