2021-05-22 Jennifer Pierce—Wildfires, Climate and Erosion

On Saturday May 22, 2021 @ 4 pm, Dr. Jennifer Pierce of the Dept. of Geology at Boise State University presented a Zoom lecture on “Wildfires, Climate and Erosion in the past, present and future”.  Jennifer has been working on these topics since graduate school and will integrate these three subjects with reference to forests of the Northern Rocky Mountains. Although her studies have been concentrated in the Northern Rockies, the lessons learned apply well to the relatively arid regions of the West. Since she is speaking in late May, we could be into our fire season here in Washington, so the subject will be timely.

2021-04-10 Trevor Contreras, Geology and the Art of Stone Carving

Geology and the Art of Stone Carving

Many members of the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association (NWSSA), including me, use Washington rocks in their art. In this talk, I’ll give an overview of this state’s geological setting  that provide these stones and describe the connections among basalt, dunite, jade, and the glacial erratics that we work with. I’ll highlight a few of my favorite sculptors, talk about some of the stone they work, and touch on tools and techniques we use to sculpt these locally sourced stones.

In 2009 King County geologist Greg Wessel curated a geology and art show on Vashon Island called, “Geo sapiens”.  At the show’s opening I met Shannon and Wilson geologist Bill Laprade. Bill was showing a couple pieces of Texas limestone carved with geology themes. His stone sculpture really made an impact on me. Bill encouraged me to attend a stone-carving symposium put on by NWSSA (see below). I attended my first weeklong symposium in July of 2011 and I’ve been making dust ever since.

You may want to visit some or all of these links before the talk to see artists in action:

The Speaker

Trevor Contreras

Trevor is a Licensed Engineering Geologist with the Landslide Hazards Program at the Washington Geological Survey, where he studies landslides and helps communities under-stand and mitigate landslide hazards. He has worked for the WGS since 2006 in various positions and in the Forest Practices Division helping foresters understand landslides and evaluate timber harvest proposals.

Prior to working for the Survey, he worked for the Washington Department of Ecology, regulating well drilling and water well construction.

Click here to see my bio:   https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/ger_bio_contreras_trevor.pdf


2021-02-27 Ben Goldfarb, Dam It—How beavers shape the landscape

Our featured speaker on Saturday Feb, 27th is Ben Goldfarb. In Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern conception of a healthy ecosystem is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s waterways. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: ponds drained, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”—including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens—recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands, Believers are hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts. In his talk, Ben will discuss the history of this world-changing species; how beavers can help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, and climate change; and how we can coexist with this vital but occasionally challenging species.

The Speaker

Ben Goldfarb is the author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award and named a best book of 2018 by the Washington Post. His environmental journalism has also appeared in the AtlanticScienceThe New York Times, Outside Magazine, High Country News, and many other publications. His next book, on the science of road ecology, will be published in 2022 by W.W. Norton & Company. Ben lives in Spokane, Washington, with his wife, Elise, and his dog, Kit — which is, of course, what you call a baby beaver.