Land trust offers fire education



— The Okanogan Land Trust plans a series of educational events in early May concerning the role of wildfire and prescribed burns on the landscape.

Several of the activities are near Riverside, with some in and near Okanogan.

A presentation, open to the public, is planned at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Okanogan County Public Utility District headquarters, 1331 N. Second Ave., Okanogan.

Dale Swedberg of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Tom Leuschen of Fire Vision in Twisp will explain why fire is needed, the goals of prescribed burning and how prescribed fires work.

Next Wednesday, advanced biology students from Kathleen Ferguson’s class at Okanogan High School will conduct the fifth annual field study of the recovery of soil, vegetation, insects, birds and waterways after the 2009 Oden Road Fire. The site is on state Highway 20 west of Okanogan.

A public presentation of their findings will be scheduled later this spring.

The land trust has joined with Working for Wildlife, an initiative of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, on a multi-year, public-private effort to build partnerships to maintain and conserve working agricultural lands, improve forest health and wildlife habitat, provide safer passage for wildlife and motorists on U.S. Highway 97, and promote coexistence between wildlife and ranchers, the trust said.

A number of public and private organizations are involved.

Other events include a by-invitation conservation easement workshop Friday, Scanlon Lake conservation easement celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in the Lime Belt, a journalists’ tour of Tunk Valley, hike to Bee Hive Mountain at 10 a.m. May 10, and the Washington Association of Land Trusts spring meeting May 15-16.

Not all the events are open to the public.



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