By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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One involves buying a ticket, grabbing some gear, getting a boat and competing to catch the biggest fish.
Not too difficult, and hundreds of anglers are expected to participate in the annual Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby.
Others, though, will be ready for a break after a long week of being overworked or have no desire to brave the cold or simply prefer to spend the holiday weekend at home.
For these, there is the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Participation is so easy. All it takes is 15 minutes of your time between Friday, Feb. 14, and Monday, Feb. 17.
Go outside to your backyard, a nearby park or anywhere a bird might fly, and keep a count of the number of birds you see by species over the course of a 15-minute period. Then, enter that information on the Great Backyard Bird Count's website at www.tinyurl.com/pdnCountBirds.
If you haven't participated in a past bird count, you'll need to create a new account.
The, enter your results on the website by clicking “Submit Observations” on the home page. Or download the free GBBC BirdLog app to enter data on a mobile device.
Of course, you can count for longer than 15 minutes, and you can count more than once and in more than one location. Fifteen minutes in one location is the minimum.
Just submit a new separate survey for each new day and location.
It's fairly easy, and you'll be helping science.
Now, I know the word “science” is like the broccoli on a plate that features your favorite meal. It kind of ruins everything for some of you.
But, these counts, along with others such as the Christmas Bird Count, help scientists know a lot about birds. For instance, where the population of a species is and how they are being affected by climate changes and diseases such as West Nile virus.
Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby
But maybe you think counting birds is for the birds, or you don't want to waste a holiday weekend at home thinking about work.
Well, the much ballyhooed Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby also takes place next weekend, spanning 500 square miles of water off the North Olympic Peninsula.
The derby is hosted each year by the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, and it benefits emergency and other important services for nearby communities such as Gardiner, Diamond Point and Blyn.
The grand prize is $10,000. There are currently 44 prizes that have been donated by area residents and business, which total $21,654. That includes four $500 mystery fish prizes, for which every submitted fish weighing more than 6 pounds is eligible.
In addition to all those prizes, a number of derby tickets are available for Wounded Warriors (see www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org for details).
Fish can be submitted at five weigh stations: Freshwater Bay, Ediz Hook in Port Angeles, John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Gardiner and Port Townsend Boat Haven.
“Fees at all our launch ramps have again been waived this year for derby participants, thanks to generous support from Port of Port Townsend and Port of Port Angeles,” Dan Tatum, President of Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, said in a news release.
The Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby is more than a derby — it's an event.
For instance, there are two free barbecues for derby participants. The first is Saturday, Feb. 15, at Port Townsend's Point Hudson Sea Marine docks from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Team Lowrance and Team Simrad boats will be there from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. to show their new boats and how the latest electronics can improve your fishing.
The other barbecue is Monday, Feb. 17, at the Gardiner Boat Ramp, leading up to the 2 p.m. awards ceremony.
The awards ceremony also includes a cash prize raffle.
Tickets for the derby cost $40 for one day or all three days ($42.50 online). They can be purchased at many area merchants through Friday, Feb. 14, or online through Wednesday at www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org (these tickets can be picked up at a launch ramp of your choosing).
Tickets also will be available at the five launch ramps, but only Saturday, Feb. 15.
Sports Editor Lee Horton's outdoors column appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at email@example.com.