The Dungeness River Nature Center’s new Saturday night outdoor speaker series will be held at the outdoor classroom on the center’s grounds. (Photo courtesy of Dungeness River Nature Center)

The Dungeness River Nature Center’s new Saturday night outdoor speaker series will be held at the outdoor classroom on the center’s grounds. (Photo courtesy of Dungeness River Nature Center)

New Sunset Speaker Series set at Dungeness River Nature Center

Experts to begin presentations this Saturday

SEQUM — The natural wonders of the Olympic Peninsula will be in the spotlight in a new Saturday night outdoor speaker series in Sequim.

Sunset Speaker Series presentations at the outdoor classroom at the Dungeness River Nature Center, 1943 W. Hendrickson Road, will begin at 7 p.m.

Admission is free, with a suggested $5 donation for River Center education programs.

Five speakers will present talks in July, August and September — including one on forest bathing meditation with guided walks the following day.

Presenters are experts in their field, providing information on geology, paleo-history, mammals and reintroduced (and succulent) native oysters, organizers said.

Visitors are urged to bring their own camp chair, snacksand non-alcoholic drinks.

The first in the series will be this Saturday. “When Geologists Are in the Mountains, They Are Thinking About the Ocean” will be presented by Dann May, Peninsula College geology/philosophy professor.

May will discuss the geological forces that shaped the Olympic Peninsula, from the Cascadia Subduction Zone and plate tectonics to Ice Age continental glaciers, submarine volcanic eruptions and deep sea turbidites formed by underwater “avalanches.”

Also, there will be a brief look at the common rocks of the Olympic Peninsula.

Here is the rest of the schedule:

• July 29 — “Paleochannels of the Dungeness” with David Brownell, executive director at the North Olympic History Center.

Brownell will discuss the shifting “paleochannels” of the Dungeness River and establish an environmental and anthropological framework to reach a better understanding of the history of the Dungeness River since the end of the last ice age.

Learn about the archaeological, geological and other evidence to “recreate” the landscape of the North Olympic Peninsula as it adapted to changes in climate, biology and other factors.

• Aug. 19 — “Forest Bathing & Awe: An Invitation to an Embodied Practice” with Michael Stein-Ross, founder of Cascadia Forest Therapy.

Through his experience as a nature and forest therapy guide, Stein-Ross explores how the practice of forest bathing can invite awe into our lives.

He discusses the history of the practice as well as the science behind its physiological benefits.

Throughout the talk, he offers sensory-focused invitations to bring to life some of the themes of the discussion.

• Aug. 20 — “Forest Bathing & Awe: A Guided Walk in Railroad Bridge Park.

Two guided walks are set, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from noon to 2 p.m. Pre-registration is required. The cost is $10 for Nature Center members, $15 for non-members. All hiking levels are welcome. Attend the talk on Saturday evening for greater context around the practice of forest bathing, also known as shinrin-yoku.

• Sept. 9 — “Making Connections: Place-Based Studies of Large Mammals of the Olympic Peninsula” with Kim Sager-Fradkin, Wildlife Program Manager with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

Sager-Fradkin will discuss the work of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and partners to document wildlife recolonization of the Elwha River Watershed since dam removal, and will also share stories from the Olympic Cougar Project.

• Sept. 16 — “The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of the Olympia Oyster” with Neil Harrington, environmental biologist with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

This talk will cover the history of Washington’s only native oyster and present-day efforts of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to restore and protect these iconic shellfish.

For more information about the series, contact Montana Napier at 360-681-5637 or montana@ dungenessrivercenter.org.

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