WINGS OVER ELLENSBURG
This issue of the Gnum invites you and your family to sign up for this year’s most centrally located annual conference in several years. We had a good turnout for last year’s event in the far off Wallowa Mountains of eastern Oregon, and enjoyed hobnobbing with many Oregonians who love their butterflies, but we missed many of you! Our WBA Board was thus motivated to pull this year’s conference in much closer to just about all of our members. We’ll meet in Ellensburg for the weekend of July 14-16 for our official field trips and events, following all that with another free “extra” Monday field day on the 17th for those of you who can manage to stretch your time with us. This central location is easily reached within 1-1/2 to 4 hours for nearly everyone on our mailing list, whether you reside in Puget Sound, Spokane or somewhere along the Gorge. David James will be delivering our keynote on butterfly conservation, and, who better, than a man who has studied and written up the life cycle of every Cascadian butterfly species? His co-author, David Nunnallee, is scouting out our trails and will coordinate leading the trips. We will explore accessible meadows of the central Cascade range, with perhaps some options to spread out into the nearby low elevation country as well. The operative word at this time is accessible. As noted elsewhere in this issue, there are road washouts, possible mudslides and other generally swampy conditions that may force our field trip leaders to think on their feet and work closely with forest service staff to find good locations. In addition, we may be departing from past traditions somewhat by moving out into smaller field groups, of up to 12 persons, because we have been cautioned by Forest Service staff that our larger groups of 30-40 or more may be too hard on the more sensitive habitats we’ll explore. In this event, we will have more trip leaders handy to make sure everyone gets up the mountains to see something exciting. Which butterflies to expect or hope for? Possibly the Oreas Comma. Four coppers, five greater Fritillaries, and the Halfmoon Hairstreak, for starters. We may see several of the newly described members of the Euphilotes tribe, so study your buckwheats! David James’ list of 50 species is pretty sparse on skippers, so we should expect to add several species to his list, perhaps some Duskywings? The Grizzled Skipper, or the Common Branded Skipper? Come help us find out. This year’s conference will continue offering Idie Ulsh memorial youth scholarships with the generous support of her family. And we will be offering free registration for the first time to all children and youth, preschool through 17 years old. A closing word to the wise: this time, bring lots of bug dope! We trust that mosquitoes are having a very happy springtime. The last time we had a season like this one, we saw hikers emerge for their return at the trailhead flailing and scratching themselves as if under assault by hives of bees.
Our 2017 Annual Conference will again feature a silent auction before the dinner on Saturday evening. We need you to make the auction a success. The first thing you can do is
donate new items to be auctioned. Popular items in the past were handmade scarves, artwork, and personalized butterfly field trips. If you know a craft or skill you might make an item for the auction, or offer your services. Businesses are often willing to make a modest donation for the goodwill and tax deduction. I asked a business, and it
was easier than you’d think—a modest donation is a routine thing for many businesses. If you want to ask a business for a donation, they may want a donation request form for tax purposes—we can provide a form if you need one. Let us know what you plan to donate before June 30 if possible, then bring your item to the conference. You can bring
your item to the conference but it’s much better if we know ahead of time what the items are. If you can’t make it to the conference, we’ll make other arrangements for your item. Remember—the most important thing you can do for the auction is bring your cash (or checks) to the conference and bid! If you have questions or want to make a donation, please contact me.