Recent local blog posts

Seeing and Being The Traveler on Hood Canal

Thurston Talk - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 6:37am


“A traveler is really not someone who crosses ground so much as someone who is always hungry for the next challenge and adventure,” penned writer Pico Iyer. But for lucky Hood Canal area residents, The Traveler is both destination and guide, watching over the area and its outdoors-loving population. According to legend, The Traveler’s shape

Cierra Davis, Aaliyah Kautz Power North Thurston Fastpitch

Thurston Talk - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 6:27am


One wouldn’t speak and the other couldn’t stop talking. That’s how North Thurston High School fastpitch coach Pete Feliciano remembers seniors Aaliyah Kautz and Cierra Davis as freshmen. They were polar opposites personality-wise, but the one trait they shared from the moment they stepped on campus was excelling at the sport. Kautz serves as a utility

Mac Armstrong – River Ridge Baseball’s Lone Senior Stepping Up Big

Thurston Talk - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 2:52pm


River Ridge baseball coach Chad Arko has guided the Hawks to numerous district titles, usually on the backs of a strong senior class which is looking to end their high school careers on a high note. And this year? “We don’t have a senior class,” Arko said. “We have one guy.” That lone senior is

Visit Capitol Land Trust’s Springer Lake Preserve!

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 2:16pm
Event:  Sat, 06/25/2016 - 12:00pm

Event:  Visit Capitol Land Trust’s Springer Lake Preserve!

Date: Saturday, June 25, 2016

Time: 12 PM

Location: Springer Lake Preserve in Tumwater


Springer Lake, protected forever by Capitol Land Trust, is in a private community and this is a rare chance to visit this beautiful lake and see its flora and fauna. Pack a picnic, along with a chair or blanket and inflatable floatation device, and walk ¼ mile to Springer Lake.  Sit along the shores of the lake to enjoy your lunch, and weather permitting, get on your floating device and paddle around the lake to have the opportunity to see a rare bog. 


Registration Required. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Keeping Kids’ Minds and Bodies Active at Healthy Kids Day

Thurston Talk - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 11:59am


Submitted by The South Sound YMCA Summer is just around the corner and with it children’s break from the routine—mornings spent sleeping in, afternoons spent watching television or playing video games in the cool air conditioning and evenings enjoying a nice ice cream cone before bed. It may sound great, but a summer spent like

Jeff Galloway to Run in 35th Capital City Marathon on May 15

Thurston Talk - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 11:21am


Submitted by the Capital City Marathon Former Olympian Jeff Galloway will add the Capital City Marathon (CCM) to the list of more than 200 marathons he has finished when he comes to Olympia for CCM Race Weekend, May 14-15. It will be his first Washington marathon. “I look forward to meeting the people in this

Westport Wins Gold In New York

Thurston Talk - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 10:52am


Submitted by Westport Winery Garden Resort Westport Winery Garden Resort earned a gold medal on their sparkling Gewurztraminer wine called Going Coastal at the 16thAnnual Finger Lakes Wine Competition held in Rochester, New York on March 18-20. This is one of the largest competitions in the nation with over 3800 wines entered representing over 900 wineries.

Olympia to Receive Justice Department Community Court Grant

Thurston Talk - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 10:33am


Submitted by The City of Olympia The City of Olympia is one of ten applicants nationwide to be named a 2016 Community Court Grant Program winner, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance announced today, in partnership with the Center for Court Innovation. As a selected site, the Olympia Community Court will receive $200,000, as well as technical assistance from the

Thurston County Ranks Seventh Healthiest in State

Thurston Talk - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 10:28am


Submitted by Thurston County Public Health  The annual County Health Rankings report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranks Thurston County the seventh healthiest of Washington’s 39 counties. Thurston County moved into the top ten in 2013, having been Washington’s 14th healthiest county in 2012.  The County

Wolves: The Musical

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 7:22pm
Event:  Wed, 05/11/2016 - 8:00pm - 9:15pm

Come join us at the library for this special theatrical event!  Created for the joy of creation, this all-star local cast lights up the stage with original songs and choreography. Asking the questions "What is the world?"
and, "what is life?" and perhaps "what is my place in it all?" This program will
occur after regular library hours and no other library services will be
provided.  All library programs are free and open to the public. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Ned Hayes - Author Visit

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 7:19pm
Event:  Thu, 05/05/2016 - 7:30pm - 8:45pm

Join us at the library, where Pacific Northwest author Ned Hayes will join us on his first book tour stop for
the new novel "The Eagle Tree," the story of an Olympia boy obsessed by climate
change, fighting to save an old growth tree. This program will occur after
regular library hours and no other library services will be available.  All library programs are free and open to the public. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Award-Winning New York Saxophonist Daniel Bennett in Concert

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 2:29pm
Event:  Mon, 05/02/2016 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Join us at the library for a performance by award-winning saxophonist, Daniel Bennett.  All library programs are free and open to the public. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Free Naturescaping for Water & Wildlife Class

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 2:24pm
Event:  Thu, 05/05/2016 - 6:00pm - 9:15pm

Interested in sustainable landscaping practices that can result in reduced maintenance chores, including watering and mowing, while also attracting birds and butterflies? Join WSU’s Native Plant Salvage Project for its popular "Naturescaping" workshop on Thursday, May 5 from 6-9:15 p.m. at the Tumwater Fire Hall, 311 Israel Rd. SW, Tumwater. Sponsored by City of Tumwater/Stream Team.

The class is free, but you must register to participate. Go to and click on “calendar.” For more information contact WSU Native Plant Salvage Project at or 360-867-2167. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

May Day Plant Sale to Feature Native Specialty Perennials & Small Shrubs

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 1:46pm
Event:  Sun, 05/01/2016 - 11:00am - 3:00pm

Hard-to-find specialty native perennial flowers, small shrubs, and rain garden plants will be offered for sale by the Native Plant Salvage Foundation from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 at the WSU Extension Office, 5033 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia. The event will feature plants that are drought-tolerant, disease resistant, and sure to attract native birds and butterflies. Buyers may pre-order in advance or shop in person on May 1. Perennial lists and prices can be found at For more information, contact or 360-867-2167. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

A Wild Success: Food

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 12:51pm
 Part 3 in a series of stories about the Capitol Lake Interpretive Center

Text by Nancy Partlow©  All photos were taken at the Interpretive Center by Nancy Partlow© or Barry Troutman©

The Capitol Lake Interpretive Center attracts so much wildlife because of its abundance of food.  This is not surprising, since the native plants installed there were chosen specifically for this purpose, to provide a wide variety of fruits, seeds and insects.

Oregon grapes
The CLIC's heavy concentration of berry-bearing shrubs and trees especially contribute to the park's reputation as a birding hotspot.
One species of plant that the familiar American robin  frequents is Red elderberry.  The crimson fruits are eaten so fast  they seem to evaporate.
 Lonicera involucrata, or Twinberry is another a wildlife favorite.  I was unfamiliar with this shrub prior to seeing it at the Interpretive Center, and was surprised at the play it gets. 
Twinberry  attracts pollinators with nectar-sweet flowers, and birds with fat, shiny berries.

Anna's Hummingbird sips nectar from a twinberry blossom at the CLIC
Photo courtesy of Barry Troutman
  In the spring, high-pitched calls and rustling shrubbery alert human users of the CLIC to flocks of Cedar Waxwings feasting in the large, trailside bushes.

Omnivorous waxwings may be the greatest beneficiaries of our state capital's most thoughtfully-conceived wildlife area, freely exploiting its bounty of fruits, insects and flowers. 
A Cedar waxwing eats hawthorn berries at the CLIC
Photo courtesy of Barry Troutman
There is an old Madrone tree next to the CLIC's main trail.  It comes alive with swarms of feeding-frenzied birds when the berries are ripe.
A Red-shafted flicker harvests Madrone berries
near the Interpretive Center's main trail.
Photo courtesy of Barry Troutman
Vireos, warblers, robins, flycatchers and wood ducks devour Red-osier dogwood's copious fruits. Red-osier dogwood berries Plush, velvety thimbleberries are a juicy enticement to humans and wildlife alike. Thimbleberry Salmonberries glow with the light of the sun that grew them.  They are consumed by a wide variety of CLIC bird species including robins, tanagers, finches, wrens, bushtits and towhees. Salmonberries Seeds are an additional source of nourishment at the CLIC, where Red alder is the most abundant tree by number.  Its diminutive seed cones provide chickadees and other small birds welcome winter fodder.
Photo courtesy of Barry Troutman
Douglas fir cones extend an open invitation to nuthatches, chickadees and small mammals.                                             Nootka rose hips are eaten by juncos, grosbeaks, thrushes, chipmunks, rabbits and deer.

Some birds use the tough seeds as grit to help them digest food.

Capitol Lake is a fecund breeding pond for diverse species of flying insects that keep CLIC inhabitants fat and happy.  For example, it’s not uncommon to see clouds of “gnats” wafting above the trails. These are actually chironomus midge flies.  In their larval and pupal stages, midges live on the muddy bottom of the lake, where fish, birds and aquatic insects consume them. In their adult flight form, male chironomids create swarms of thousands of individuals swirling in now-you-see-‘em-now-you-don’t whirlwinds.                                                                 
Male midges have elaborate, feathery antennae, which are used to detect the specific buzz tone that a female fly emits as she enters the swarm to mate.

Their large antennae don’t seem to save them from the sticky webs of spiders, or from the beaks of hungry hummingbirds that pluck the tiny flies from the air with ease.

Another freshwater aquatic insect with an adult flight form is the October Caddis Fly.  Caddis flies breed in the near-shore leaf litter at the bottom of the lake, emerging into winged insects in the fall, although I've often seen them at other times of the year.  Fly-catching birds perform impressive aerial acrobatics pursuing them.

Leaf litter is a valuable nutritional resource.   It mulches and nourishes the CLIC's many trees and shrubs, but also provides a rich larder for ground-feeding birds and mammals that kick up the organic debris in search of fallen seeds, grubs and other small invertebrates.

Of course, the main food at the CLIC is the esculent greenery that supports foliage-munching mammals and insects.
A young deer buck browses scrumptious new growth.
A caterpillar hides out in a thimbleberry blossom to escape
the eyes of hungry birds The Capitol Lake Interpretive Center is animated by creatures pursuing life's prime directive of survival.  This is not by accident, but by design.  In an era when humans are destroying wildlife habitat at an astounding rate, the CLIC extends a small but gracious overture to our earthly companions to share their lives with us.  For that reason alone, it is well worth celebrating.    Many thanks to Barry Troutman for the use of his wonderful photos.--------Resources:


Washington Native Plant Society's list of plants that provide berries and seeds, and the animals that eat them:


An American Robin gobbling down red elderberries at the CLIC:

A Song sparrow scratches up leaf litter at the CLIC in search of food:

Online photos:

Robin eating red-osier dogwood berries:

Red-breasted sapsucker with salmonberry in its beak:

Song sparrow with thimbleberry:

Juvenile robin eating Oregon grapes:,+American+2010.07.09a+sub-adult+eating+Oregon+Grape.jpg

A salmonberry with a bird bite in it 
Categories: Local Environment

YWCA of Olympia Springs into Action

Thurston Talk - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 12:39pm


Submitted by YWCA of Olympia  Last year, so many of our Spring Into Action guests let us know that our Mission Showcase was not just an event, but a powerful experience. Mark your calendar for another inspiring night on April 28. This year’s Spring Into Action Mission Showcase will again feature great food, wine, beer & beverages, raffles, social time and a truly unique opportunity

Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 10:52am


Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton My name is Azi.  I am a one year, old male, Egyptian Pharaoh Hound/Australian Cattle Dog mix.   I have lots of energy and know some of my basic commands such as sit and lay down. Learning to walk nicely on a leash is what I am working on right now.

Lunch and Peonies in West Seattle

This post was written by guest blogger, Karen Valenzuela, an enthusiastic Rebel by Bus.  Thank you, Karen! 

pagoda so seattleOn a recent blustery spring morning, nine rebels gathered at the Martin Way park-and-ride in Olympia to board the 605 Intercity Transit bus to Lakewood, on our way to pay a visit to South Seattle Community College.   At the Highway 512 park-and-ride in Lakewood, we caught the Sound Transit 594 bus, which toured us through several stops in Tacoma on our way to downtown Seattle, where we then hopped the Metro 125 at 3rd & Pike.  That route took us along the soon-to-be-closed Alaskan Way viaduct where we were able to get a quick glimpse of the resting Bertha, the huge machine that’s boring the enormous hole in the earth for the tunnel that will someday replace the viaduct. And though by this point in our adventure it was misting heavily, the view of Elliot Bay was nonetheless deligso seattle chinese garden 2htful as always. We arrived at the college just in time for our pre-arranged luncheon at the Culinary Arts Center, and were served by no fewer than three waitstaff who took very seriously seeing to our every need.  We enjoyed a three-course meal, and lingered so long over coffee and dessert that we were behind schedule to visit the Chinese Garden and arboretum. Peonies in the garden were in full bloom, and were an elegant complement to the spare Chinese architecture of the garden.  This is really an impressive facility, and open to the public for rental peonies so seattle collegefor weddings and other kinds of events.  The arboretum, adjacent to the Chinese garden, is small-ish but also breathtaking in the number of plants and how they’re all arranged.  Both the Chinese Garden and the arboretum, as well as a nearby plant nursery, are part of the community college’s horticulture program, training students in all aspects of the cultivation, care and business of plants.  We caught a later bus off the campus than we were originallycarp so seattle college scheduled for, which put us in Lakewood just after our bus to Olympia had departed.  But even with an hour wait for the next 605, we were back in Olympia shortly after 6:00 PM, tired but generally happy after our day as rebels by bus. This is an adventure by bus I cannot recommend too highly!

Categories: Local Environment

Get Hitched on Hood Canal — 5 Wedding Worthy Locations with a View

Thurston Talk - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 6:07am


The Pavilion at Sentry Park Whether you want to wed in a stunning garden courtyard or prefer The Pavilion’s elegant ballroom, this historic Shelton event center has become a popular destination for weddings of all kinds. And this beautiful venue boats everything you need to bring your special day to life — especially if you

Capital High School’s Link Crew Welcomes Freshmen with Open Arms

Thurston Talk - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 6:00am


High school can be a scary experience, especially for incoming freshmen on their first day. It can be intimidating to be thrown into a new environment and these high school newbies always need a bit of guidance. Luckily, Link Crew is here to help. “Link Crew is a group of upperclassmen students who gather together

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