2012 News and Events

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two harbor porpoises

Harbor Porpoise Workshop - Leading scientists and wildlife managers met in Anacortes, Washington on February 7 to identify critical research and conservation issues related to the harbor porpoise. PBI proposed this workshop because we are keen to see all of the scientists in the region collaborating. Aileen Jeffries, research scientist with PBI noted, “The health of our harbor porpoise population can tell us a great deal about the health of the Salish Sea. New methods of monitoring this species must begin to play a larger role.” Read press release here



Aileen Jeffries
Western Gray Squirrel on hair sampling tubes

Boost Your Western Gray Squirrel Knowledge in Twisp PBI researcher George Wooten will talk about the natural history and ecology of the western gray squirrel and shares highlights from PBI's work to define the range of this endangered species in one of its three remaining habitats in Washington.

"Tracking Western Gray Squirrels in the Methow Valley"
Methow Valley Interpretive Center in Twisp, Washington Sunday, February 24, 2013 | 5 pm - 7 pm


George Wooten setting a western gray squirrel hair sampling tube

Kirsten on Expedition

Join us on a South American Biodiversity Expedition into the big wild of Argentina. We have four expeditions to some of the most amazing wildlands left on the planet. You will have a peak experience and can help gather valuable information about globally important wildlands that are each over several million acres in size. You do not have to be an extreme athlete to participate. Find out more and sign up soon. To register, contact bigwild@pacificbio.org.


If you are an extreme athlete/adventurer, please contact us too. You can join our growing cadre of independent explorers who are trekking, biking, kayaking, rafting, climbing and hiking throughout South America while they collect data on the nature of wildlands and their biodiversity.

flamingo flowers in Yungas foresgt




Anne Casperson - PBI harbor porpoise volunteer

Harbor Porpoise Project makes the front page of the Guemes Tides.

PBI's citizen science project was featured in Guemes Tides bi-monthly publication. Our volunteers, Anne Casperson and Phyliss Bravinder, shared their experience collecting data for PBI's Harbor Porpoise Project with the "Guemes Tides." Reporter Holiday Matchett gives a great overview of this research project.



harbor porpoise mom and calf





Expeditions in South America


Argentina's Big Wild
You are invited to a series of talks about biodiversity in Argentina's immense wildlands, complete with videos and photos that showcase the beautiful variety of life that these areas contain. When you see the many types of cacti, the flamingos, and the vicuña, you might just be inspired to help PBI explore these magnificent wildlands!

Choose the date and place that works best for you:

  • Twisp River Pub - Nov 29, 7 pm
  • Ballard Public Library - Dec 5, 6:30 pm
  • Anacortes Public Library - Dec 8, 4 pm

All of these events are free and open to the public.



red magic cactus vicunas
Fall 2012 newletter


Biodiversity: FALL 2012
Check out PBI’s newsletter, Biodiversity. In this issue, you will meet Kirsten Harma, the adventurous young biologist who explored and documented wildlands in northern Argentina with PBI’s executive director Peter Morrison and others on two of our South America Wildlands and Biodiversity Expeditions. You will also get an update on PBI’s harbor porpoise research project. Where do the harbor porpoises spend their summers? We’re aiming to find out.

To subscribe to PBI's quarterly newsletter, Biodiversity, please send an email with your name and mailing address to lace at pacificbio.org.


Kirsten in Argentina




harbor porpoise observers

Harbor Porpoise Volunteers Invited to Appreciation Party

PBI’s annual Harbor Porpoise Observer Appreciation Celebration will be held on Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 3:30 pm to 6 pm at the Cabana in Skyline Marina in Anacortes, Washington. PBI’s citizen scientists have worked hard and documented so much information harbor porpoises this year. They certainly deserve recognition and a celebration! Lead researcher Aileen Jeffries will provide an update on the porpoises project and a peek at some of the new technical equipment we will have an opportunity to try out in spring 2013. To RSVP for this event, email Sue Ehler, setehler (at) msn.com.  










Grindellia blooming in October at Burrows Pass

Pacific Biodiversity Institute Welcomes New Board Members

Three new members joined the Pacific Biodiversity Board at the October 2012 board retreat. Freelance writer Jan Hersey of Anacortes, Washington became involved with PBI as a harbor porpoise observer and will be closely involved in new outreach efforts. Investment banker Trinity Ludwig was the mastermind behind the “Tres Chicas,” the three adventurers who collected data for PBI while hiking the length of South America. From her home base in Boulder, Colorado, she’ll continue to be heavily involved in PBI’s South America Wildlands and Biodiversity Project. Habitat biologist Hans Smith joins the PBI board after previously serving as an intern and a staff scientist. Smith’s background will be put to work informing our conservation initiatives in the Pacific Northwest and he’ll help shape and manage PBI’s intern program. PBI is thrilled to welcome this suite of talented people with their unique skill sets and interests to our board. Read our board member bios.  

Jan HerseyTrinity

Hans Smith






Lace with apples

Thornberg Joins PBI as Outreach and Development Director

In late September 2012, Lace Thornberg joined the staff at PBI. A recent alumni of the U.S. Fulbright program, Thornberg has just returned from a nine-month stay in the Philippines where her research centered on the role of community-based museums in sustainable tourism development. Thornberg has previously served as the editor of Washington Trails and as development director for Washington Trails Association, bringing nine years of non-profit experience in communications and development to this role. She is enthusiastic about PBI’s plans to reach more concerned citizens, not only with the results of our research, but also with opportunities to participate in the research process as citizen scientists.  Read our staff bios.





Lace Thornberg






Fidalgo Bay Day

Visit the Pacific Biodiversity Institute booth at the Fidalgo Bay Day event in Anacortes this weekend.

Fidalgo Bay Day is a free event with lots of exciting ways for people of all ages to learn about the wonders of our local sea life. If anyone can go, it will be a lot of fun – especially for children. And you can visit with our volunteer coordinator, Sue Ehler, and perhaps help her with the booth.

Fish biologist Dan Penttila will show off the fish of the bay with a beach seine. Shannon Point Marine Center will exhibit sea creatures. There will be a traditional Samish barbecue and plenty of samples of local seafood from local restaurants.

Date: Saturday, September 15, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Where: Seafarers Memorial Park and the ESD building in Anacortes, WA








volunteers placing squirrel sampling tubes

Western Gray Squirrel Workshop and Field Trip

On Saturday afternoon 1-5 PM, July 14, we begin the 2012 field season for citizen science research on western gray squirrels and the ponderosa pine forests of the Methow Valley.  We invite you to attend a short workshop that will teach you about the natural history of the western gray squirrel and the ecology of ponderosa pine forests - their preferred habitat in the North Cascades. For more info read our Squirrel News.

western gray squirrel


Harbor Porpoise Volunteers


The Harbor Porpoise Project hits the front page!

Read the May 30 edition of the Anacortes American

and learn about the volunteers that are observing porpoises, our Anacortes staff and PBI's research scientist, Aileen Jeffries. The porpoises are the main subject of this very interesting article. Here is a link to the on-line short version of the article... Or read the full article as a PDF: Front page and continuation of article on page 6.




Harbor Porpoises

Peter Morrison

PBI in the News: The Methow Grist Interview

Read about mapping nature and the interview with PBI's executive director, Peter Morrison in the Methow Grist, an on-line community journal for the Methow Valley. Learn about some of our history and why we are working on projects in South America. Read the article...

example of biota maxima



Opportunity to Learn: Natural History of the Harbor Porpoise - an event in Anacortes, June 1

Learn more about the porpoise’s natural history The harbor porpoise is a full-time resident of Washington Inland Waters and appears to have a significant presence around Fidalgo Island. The presentation will be Friday, June 1, 7p.m. at the Anacortes Library. It is free and open to the public.

Aileen Jeffries



spring flowers at Burrows Pass, Puget Sound

Celebrate International Biological Diversity Day!

May 22 is International Biological Diversity Day. The United Nations proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Marine Biodiversity is the theme for this year's International Day for Biological Diversity. Help Pacific Biodiversity Institute celebrate this special day by learning more about our marine biodiversity initiatives and sharing your appreciation of biodiversity with your friends and decision-makers at local, national and international levels. Read more about the International Biological Diversity Day here...




Porpoise mom and calf

Pro Yungas staff

ProYungas and The Yungas Forest
We are working with an exemplary conservation organization in Tucuman Province, Argentina, that is working to protect the subtropical forests of the Yungas and other high biodiversity parts of Northern Argentina. To the left are some of the GIS staff at ProYungas. To the right, some of the flowers blooming in the subtropical forest.

Visit the ProYungas web site - and
Track us on our Facebook Page

Flowers in Tucuman Province
Nick and the Andes crest

Pacific Biodiversity Institute Highlights
View highlights of our 2011 programs!

This update will give you a quick picture of what PBI has been up to over the last year. Everything from fun citizen science activities with porpoises and squirrels to volunteers exploring the vast wildlands of South America - and more.

Emily in the Andes of Argentina
Porpoises Swimming

Harbor Porpoise Videos

You can now view some videos of porpoises swimming through Burrows Pass near Anacortes, WA.

Mom and calf

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