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avalanche lilies


Conservation in a Changing Climate

PBI staff and board members are compelled to increase our outreach and advocacy on climate change, along with our research on the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on specific species and ecosystems that are adversely affected. We developed an action plan addressing the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on biodiversity. You can read the full plan here, as well as a letter from PBI's board president describing our motivation. If you think this effort is as important as we do, please, support our work today!

argentine desert


Rosario Head
PBI is expanding work in the Salish Sea!

In addition to our ongoing study of harbor porpoise, via underwater acoustic monitors and land-based observations, PBI will strive to reduce the negative repercussions of climate change in the Salish Sea ecosystem. We will work in collaborative partnerships to identify and reduce the stressors that threaten individual species and the entire ecosystem, so that species are better able to withstand the increasing stress of climate change and ocean acidification. We will be expanding our project focus to include other marine mammals, sea and shore birds (birder alert!), and will be raising the public's awareness of forage fish. We will also expand our observation network to include new sites and partners.
And you can help!






Lucila Castro and Gerardo Ceballos at Mammology Conference


Lucila Castro, PBI's Argentine conservation biologist, recently participated in a wildlife biology conference attended by some of the world's pre-eminent mammalogists. She is pictured here with Dr. Gerardo Ceballos, one of the world’s leading conservation biologists. Lucila presented a paper on the wildlife research PBI has conducted in partnership with the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Here is a link to her presentation.

Connections Lucila made at this conference have resulted in much interest in PBI's work, and she is developing new partnerships to help protect the amazing biodiversity of the Sierra de Famatina region of Argentina. Lucila recently met with local activists who are defending the Famatina from international mining companies. We are working with local people on an alternative that would protect this area of global significance as a national or provincial park.




Lucila Castro Presents Poster at Conference


Anna Hallinstad


Anna Hallingstad presents to Skagit Watershed Masters

On Wednesday, October 28, Anna gave a presentation titled "The Changing Ecosystem of the Salish Sea," to the Skagit Conservation District's Watershed Masters volunteers. Anna is PBI's Harbor Porpoise Project citizen science coordinator. Watershed Masters receive 40 hours of free training on topics related to the ecology of local waterways, and in turn commit to volunteer 40 hours with local projects pertaining to water quality or public education. We are grateful to Watershed Masters volunteers who are helping with the Harbor Porpoise Project! If you live in the Anacortes area and are interested in volunteering, contact anna@pacificbio.org.


salish sea bluff




Bird Conservation and Birding Hotspots in South America

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 7:00pm at the Twisp River Pub, learn about bird conservation and birding hotspots in South America – the “Bird Continent.” Join Lucila Castro, an Argentine conservation biologist and bird expert, and Peter Morrison, from Pacific Biodiversity Institute (PBI), for an exciting talk about the most important bird conservation opportunities in the world and a tour of some amazing birding hotspots. We are thrilled to have Lucila here in the Methow to be part of the presentation!

Lucila Castro and Peter Morrison



harbor porpoise

Harbor Porpoise Bluff Days

Are your lazy summer days starting to feel, well . . . "porpoiseless?" Join Pacific Biodiversity Institute naturalists for a “Bluff Day.” Watch and learn about the elusive harbor porpoise! Drop by a porpoise observation lookout (see map), pick up tips from our expert porpoise-spotters, and discover why these petite marine mammals are important indicators of the health of local waters. If you have a pair of favorite binoculars, bring them along, or use ours. Porpoises are invited, too!


September Bluff Days: Sat., Sept. 12, 9 am – 3 pm , Rosario Head, Deception Pass State Park (Discover Pass or $10 day parking fee required)

Sat., Sept. 19, 12–3 pm, Washington Park

Sat., Sept. 26, 12–3 pm, Rosario Head, Deception Pass State Park (State Parks Free Day!)

Bluff days are FREE!

Questions? Please contact Anna Hallingstad at anna@pacificbio.org.


Bluff Day Visitors Bluff Day visitors


balsamroot post-fire

Ponderosa Pine, Fire Ecology and Western Gray Squirrel Project

This summer, visiting scientist Sara Emerson and conservation science intern Kristina Bartowitz are working closely with PBI staff investigating the impact of recent wildfires on wildlife and ecosystem health. They are also assisting Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and PBI with a state-wide assessment of the population status of the threatened western gray squirrel.

Volunteers are needed to help place squirrel study tubes and do vegetation surveys. Volunteers can also assist with bird point-count surveys and identification of native plants. To participate, call 509-996-2490 or email volunteer@pacificbio.org.

Read more about this opportunity here.


swallow on burned tree


Methow Valley News


Wildfire reality in our region: ‘The future is here now’

PBI executive director, Peter Morrison, contributed to a recent Methow Valley News article on the topic of climate change and wildfire, focused on eastern Washington State. As the article notes, "Hundreds of thousands of acres have burned, and are still burning, in Okanogan County this summer. Last year’s 269,000-acre Carlton Complex Fire, the largest fire in state history up to that point, has been eclipsed in size by fires in the central and northeast parts of the county." The article discusses the impacts of these fires on wildlife, including critical habitat for the threatened western gray squirrel.

Carlton Complex Wildfire 2014


Aileen Jeffries


Aileen Jeffries presents at Saturna Island SEATALKS

Aileen Jeffries, Senior Research Scientist with PBI, will give a presentation about her study of the movement and distribution of harbor porpoise in the Salish Sea, on Saturday, September 12, 7:00 pm at the Saturna Community Hall, Saturna Island, BC. She has installed a high-frequency hydrophone in Saturna Island's Narvaez Bay, a suspected porpoise nursery, and will share findings from this location and around the Salish Sea. For futher details about the event, hosted by the Saturna Island Marine Research & Education Society (SIMRES), click here, and to learn more about Pacific Biodiversity Institute's harbor porpoise research, click here.

SIMRES poster
Fidalgo Bay Day Poster


Fidalgo Bay Day and National Estuaries Day

Saturday, August 29, from 11am - 3pm, join PBI's Harbor Porpoise Project, a variety of other conservation groups, and the Samish Indian Nation for a free, fun and educational experience for the whole family! Activities include beach seining, an aquarium touch tank, canoe rides, kid-friendly crafts and an array of discovery stations and educational displays. Make sure to come hungry and join the Samish no-host salmon barbecue, and try complimentary seafood samples! The event will be held at the Fidalgo Bay Resort, 4701 Fidalgo Bay Road, Anacortes.



harbor porpoise


Kristina Bartowitz



Kristina Bartowitz joins PBI as a conservation science intern

Kristina recently finished her M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied effects of invasive plants on small mammals. She now joins PBI for several months as an intern helping with the Ponderosa Pine, Fire Ecology and Western Gray Squirrel Project. She has worked with a variety of different organisms and ecosystems including prairies, orchids, birds, small mammals, and amphibians in Wisconsin, Costa Rica, and Panama.



western gray squirrel


volunteers doing bird count survey


PBI featured in Methow Valley News coverage of Carlton Complex wildfire recovery

To mark the one-year anniversary of the devastating Carlton Complex wildfire, the largest in Washington State history, the Methow Valley News has released a special edition with coverage of the Valley's recovery in the year since the fire. PBI contributed insight and photos to an article discussing the landscape and wildlife recovery, which you can read here. Both photos featured here show burned area early this spring.


wildflowers after fire
Sara Emerson


Sara Emerson, PhD, joins PBI as Visiting Scientist

Sara is a 2010 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a BS and PhD in ecology and evolution. She joins PBI for a five month period, working on the Ponderosa Pine Forest, Fire Ecology, and Western Gray Squirrel Project. Sara has studied plant-animal interactions with fox squirrels and eastern gray squirrels in Illinois, eastern cottontails in Wisconsin, samango monkeys in the Soutpansberg mountains of South Africa, and Allenby’s gerbils, greater Egyptian gerbils, Merriams’ kangaroo rats and desert pocket mice in the Negev Desert, Israel.

squirrel fieldwork
Amy Fitkin


Ponderosa Pine, Fire Ecology and Western Gray Squirrel Project

Amy Fitkin joined PBI for a short-term summer internship, helping with the Ponderosa Pine, Fire Ecology and Western Gray Squirrel Project. Amy is a 2015 graduate of the University of San Diego, with a Bachelor’s degree in biology. She grew up in the Methow Valley, and has experience volunteering for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on various projects such as the wolverine study, water fowl surveys and deer surveys. She plans to conduct further wildlife research and obtain her teaching credential, with the goal of eventually teaching high school biology.



western gray squirrel



Lucila Castro on TV


Lucila Castro featured on Argentinian TV program

PBI’s Argentina representative, conservation biologist Lucila Castro, was interviewed earlier this year on a popular TV program, DModa TV (Canal C), based in Córdoba, Argentina. Click here to see the interview (in Spanish) where she talks about her work for PBI, her studies of flamingos, and the need for greater respect for the natural world. She was also interviewed for another program where she talked about deforestation and flooding, and has plans for future appearances to discuss other environmental topics.


Lucila Castro on TV
Anna Hallinstad


PBI Naturalists lend support to Harbor Porpoise Project

Anna Hallingstad (pictured at left) and Jenna Harlacher (right) have stepped up to contribute to the Harbor Porpoise Project in a variety of ways, including recently representing PBI at the Anacortes Waterfront Festival. Later this summer, they - along with PBI board members Jan Hersey and Aileen Jeffries - will help educate the public about harbor porpoise in the Salish Sea, in a series of "Bluff Days" at Washington Park near Anacortes, and the Rosario bluffs. Stay tuned for further details! You can read more about their backgrounds and qualifications on our Staff page.



Jenna Harlacher




western gray squirrel


Invest in our work on May 5th, or any time!

We’re excited to report on updates and new momentum to our work with wildlife in eastern Washington’s ponderosa pine ecosystem, and research on harbor porpoise in the Salish Sea. We are sharing updates on our local projects here in Washington in anticipation of a locally-focused event, Give Local America, that provides you the opportunity to contribute to this important work as part of a crowdfunding event on May 5th‬. After May 5th, you can support our work any time via our website, or by sending a check to PO Box 298, Winthrop, WA, 98862.


give local america participant logo


signing partnership agreement


PBI signs new partnership agreement in Argentina

While in Argentina in March, PBI's executive director, Peter Morrison, signed a new partnership agreement with Fundación ProYungas (Yerba Buena-Tucumán), a local conservation organization that he has worked closely with for several years. The agreement outlines a course of action to protect wilderness areas of high conservation value. In addition to strategic conservation support, PBI will provide GIS training and work with ProYungas on collaborative publication efforts. Read more about this on the ProYungas website, in Spanish.


ProYungas logo






As we celebrate the first week of spring, we want to share with you the values that drive our work. We hope that you’ll reflect on what these values mean to you, and consider making a donation to support our work!

  • Importance of biological diversity as the cornerstone of life on Earth.
  • Responsibility to future generations.
  • Adapting to a rapidly changing world.
  • Value of science in conserving biodiversity.
  • Passion for finding innovative solutions.
  • Compassion for people.
  • Work through collaboration.

Read about PBI's values and mission in more detail in our Strategic Plan.



harbor porpoise




bucks fighting



Wildlife survival after wildfire

PBI biologist Kim Romain-Bondi and botanist George Wooten contributed insight to a recent Wenatchee World article focused on wildlife survival following the Carlton Complex wildfires of 2014. You can read the article here.




Flamingo Census


PBI joins Flamingo Census in the High Andes

Click here to read about PBI’s participation in the 6th international flamingo census in early February. PBI supported the effort by sending our Argentinian staff biologist, Lucila Castro, who has been working with flamingos since 2010 as part of the High Andes Flamingo Conservation Group (GCFA –Grupo de Conservacion de Flamencos Altoandinos). The other PBI representative was a volunteer from the United States, D. Eric Harlow, who participated in one of PBI's expeditions in 2013 and returned to Argentina to help PBI and to document the census. You can view his fantastic photographs here, and in the sidebars.



James Flamingo



marine mammals


Marine Mammals and Ecosystem Change

Join us on Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 7:00 pm at the Anacortes Public Library. Pacific Biodiversity Institute research scientist Aileen Jeffries will discuss the changing ecosystem of the Salish Sea and describe how these changes have affected marine mammals. She will also highlight the research being conducted, including the acoustic and land-based research she is undertaking on harbor porpoises.


In November, 2014, Aileen gave a presentation at the University of British Columbia's 22nd Annual B.C. Marine Mammal Symposium. You can read more about the university's Marine Mammal Research Unit and the cross-border consortium of researchers here.




BC marine mammal symposium



Awesome New Wildlife Camera Footage!

We are thrilled to share several short, exciting videos of wildlife in the area burned by the Carlton Complex wildfire in Washington State, as well as footage from South America taken with PBI wildlife cameras during our expeditions, or in partnership with ProYungas or the National University of Cordoba. Click here for South American footage, and here for the Washington videos.

gray wolf

Links to Archived News Stories

image 2014 Archived News
image 2013 Archived News
image 2012 Archived News
image 2011 Archived News
image Fall, 2010 Archived News
image Spring, 2010 Archived News

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PO Box 298, 517 Lufkin Lane
Winthrop, WA 98862 509-996-2490