Wes Wehr and the Okanogan Highlands a Highlands Wonders event with Jack Nisbet

Submitted photo A winged seed of unknown affiliation discovered at the Stonerose Interpretive Center. Scientists have named it Pteronepelys wehrii, which translates as "the winged stranger."
Submitted photo
A winged seed of unknown affiliation discovered at the Stonerose Interpretive Center. Scientists have named it Pteronepelys wehrii, which translates as “the winged stranger.”

TONASKET – After his 2013 presentation on David Douglas, Jack Nisbet returns to the Highland Wonders series to share of an unusual character who shaped both our understanding and our experience of geology in the Okanogan Highlands.

The Okanogan Highlands Alliance, Humanities Washington and the North Central Regional Library in partnership will present “A Deeper Vision: Wehr and the Okanogan Highlands,” a Highlands Wonders Event at the Community Cultural Center (CCC) of Tonasket on Friday, March 1, starting at 6:30 p.m..

Wesley Wehr was a child of Western Washington who from an early age showed talent in music, visual arts, and the ability to connect with a wide variety of people. He also developed a real passion for fossils and gemstones, often traveling to Eastern Washington to seek out new treasures.

“In the desert at night,” Wehr later wrote, “looking at the basalt cliffs and the full moon above them, I began to visualize what the landscape had once been.”

Wehr combined his artistic feel for geologic time with knowledge of living and fossil plants to become one of the premier amateur paleobotanists in the world. Beginning in the late 1970s, he turned his attention to the Okanogan Highlands, digging extensively around Republic and across the border near Princeton, BC. He was instrumental in assembling the combination of scientific and local educational facilities at the current Stonerose Interpretive Center and visualized the formations between the Cascades and the Rocky Mountains as fertile ground for long-term, sustainable study.

Nisbet is the author of several books that explore the human and natural history of the Intermountain West, including Purple Flat Top, Singing Grass Burning Sage, and Visible Bones. His work on Northwest fur agent and geographer David Thompson resulted in Sources of the River and The Mapmaker’s Eye. Some of Nisbet’s more recent projects have focused on Scottish naturalist David Douglas. The Collector follows his adventurous life, while A Naturalist at Work aims to connect Douglas’s observations to the present and future Northwest. The Wes Weir presentation is based on Nisbet’s newest book of lively essays, “Ancient Places: People and Landscape in the Emerging Northwest.” Books will be available for sale during the intermission and after the presentation.

The presentation is free, but a dinner of beef Stroganoff over rice, green beans, salad, and garlic bread benefiting the CCC is available starting at 5:15 p.m. for $9. During the presentation tea, coffee and desserts are also available by donation. The CCC is located at 411 S. Western Ave.

To support OHA’s work, such as these free programs, community members can purchase Highland Voices, an album of original local music at okanoganhighlands.org/music/highland-voices or on CD baby, iTunes, or Amazon. The album features the music of Laura Love, Dana Lyons, Stephen “Sundog” Lanigan, Ken Bevis, Harvey Swanson, Lonnie Good, Tyler Graves, Digital Deb, Julie Du Bois, Sandy Vaughn, Reed Engel, Steve Kinzie, Hippies on Vacation, Cheatgrass (the Hydes), and more! It is also available at the Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op.

This educational event is provided by OHA, and hosted at the CCC. OHA is a non-profit organization that works to educate the public on watershed issues. The Highland Wonders educational series features the natural history of the Okanogan Highlands and surrounding areas. OHA’s Education Program is designed to build the community’s capacity for environmental stewardship by increasing understanding of local natural history through a variety of free public learning opportunities.

For more info about this and other free upcoming educational events, visit www.okanoganhighlands.org/education/hw, or contact julie@okanoganhighlands.org / 509-476-2432. Past event videos are available on YouTube on the channel, “OHA’s Highland Wonders,” and on OHA’s website.