OHA presents: Those marvelous, myriad lichens with Jack Massie

Photo byJack Masie Letharia columbiana.
Photo byJack Masie
Letharia columbiana.

An indoor/outdoor opportunity in the Highland Wonders educational series

TONASKET – Lichens appear as an entire organism but are actually composed of two or more very different partners — they truly are peculiar, efficient, and wondrous. An indoor slideshow presentation on Friday, April 7 will be accompanied by hands-on specimens and lichen displays, and will be followed with a field trip on Saturday, May 6.


Photo byJack Massie Xanthoria elagans.
Photo byJack Massie
Xanthoria elagans.

Jack Massie, a seasonal botany/lichenology tech with the Cle Elum Ranger District, will discuss basic lichen definitions, and will present the process that a lichenologist would follow to discover, classify and identify lichen species. Many of the common and some of the more obscure lichens of Okanogan County will be covered. Ecology, specific lichen characteristics and unusual habits (and uses) will be discussed. Massie has worked for the Forest Service since 2005, starting in Tonasket. He has done plant surveys, lichen specimen collection, botany unit surveys, as well as wildlife-related work. Massie was a career high school life science and research inquiries teacher for 34 years, and is passionate about lichens.

Lichens are breathtakingly beautiful for their myriad colors and forms while being funky and unconventionally stylish in view of their genealogy. Each unique lichen has one (or two) unique fungi, but the same alga (or two) can be present in different lichens. Lichens live symbiotically and are considered compound organisms. They are the ultimate pioneer species… getting water from moisture around them; yet are foremost colonizers of barren landscapes. This bizarre world of lichens is surely mysterious—I will bring to light facts about these marvelous, misunderstood, resourceful, and useful organisms,” said Massie

April Event at a Glance:


Photo by Jack Massie Rhizoplaca chrysoleuca.
Photo by Jack Massie
Rhizoplaca chrysoleuca and others.

When: Friday, April 7th, at 6:30 pm. (Dinner benefiting the Community Cultural Center at 5:15 pm, followed by the presentation with tea, coffee and desserts.)

Cost: Presentation is free; dinner is $8 for CCC members and $9 for non-members; $5 for children 12 and under; desserts by donation (benefit for the CCC).

Where: Community Cultural Center (CCC) of Tonasket, 411 S Western Ave

Menu: Sloppy Joes with coleslaw (meat and vegetarian options available)

May Field Trip:

Due to the nature of the outdoor event, participation is limited, and priority registration will be offered for OHA members. A waiting list is being generated on a first-come, first-serve basis. To begin or renew OHA membership and be first in line to register for the summertime events, community members can visit www.okanoganhighlands.org/support, or contact OHA for more information. Event details will be provided to those who register for the field trip. To sign up for this event, email julie at okanoganhighlands dot org or call 509-476-2432.

These educational events are provided by OHA, and the indoor event is 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.

OHA recently released a music compilation album called Highland Voices, as a fundraiser for the organization. Community members can visit okanoganhighlands.org/music/highland-voices to learn more about the project, to see photos from the concert, and to purchase a digital download or CD. Buying this album is a great way to support the free Highland Wonders educational series.

More info about this and other upcoming educational events: www.okanoganhighlands.org/education/hw.

Questions? julie@okanoganhighlands.org or 509-476-2432

An indoor/outdoor opportunity in the Highland Wonders educational series

Photo byJack Massie Xanthoria elagans.