Nature Notes

Of alps and owls



WHAT: “Nature of Writing” with Johanna Garton
WHEN: 5pm Sat., Oct. 17
WHERE: Via Village Books’ Crowdcast Channel
COST: Suggested donation is $3
INFO: http://www.ncascades.org/nature-of-writing-joanna-garton or https://www.villagebooks.com/event/litlive-johanna-garton-101720

WHAT: Great Gray Owl with Paul Bannick
WHEN: 5pm Wed., Oct. 21
WHERE: Via Zoom
COST: Free; registration required
INFO: http://www.eventbrite.com

Monday, October 12, 2020

Christine Boskoff was a verified badass. In between her first major summit in the Bolivian Andes to her final one on China’s remote Mount Genyen, the legendary mountaineer became the only American woman to summit six of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks. She sought adventure, and she found it.

When Boskoff and her climbing partner, Charlie Fowler, disappeared while on an expedition in the Sichuan Province in the fall of 2006, Boskoff was at the top of her game. At 39 years old, she was a trailblazing, record-breaking alpinist who’d overcome numerous challenges to make a name for herself. But what drove her up, up and away?

Author Johanna Garton attempts to answer this question in her book Edge of the Map: The Mountain Life of Christine Boskoff. And at a virtual “Nature of Writing” speaker series event hosted by the North Cascades Institute and Village Books at 5pm on Sat., Oct. 17, she’ll share details about Boskoff’s life and the legacies she left behind—from the leadership of Seattle-based travel company Mountain Madness to her meteoric rise as she made news alongside other notable alpinists and Sherpas.

Garton—who’s from the same Midwestern town as Boskoff, and even attended the same high school—interviewed more than 75 friends, family members and fellow climbers to get a clearer picture of an elite athlete who was known for more than her ascents. Garton speaks Mandarin, and was also able to conduct interviews near the site where Boskoff’s and Fowler’s bodies were eventually found.

Not long after her illuminating presentation, nature will again take center stage when Conservation Northwest welcomes award-winning author and photographer Paul Bannick for a Wed., Oct. 21 virtual event focusing on his new book, Great Gray Owl: A Visual Natural History. Published by Mountaineers Books, the eye-catching book (see a photo sample on this week’s cover) was two decades in the making.

Like Garton, Bannick sought to uncover little-known facts focusing on his subject matter. While exploring the owl’s physical features, preferred habitat, breeding cycle and hunting strategies—not to mention focusing on prey and conservation issues through dozens of never-before-published images highlighting behaviors that have rarely been recorded by humans—he also discusses the ecological importance of a a bird whose habitat overlaps with Conservation Northwest’s program work in Northwest Washington.

“Many of these photos feature behaviors that have rarely, if ever, been captured by cameras, having mostly only been depicted elsewhere by hand-drawn illustrations and complex descriptions,” a recent press release noted. “Paul intentionally sought to capture these photos when no photographic images were available. They complement firsthand accounts from his nearly 20 years of field observation and the latest science.”

In addition to being a worthy way to spend a Wednesday afternoon, the program combining images, science, firsthand accounts, video and sound is also designed to inspire conservation and education, so tune in and prepare to take some notes on nature.

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