Evolution 2009

The Inland Northwest

Gold-level sponsors

Field trips

Vines at the Walla Walla Wine Incubator Facility.
Photo from the Washington State Conservation Commission.

Walla Walla wine country

The Walla Walla Valley appellation of east-central Washington hosts some 90 wineries that deliver exquisite wines. During this daytrip, we'll plan to visit three clusters of wineries. The first stop will be to venerable stalwarts L'Ecole No. 41 and Woodward Canyon. These are adjacent properties, and, since they are reasonably large producers, their wines are available nationally. Next, we'll backtrack to the Walla Walla Airport, where there are 20 or so tasting rooms within an easy walk. There are large-scale producers here (e.g., Dunham Cellars) and small artisan-style producers (e.g., Buty). After this, we'll head downtown, where there will, again, be numerous options within easy walking distance (e.g., Waterbrooke, Cayuse, Forgeron, Seven Hills, and more.). You can check out the options at Wines Northwest.

Wednesday, June 17
Depart Moscow 9:30, return 6 pm
Cost (tentative) : $50 + dinner (Please note that this is an increase over the originally posted rate.)
Attendance limited - first come, first served.

A specimen from the Clarkia beds.
Photo courtesy William Rember.

Clarkia Miocene fossil dig

As of 9 April, this trip is completely full, and cannot accept new registrants.

Remember the controversy about DNA from Miocene magnolias in 1990 (Nature 344: 656)? That's our backyard. Located an hour east of Moscow, the extensive 14.5-19MY old lake deposits provided cold, anoxic conditions that have preserved plant and animal remains deposited on the lake floor in subfossil condition. As you pry apart the deposits, occasional specimens will display chlorophyll greens that quickly vanish on exposure to the air, and beetle elytra may iridesce briefly before fading. Join us on a visit to dig your own fossils with geologist and paleobotanist William Rember and plant molecular systematist David Tank. Expect unlimited plant fossils, occasional insect fragments, and a fish if you're very lucky. We will visit the original site, and then turn to a rich buried site nearby that will be exposed for your digging adventure. We'll provide needed tools; bring sturdy footwear and expect to get your pants a bit dirty if it's wet. Dig sites are great for kids, too.

More information about the deposits.

Wednesday, June 17
Depart Moscow 9:00, return c. 6 pm
Cost (tentative) : $50
Maximum attendance: 24 All spaces now taken.

Botanical bonus: Hobo Cedar Grove

A few miles from Clarkia, a large stand of ~ 500-yr old western red cedar designated a national natural landmark offers the experience of the past appearance of the Northern Rockies as a whole. An extensive trail system takes you through woods that have the sense of a natural cathedral.

Access to this high-elevation site depends on the winter snowpack; if this is a snowy winter it will not be accessible until later in the season. If we judge it possible, we can append this trip to the Clarkia fossil trip.

The Hobo Cedar Grove.
Photo courtesy Charles Pezeshki.