The 2022-2023 Olympic National Park’s Perspectives Winter Speaker Series was hosted by NOLS on Zoom and took place from November 8, 2022 to April 11, 2023.

Recordings from the events are available below.

Winter Perspectives Talks 2022-23


Photo by Sebastian Kennerknecht

Photo by Sebastian Kennerknecht

November 8, 2022
Olympic Cougar Project
Kim Sager-Fradkin, Wildlife Program Manager, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe

Kim Sager-Fradkin will discuss the Olympic Cougar Project, a collaboration of six Olympic Peninsula tribes and Panthera with the goal of understanding dispersal patterns of young cougars, cougar diets, cougar genetics, and habitat connectivity for all wildlife species on the Olympic Peninsula. She will discuss project objectives and preliminary results, and will share an array of enticing photos and videos to give the audience an insight into the lives of cougars on the Olympic Peninsula.

Rialto Beach

December 13, 2022
Geologic Mysteries of Rialto Beach
Kathy Goetz Troost, Ph.D., LG; University of Washington and Shannon & Wilson, Inc.

Kathy Troost will provide a snapshot of methods and findings from a UW-lead study at Rialto Beach. Rialto Beach is one of the most spectacular beaches within the Olympic National Park but it holds many secrets from a wild geologic past including glaciers, landslides, erosion, major wind storms, and earthquakes. Researchers have been trying to find all the puzzle pieces to unlock those secrets. In addition to the geologic history, it’s important to assess how climate change will impact the beach. The team is evaluating rates of erosion using trees, frequency and types of landslides, landslide triggers, and whether or not the land was uplifted during a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake.

January 17, 2023
Lake Ozette: An Ecological Update
Patrick Crain, Fisheries Biologist, Olympic National Park

Join Olympic National Park fisheries biologist, Patrick Crain, for a presentation about the health and status of the Lake Ozette freshwater ecosystem. Home to a unique population of Sockeye Salmon listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and the endemic Ozette Mud Minnow, the freshwater ecosystem of Lake Ozette is under threat. Invasive clams, degradation of shoreline habitat, and changes in predator behavior are among the impacts that are being evaluated. Also, Pat Crain will be sharing some actions that the park and volunteers are taking to mitigate these impacts and help the lake.

American Dipper

February 14, 2023
Salmon and the American Dipper
Christopher Tonra, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Avian Wildlife Ecology, The Ohio State University

Christopher Tonra will talk about the influence of salmon and the nutrients they provide on the life history of the American Dipper. His team studied dippers along four streams in areas with and without salmon to determine the impact salmon have on the survival, reproduction, body condition, and behavior of this charismatic species of western streams. In addition, the team explored the impacts that the removal of two dams on the Elwha River had on dippers by sampling birds before and after removal of the Elwha Dam. This work has shown how salmon can have enormous impacts on wildlife populations beyond the water.

plant diversity

March 14, 2023
Plant Diversity in Olympic National Park
Dr. Catharine Copass, Copass Consulting (formerly NPS North Coast and Cascades Network)

From coastal red alder bluffs to rocky dry alpine meadows, Olympic National Park hosts a stunning array of plant community diversity. Join ecologist Dr. Catharine Copass as she revisits her project to inventory, classify, and map the vegetation resources of the Park. The presentation will highlight results from the vegetation classification work, which described over 300 unique communities. Copass will introduce the Park’s newest vegetation map which combined the classification with state of the art mapping techniques to create a map at unprecedented resolution and accuracy. The presentation will explore the new map and provide new perspectives on familiar park landscapes.


April 11, 2023
Dealing with Asian Clams, a New Aquatic Invader on the Olympic Peninsula
David Cowles, Ph.D. in Aquatic and Population Biology, Professor of Biology, Walla Walla University

Though the Asian or Golden Clam, Corbicula fluminea, has long been an invasive species of concern in the United States, it has been virtually absent from Olympic Peninsula lakes and streams. However, in 2018 Corbicula was discovered in the Ozette River. It quickly spread down the river and into the lake. In cooperation with Olympic National Park, Professor David Cowles, Ph.D., and a team of students from Walla Walla University studied the spread of the clam in Lake Ozette and later in Lake Crescent. In this talk, Dr. Cowles will examine the state of the clam’s spread so far as well as discuss what effects it may have on our native species and what preventive measures may be helpful.

This series was sponsored by Olympic National Park, the Friends of Olympic National Park, and the North Olympic Library System.