AP NEWS

Environmental lecture series set to begin

January 14, 2019

The upcoming 14th annual Friends of Skagit Beaches lecture series in Anacortes will offer opportunities to hear about some of the most talked-about topics in the region.

The four lectures will focus largely on marine species — forage fish, orca whales and mussels — before ending with a talk about mosses and mushrooms.

“I think it’s an exciting group of diverse conservation issues,” said Matt Kerschbaum, who helped organize the nonprofit’s lecture series for the seventh year. “Each one of these is a timely issue.”

The free lectures are held at 7 p.m. one Friday per month January through April at the Northwest Educational Services District 189 building at 1601 R Ave.

Kerschbaum said he expects the February lecture, where Orca Network President Howard Garrett will talk about the region’s endangered Southern Resident orca whales, will draw a crowd.

“The situation with the orcas is so dire that we thought people would want to hear about that,” he said.

It’s a topic that has been of interest for years, drawing 115 listeners to a lecture with Garrett in 2012 — the last year the lecture series was held at the Anacortes Public Library.

Kerschbaum said the series was moved to the Northwest Educational Services building in order to accommodate growing interest in environmental and conservation issues.

Interest has continued to grow, with an average of 135 in attendance at each of the 2018 lectures.

The first lecture of the year is set for Friday, with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Todd Sandell speaking about the region’s forage fish — an important fish linked with iconic species including Puget Sound chinook salmon and orcas.