Cedar River Watershed newsletter, Issue 19
Discover Learn Connect
Connecting people to the source of Seattle's drinking water, inspiring confidence, stewardship and sustainability.
Questions? Comments? Contact Cedar River Watershed Education Center
or (206) 733-9421

What do Belly Buttons, Sunbursts, and Lipstick have in Common?

Katherine Glew, instructor of Lichens: Mysterious Fungi of the Forest

Katherine Glew, instructor of Lichens: Mysterious Fungi of the Forest, June 14, 2015.

These are the curious and intriguing names of just three of the 25,000 different species of Pacific Northwest lichens. Come find out more about these fascinating organisms at Lichens: Mysterious Fungi of the Forest on June 14th. Katherine Glew, PhD, who has been studying and teaching about lichens for over 40 years, will reveal this mysterious world to you. Here is what Katherine has to say about the significance of lichens, considered one of the oldest organisms on earth.

What are lichens and why are they important to us?

Lichens result from a symbiotic relationship between two to three organisms, usually a fungus and a green algae. They can recycle nutrients for plants and are also great indicators of clean air, since they are very sensitive to air pollution.

Do any animals rely on lichens?

Some birds, such as hummingbirds, use lichens for nest-building, and a few animals can actually eat and digest them. Deer eat them. Flying squirrels make nests with lichens and eat them in the winter, when other food sources are scarce. Some insects and mites rely on lichens for places to live and camouflage.

What are some features that visitors can expect to see on the field program?

Colors are one of the first things people notice about lichens. They come in an assortment of greens, some with red tips, yellow, and orange. There are also three forms of lichens: leafy, shrubby/hairy, and crusty.

What is your connection to the Watershed?

I collected and identified lichens for the Cedar River Watershed in 2006-07. I also brought teachers on watershed tours to experience the forests and lichens within the Cedar River Municipal Watershed.

Where is your favorite place to find lichens?

Anywhere in the alpine areas of the world. The lichens are so easy to see, and they can represent more than 50 percent of the vegetation.

Do you have a favorite kind of lichen?

I enjoy working on the crustose species. They are harder to identify and require microscopic work. I also like the Umbilicaria ‘Belly-button’ lichens.

Join us June 14th to develop a likin' for the lichens at the Cedar River Watershed!

Did You Know?

A 100-year old Douglas Fir

100-year old Douglas Fir forest in the lower Cedar River Watershed.

Over a 100-year span from 1889 to 1989, 85% of the oldest and most accessible forests in the Cedar River Municipal Watershed (CRMW) were logged. Logging transformed the old growth forest into open ground and later it grew into a young forest. Today the CRMW is 15% old growth forest. The young forest continues to grow and develop, creating richer habitat every year.

Breaking News

Upcoming Programs

  • Lichens: Mysterious Fungi of the Forest, June 14
  • Northwest Timber Community Songs & Stories, June 21 FREE!
  • Railroad History Treasure Tour, June 27
  • Junior Naturalists, June 13

Browse & register for programs >

School Lottery Open

Seattle Public Utilities offers free field trips for 4th and 5th grades to visit the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. Due to the high demand, a lottery is held to fill the limited available slots. Teachers can register online for the 2015-2016 school year lottery between May 1 and August 1 of 2015.

Learn more about school field trips >


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Visit Us

Education Center

19901 Cedar Falls Rd SE
North Bend, WA 98045

April thru October
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

November thru March
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area

19901 Cedar Falls Rd SE
North Bend, WA 98045
All Year
6:00 a.m. – Dusk

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Cedar River Watershed  email   |  (206) 733-9421  |  (425) 831-6780