Getting to know the shrub steppe world

May 1, 2012 by  

YAKIMA, Wash. — It’s been around for a dozen years now, this Saturday’s event being the 13th annual, so “Get Intimate with the Shrub Steppe” is no longer the fresh, new thing. But if you’ve never checked it out, hey, it’s new to you. And even if you have, hey, it’s still a cool way to spent a Saturday in May.

I’ve gone to this event — dubbed GISS for short by another acronym-loving group, KEEN (Kittitas Environmental Education Network, which sponsors the thing) — a couple of times over the years. The first time was to see what it was all about (and get a story out of it); the second time was to take the grandkids on an outing to something they’d really enjoy.  And they had a blast.

And, frankly, so did I.  It’s fun getting out and looking for snakes and lizards, or checking out frogs and pond life, or listening to somebody who’s really into birds talk about how the black one in that tree is different than, say, the black one in that other tree. It’s fun checking out beaver dams — without bothering the busy beavers, of course.

Frankly, it’s fun just getting outside, and it becomes a lot more fun when you can do it in the company people who know a lot more about the outdoors than you do. You might find out birds, or bugs, or frogs or even snakes are more interesting, and perhaps less scary or icky, than you thought they were.

For my money, the coolest stuff to check out is the array of field trips centered at the Umtanum recreation site, but there’s also field trips at Helen McCabe State Park farther up the canyon and even stuff slated for downtown Ellensburg. Check this out for a full schedule of what’s going on when and where.

Check it out.  And bring the kids.  (Or the grandkids.)  Even if you don’t love it, they will.

- Scott Sandsberry

Filed under Blogs, Out There, Outdoors

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