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Elwha River, WA
Summer 2006


Mike with salmon

Michael with a coho salmon caught
at the mouth of the Columbia River,
Aug. 2007

The Pacific Northwest is a wonderful place to live and to explore (but don't tell too many people). It's varied landscape and natural beauty are astounding. The physical features are as varied as the geologic forces that shaped the area. Within the state of Washington, alone, the scenery ranges from glaciated mountain peaks of the North Cascades to the mighty Columbia River, from the arid shrub-steppe regions of central Washington to the rugged rain-drenched Pacific coast, from the inland marine waters of Puget Sound to the formidable heights of Mt. Rainier. Add to these features the distinctions of Oregon, Idaho, and even lower British Columbia, and you'll see that the Pacific Northwest is a region of variety and contrast. It is also a place of change. Whether these changes come from human activity (development, agriculture, pollution, invasive species, damming of rivers,...) or natural events (earthquakes, tsunamis, succession ...), the region is in a state of constant transformation -- sometimes slow and incremental (erosion, glaciers, ...) and sometimes sudden and dramatic (floods, fires, eruptions, ...).

This website is dedicated to the natural beauty, biologic diversity, and geological discoveries of the region. As a science teacher, I find myself yearning to learn more about the environment and the organisms that share this space. Frequently, I have opportunities to learn new things about the PNW -- shown things I hadn't noticed, told things I hadn't before heard, or revealed things I didn't know existed. Whenever I am able, I try to photgraph these events. And, when possible, I try to share these discoveries. In the sharing, I think I disclose a bit about myself and how I see the world. At times I am awed. At times I am amused. And, at times (I must admit) I am distressed over the circumstances and direction of change.

I hope that those who view these pages gain something -- knowledge, insight, awareness, appreciation, inspiration, or a desire to simply step outdoors and experience the natural side of the PNW (or some other place) for themselves.

Michael R. Clapp

Who knows whether there is life on any other planet anywhere else in the universe, but there is life on this planet. And what is life like? Think of not knowing what life is and then finding out: ... a rock jutting out into the sea suddenly knowing the thump and spatter of the waves, the taste of salt. You are alive. It needn't have been so. It wasn't so once, and it will not be so forever. But it is so now. And what is it like: to be alive in this maybe one place of all places anywhere where life is? Live a day of it and see. Take any day and be alive in it. Nobody claims that it will be entirely painless, but no matter. It is your birthday, and there are many presents to open. The world is to open.

Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

In addition to this website, I have developed more material for the 7th & 8th grade science classes I teach at a school in Battle Ground, WA, called CAM Academy. Through my instruction there, I am striving to share and involve students in learning about the environment. The future, after all, is theirs!


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modified: June 2013