All about birds: La Conner Birding Showcase, a gathering of birding experts, organizations and artists, is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 27 and 28, Maple Hall, 104 Douglas St. Keynote speaker is photographer Paul Bannick at 3 p.m. Jan. 27 with video, sound and images from his latest book about owls. Other programs include: Birding Q&A with Bob Hamblin at noon Saturday and talk by Martha Jordan with the Northwest Swan Conservation Association at 1 p.m. Jan. 28. More at www.lovelaconner.com/la-conner-birding-showcase-birds-winter.
Winter snaps: Group trips for photography enthusiasts from expert to novice to shoot winter-inspired photos at Snoqualmie Pass. Commonwealth Creek offers many unique shots: ice falls, cool vapors and the swirling dark waters of mid-winter. Participants should bring a well-stocked backpack with their own film or digital cameras and a lunch. This trip usually lasts four to five hours. Scheduled outings are 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 28; Feb. 3, 11, 17 and 25; March 3, 4, 17 and 18. Suggested donation of $25. Call 425-434-6111.
Kids in the snow: A 90-minute outing that jump-starts participants on their way to earn a Junior Snow Ranger badge at Snoqualmie Pass. Identify tracks, learn about exploring nature in winter, and climb into an igloo (snowpack permitting). Discover which animals live nearby that turn white in winter, sleep the winter away, burrow and live entirely under the snow and those that can freeze themselves nearly solid right through until the spring melt. Kid-sized snowshoes are available. Through March 24, outings are 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturdays. Suggested donation of $15 for adults and $10 for youth 16 and under. Call 425-434-6111.
Lake Stevens Rowing Club: Junior/youth season is Feb. 7 through May 28. All skill levels, ages 12 to 18. Practice is 2:45 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with both competitive team and home crew programs available. Regattas include local and regional races as well as dual meets. Free two-week experience crew session available. Float test required. Masters “Learn to Row” classes for adults of all ages and skill levels. Sessions are 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday/Sunday Feb. 3- 25 or March 3-25. Float test required. More at lakestevensrowing.org.
Free park-ing: Free days this year are March 19, State Parks’ 105th birthday; April 14, Spring day; April 22, Earth Day; June 2, National Trails Day; June 9, National Get Outdoors Day; June 10, Fishing Day; Aug. 25, the National Park Service’s 102nd birthday; Sept. 29, National Public Lands Day; Nov. 11, Veterans Day; and Nov. 23, Autumn day. More at www.discoverpass.wa.gov.
Adventure series: On the fourth Tuesday, hear an outdoor adventure speaker from 6 to 8 p.m. Marysville Opera House, 1225 Third St., Marysville. Local authors, outdoor enthusiasts and naturalists share their adventures and expertise on topics including hiking, kayaking, nature photography, boating and more. Each presentation will finish up with a Q&A session and/or book signing and sales. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $5. Call 360-363-8400 or visit marysvillewa.gov.
SNOWSHOE WITH A RANGER
Snoqualmie Pass, short hike: A 1-mile loop that winds through old-growth forest. See normally hidden lichens, fungus, winter birds and mammals. Discover what critters made those mysterious tracks and what exactly all those tiny black insects flipping around on the snow are. Hikes are 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 25. Suggested donation of $15 for adults, $10 for youth 16 and under for short hike. Call 425-434-6111.
Snoqualmie Pass, extended hike: About 5 miles. Trek into the heart of Commonwealth Basin, a landscape rich with snowshoe routes and interesting winter life. Marten, ground squirrel, bobcat and wolverine all travel through the area, sometimes leaving evidence on the fresh snow. Hikes are 9 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March 25. Suggested donation of $25 per person for the half-day hikes. Call 425-434-6111.
Stevens Pass Mountain Resort: Learn about the winter environment, plants, wildlife, local history and snow safety on this 90-120 minute guided nature discovery tour along the Pacific Crest Trail. Meet at the Forest Service Guard Station by Parking Lot A. An optional Stevens Pass history presentation will be given at 10:30 a.m. Sessions are 11 a.m. Saturdays through March 24, and 11 a.m. Sunday through March 25. Suggested donation is $15 for adults and $10 for youth 16 and under. Call 360-677-2414.
Darrington Ranger District: A hike for those who have never used snowshoes before or anyone interested in learning about the ecology and history of this low-elevation winter wonderland. It follows the route of the former Everett and Monte Cristo railway as it winds its way up the South Fork Stillaguamish River. Stops along the way for discussions on who and what lives in the valley during the winter and how they manage to do it. The turnaround point is the site of the former Big 4 Inn. Have lunch at the picnic shelter and possibly get a glimpse of the 4,000-foot vertical face of Big Four Mountain. Hikes start at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 27, Jan. 28 and Feb. 3. Call 360-436-1155.
Mt. Baker Ranger District: Snowshoe near the Hannegan Pass Road, Heather Meadows or other location depending on snow levels and weather. The interpretive snowshoe walks last two to three hours. Reservations are required and snowshoes are provided. A $15 donation is suggested. Snowshoe and winter safety basics while gaining knowledge about winter ecology, recreation opportunities and the cultural history of the North Fork Nooksack drainage. Hikes are at 10 a.m. Jan. 28, Feb. 4, Feb. 11 and March 4. A $15 donation is suggested. Call 360-599-9572.