Moonlit owl watch in Moscow

From Staff Reports

Books, nature, hiking and owls create a mystifying and entertaining combination in The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute’s Seasonal Wandering Family Series: Owl Moon.

The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI) offers a series of outdoor events called the Seasonal Wandering Series. These family-friendly events are sponsored by businesses in the community and allows PCEI to offer them for free, said Cait McHugh, the Education Manager of PCEI.

“(One goal of PCEI is) to inform and educate the public on issues of importance to the sustainable future of the Palouse-Clearwater region thus promoting a well-informed, active and concerned citizenry,” according to PCEI’s website.

PCEI spends most of its educational efforts in classrooms in the Palouse-Clearwater region to provide free water conservation in Idaho, McHugh said. Education and experiencing the outdoors is important to PCEI. That in part impacted the many events that come together to form the Seasonal Wandering Series.

“The purpose of the Seasonal Wandering Series is to connect families to each other and to the outdoors by providing a venue to get together,” said McHugh.

The PCEI Nature Center is “kinda like a big park,” Office Manager Sandra Kelly said. The Center is open to the public, is a great event center and it holds educational events for all ages. The next event is called Owl Moon, based on a book of the same name by Jane Yolen.

The night will begin with a reading of Yolen’s book “Owl Moon,” McHugh said. Armed with flashlights and dressed warmly, the participants will look for the Great Horned Owls mentioned in the book, according to the PCEI website.

“This gentle tone poem (is) about a father taking his daughter (yes–it’s a girl!) out owling one cold wintry night,” according to Yolen’s website.

Since it is the mating season for the Great Horned Owls, it is the perfect time to listen for them. Owls are more vocal during mating season, which increases the group’s chances of hearing one, McHugh said. Even if the owls are shy, the night will end with an owl presentation by WSU’s own Raptor Club, ensuring that you will experience owls in some form.

“Owl Moon is an educational, nighttime family favorite where we will listen specifically for Great Horned Owls (on the PCEI grounds),” Kelly said.

The Season Wanderings Family Series: Owl Moon will be from 6:30 – 8 p.m. tomorrow at PCEI Nature Center in Moscow. The event is free, but you must register beforehand. Check out the owl series on PCEI’s website for more information and upcoming events.

Reporting by Madison Jackson