People in Nature: Interactions on Mt Adams in a Warming Earth

A Virtual Seminar in the early 2021.

The Friends of Mt Adams originally planned to present this in-person community seminar to coincide with Earth Day last April 2020.  But the best laid plans of mice and meeting planners can go astray in the time of COVID19!  The seminar was postponed with hopes of convening it this coming spring.  At this point, it seems unlikely that the pandemic will slow down fast enough to allow a large community gathering.  Therefore we organizing a Virtual Seminar to be presented in late winter or early spring 2021.  We are still working out the details, but the plan is to have an online meeting in which people can interact with the speakers. The presentations will subsequently be available on the FOMA website.  All of the original participants (see below) have agreed to the change in format and we have solicited professional help to make the virtual experience memorable.  Please stay tuned for the specific details!


During climate change, what will happen to Mt Adams and those who depend on the mountain for their well-being, livelihood and lives?  As the air continues to warm, by at least 2o C (3.6o F) this century, it is predicted that the amount of precipitation will increase or at least stay the same in the Pacific Northwest. On Mt. Adams and other Cascade peaks, however, the precipitation will increasing fall as rain, not snow.  These changes in climate will result in many changes on Mt Adams including a significantly reduced snowpack below—and a much earlier snow melt above—the 5,000 foot elevation. As a result, the snow will be gone earlier in the year leaving less snow-melt water to sustain the plants and animals downhill and downstream.  The Friends of Mt Adams Virtual Seminar will explore the impacts of these environmental changes on the biological communities that depend upon the mountain.


Dr. Robert Michael Pyle will be our keynote speaker. For 35 years, Dr. Pyle has been a full-time writer, biologist, teacher, and speaker. He has published hundreds of articles, essays, peer-reviewed papers, stories, and poems. His twenty-two books include Where Bigfoot Walks, which was recently made into a movie: “The Dark Divide” (   A life-long lepidopterist, Dr. Pyle is co-coordinator of the Northwest Butterfly Survey. For his work on behalf of butterfly studies and conservation, he received the John Adams Comstock Award from the Lepidopterists’ Society and a Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of both the University of Washington and Yale University forestry schools, a Senior Fellow of the Spring Creek Project at Oregon State University, and one of seventeen Honorary Fellows of the Royal Entomological Society. Dr. Pyle will be introduced by Darryl Lloyd co-founder of Friends of Mt Adams, photographer and author of “Ever Wild” (

Oriana Chegwidden, Ph.D. uses computer models to extract meaningful stories about climate change and water.  Dr. Chegwidden will show graphics depicting how snowpack will change in the future, creeping up the slopes of our mountains. She will explain how changing snowpack will impact the streamflow in rivers draining the Cascades.

Jocelyn Akins, Ph.D. leads the Cascades Carnivore Project that conducts research and monitoring of rare montane and forest carnivores. Climate change is, or is predicted to, affect the habits of these montane species in myriad ways: low snow packs, increased rain in the mountains during winter, and the loss of subalpine parklands due to disease outbreaks in mature conifers and the ascension of timberline. Dr. Adkins will discuss these interactions and the research currently being conducted to understand the role of climate in carnivore conservation.

Pat Connolly, Ph.D. has worked in the fisheries field in the Pacific Northwest for over 35 years.  Dr. Connolly will take a bird’s eye and a fish eye view of Mt. Adams to understand the dynamics and ecological functions of the drainage network that contribute to four major tributary watersheds of the Columbia River: the Klickitat, White Salmon, Lewis, and Cowlitz rivers.  Each of these rivers provides unique opportunities for a diverse array of fish species.

Elaine Harvey is a PhD. Student at the University of Idaho, a fish biologist for the Yakama Nation Fisheries and is a member of the Rock Creek “Kah-miltpa Band” of the Yakama Nation.  Mrs. Harvey states: “I am concerned for the fish, deer, roots, berries and other medicinal plants that we utilize not only in the Rock Creek subbasin but all the usual and accustomed gathering places we travel to for subsistence. With climate change already in our midst there is a grave concern for the Yakama First Foods which is a vital part of Yakama culture and way of life.”

Eric M. White, Ph.D. is a Research Social Scientist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the USDA Forest Service. Dr. White will consider how climate change can alter recreation behavior and review projections of future recreation in the Northwest and across the U.S. in a climate-changed environment. Beyond climate conditions, wildfire and other natural disturbances can change how and where people recreate.

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