How to Find Tardigrades

They have become infamous as some of the toughest organisms on earth. They can survive the vacuum of space, they withstand doses of radiation that would kill humans, they can dry out or be frozen and survive for years in that state. They are tardigrades and they live on your roof, on your driveway and in your lawn.

I’ve been asked many times how I find tardigrades so here are directions to find your own.

Tardigrade with eggs


MICROSCOPE: The first think you’ll need is a microscope. Tardigrades are tiny, but you can see them fairly well with a basic dissecting microscope. I don’t have anything fancy, just a simple scope with a top and bottom light. The bottom light is helpful because tardigrades are transparent and…

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365 Nature – Day 19

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.

Nearly a month into 365 Nature and I hadn’t done a sketch in my nature journal yet. Today I decided to remedy that by sketching a Great Blue Heron I saw from Day 16 at Magnuson Park and documenting what else I saw that trip. I also got around to adding watercolor to a sketch I had done back in November of a…

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Nature Highlights of 2015

Looking back over my photos from 2015 I realized what a nature filled year it was for me. Sometimes when I get lost in the daily routine and only manage a short time outside I forget how much I’ve seen over the year. Looking at my photos is a great reminder of how many places I visited and how many things I saw. Here are some of the highlights of 2015, with links to photo albums.

Olympic Peninsula


In January we made an overnight trip to the Olympic Peninsula where we drove along Hood Canal to Port Townsend. We also visited Port Angeles, Dungeness and Marrowstone Island. It was beautiful in the winter with perfectly photogenic fog over the harbors and in the forests.

 View photos of the Olympic Peninsula


Glacier National Park


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Learning to Watercolor

I have long wanted to keep a nature journal. Despite spending nearly six years with a drawing pen in my hand at school – with the exception of one class – I never had any proper art instruction. In my landscape design and landscape architecture schools, art was a crash course, something I had to do to communicate design, but not something we had any sort of training in. I was never happy with my skills as an artist and that prevented me from picking up a book and pen and jumping into keeping a nature journal.

When my daughter started preschool I had the opportunity to take a watercolor sketching class once a week for a month. Although it was aimed at botanical sketching, I knew I could carry what I learned to sketching the nature I encountered. Something about the class really clicked for me and I’ve felt a steady improvement in my artwork ever since…

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Get Thee a Hand Lens!

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

As a naturalist there are certain pieces of equipment which are necessary; a pair of binoculars, a couple of fields guides, a notebook for example. However, how many of you would have listed a hand lens as one of those necessities? I never even thought of it until I read Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness and the author talked about always carrying a hand lens as part of her daily repertoire, because it allowed her to examine things that may otherwise be overlooked. A few months ago I got a hand lens and it can’t be overstated how much it’s changed the way I view the natural world.

What is a hand lens? The short answer is that it’s basically a fancy magnifying glass. Also called a loupe, they come…

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