Staying connected to our community and to nature is important, which is why the Preservation Trust staff created a video series called “Just a Minute from the Islands” in 2020. These videos highlight aspects of nature including local plants, birds, reptiles, marine life, and more.

In the fall of 2020, we started a second season of short videos, which we’ve named “Just a Moment from the Islands.” In this season we are featuring various islanders with expertise in natural history. We remained committed to preserving the quick and to-the-point character of these videos, while making allowances to extend beyond one minute. We hope you agree that every moment counts in these naturalists’ narratives from the San Juan Islands.

A special thanks to Michael Noonan, our volunteer videographer and filmmaker, and to our knowledgeable supporters who were excited to share their knowledge of these islands with you.

Season Two

Autumn Equinox – Spring Equinox

Jenny De Groot checks flow of Cascade Creek for Salmon

Jenny De Groot, a fisheries biologist and consultant for the San Juan County Land Bank, collects stream-flow measurements in Cascade Creek—the only stream in the San Juan Islands where a run of wild Coho Salmon takes place.

Frances Robertson on the “Steller” Stars of Whale Rocks

Dr. Frances Robertson, Coordinator of the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), takes a boat trip to the swift currents near the mouth of Cattle Pass, where she finds a large group of Steller sea lions hauled out on Whale Rocks. Donated to the Preservation Trust in 1992, Whale Rocks form part of a unique collection of rocky islets near the southwest end of Lopez Island.

Thor Hanson hunts for Gall Wasps

Thor Hanson, beloved author and biologist, discovers galls and relates the remarkable natural history of gall wasp. Find out how galls are formed and what happens inside their walls.

Greg Hertel points out Moraines

Glaciers moved over this region carving out the Salish Sea, creating the San Juan Islands, and leaving other geological features on the landscape. Greg Hertel, a retired geology teacher, explains how the stair-stepped terraces at Mount Finlayson got to be this way…

Paul Walsh introduces Orion the Hunter

Amateur astronomer Paul Walsh introduces the Orion constellation and other stellar activity happening in this active patch of sky. In North America, only about 20 percent of the human population lives in areas where the Milky Way is visible. Dark night skies survive in the San Juan Islands, where we can observe and admire our home galaxy with or without a telescope.

Sara Hiebert Burch admires Anna’s Hummingbirds

Sara Hiebert Burch is an animal physiologist who admires a year-round resident population of hummingbirds in the San Juan Islands. “It’s remarkable,” she says, “because being warm and small in a cold environment is hard.”

Phil Green records Red Crossbills

Red Crossbills are a fortunate find in the San Juan Islands, but this year, birders have been observing them more frequently. Why? Because it’s an “irruption year.” Find out more from Phil Green, a well-known contributor to eBird, about what an irruption is and how you can help keep track of this species through citizen science!

Michelle Savoie explains Marbled Murrelet ecology

Michelle worked for the US Forest Service Marbled Murrelet At-Sea population survey team and currently works as a Protected Species Observer, monitoring Marbled Murrelets—a seabird that shows the ecological connection between land and sea.

Carson Sprenger finds Velvet Top Fungus

Found in coniferous forests, Velvet Top Fungus (Phaeolus schweinitzii) is a decay fungus that plays an important role in forest ecology. Carson Sprenger, a forester and restoration ecologist, describes how this inconspicuous fungus enhances biodiversity and drives forest succession.

Cyndi Brast examines a Deer Ked

Black-tail deer are native to the San Juan Islands, and did you know that a small fly with a mammal-life lifecycle (often mistaken for a tick) lives on these animals? Cyndi Brast, an entomologist, shows us a deer ked and explains their unique life history.