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Field Notes: a Northwest nature blog

One of the reasons many of us live in the Pacific Northwest is the natural wonders that amaze us all. On this blog Seattle Times writers and photographers will share their explorations of the natural world from snowcaps to whitecaps. Write us at with your own sightings, questions and wonders to share.

May 31, 2011 at 10:00 PM

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Welcome to Field Notes: A Seattle Times Nature Blog

Posted by Lynda Mapes

Locally owned, uniquely Northwest. That's one of our mottos here at The Seattle Times. Another is: News You Can't Get Anywhere Else. A big part of that is sense of place: a resonance for what makes reading the Seattle Times an experience that includes textures, sights, images and stories you wouldn't find in say, the Bergen (New Jersey) County Record.

We choose to live and work here, as do many of our readers, in part because of that second pay check: the mountains as close as Issaquah; the saltwater of Puget Sound, with beaches you can even catch a bus to; old growth forest even in some city parks; and the wild Olympics, beckoning in clear view right from downtown.

We write stories about nature and the environment in the newspaper all the time, but some of us yearned for a more spontaneous and personal communication, and a shared conversation with readers. So we've launched this blog. It's meant to be a place for a more informal and immediate exchange, those 911 nature moments and explorations that can't wait to be shared.

We'll report on what's out to see and enjoy now in nature, explain some of what we see and how it works. The blog, too, is a place to tell you about the story behind the stories you'll see in the newspaper.

We'll share recommendations for good reads, too, both new and classic, that we've found enrich our experience in the field.

And we'll offer tips on observing and photographing nature we found help make our own experiences more rewarding and fruitful. The bloopers, the great moments and finds, the techniques we are still learning, too -- we'll post often as we journey about in the field and we hope you'll write back.

Who is we? That's Craig Welch, Seattle Times environmental reporter, Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times science writer, and myself, Lynda Mapes, a longtime observer of nature, but no expert. Just appreciative, like you, and curious to know how what I see around me in nature works. I guess I never grew out of that tell me why stage of every kid -- and I don't want to.

Seattle Times photographers will contribute photos from their favorite moments in the great outdoors. Seattle Times artists will post too, and so will others around the Seattle Times newsroom with experiences to share, from wild food foraging, to star gazing. It's all good.

So please join us in the exploration, and the conversation. Got an idea, a siting, a question, a suggestion, a report from your bit of nature in the great Northwest? Please send it along, to

We look forward to hearing from you, and exploring together this place we feel so lucky to call home.

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