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BugGuide Gathering 2009 (Northwest by Starlight)

This year's gathering was on Jul 10-12 in Washington State. The site will be at the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest run by the University of Washington. We gathered on Friday afternoon at the center. Had dinner there. Stayed Friday and Saturday nights, and had our last meal together as lunch on Sunday.

I've created a new forum for folks to read about how things went at this year's gathering. You can find the stories and adventures that made up the 2009 BugGuide gathering here: 2009 BugGuide Gathering.


These aren't exact yet, but we're getting close - here are some pretty close figures per person that include meals, lodging, tax, etc. for the whole weekend: kids (2-10) $95; students (10 and over) $121; adults (shared dorm) $167; adults (private room) $195. (I just added in a $5 fudge factor for internet access and a shared classroom). Thanks to everyone who has already sent their deposits. I'll post a sign-up sheet online for reservations in the next few weeks. The sign-up sheet will include what age and which meals and what night or what meals (if you're not going to be there the whole weekend) and has to be filled out by Jun 15, so I can give them a final tally of how many people for which nights and which meals. :) (If you can't swing the deposit up front, please let me know you'd like to come anyway. I can front a few deposits from my end.) And if you'd like to join us for just one night or just one day, BY ALL MEANS, we'd love to have you, but do email me and let me know ASAP, so I can plan accordingly.

The site is about an hour or so south of the Seattle area airport (SeaTac). Mount Rainier is about an hour away. Mount St. Helens is about 2 hours away. The Tahoma and Snoqualmie National Forests are each less than half an hour away. According to the aerial view, the Nisqually and Little Mashel Rivers are about 1/4 to 1/2 mile walk away from the center. Please email Kevin Hall with questions or to reserve a spot.

Please feel free below to talk up and suggest ideas for activities, day trips, itineraries, etc.

I Just Want To Add One Comment......
Whhaaaaaaa....Iwannnagotoo! *sniffsniff* You guys have fun. I had a blast at my first BugGuide Gathering last year, in the Smokies. I learned so much, and really enjoyed all the Buggers that I met. I'm looking forward to photos from this event!

I'll miss you Audrey....and
my camera will miss your camera!

I'm thinking about maybe going within a couple years...
I just turned 18 this year, so as long as I can get off work next year and don't have any other obligations, I might go next year...

I looked up the zip code on It is supposed to be around 80 degrees both days and down to around 50 at night. You can see it here.

Thursday afternoon and Friday morning....
Has anyone visited the Juniper Ridge Trail #261 in the Gifford Pinchot Forest? I'm looking for a spot with junipers...there is a specific type of tree cricket that inhabits these.

Any other suggestions of a spot near the Pack Forest with plenty of junipers would be appreciated.

Nancy, have you asked
Nancy, have you asked Duane (the forester) at Pack Forest if there might be any Juniper trees in the Pack Forest site?

I'm also trying to convince him to make a map of some sort for us so we know which trails have which things...hard woods, younger trees, swamp, etc...

Actually, I'm waiting to hear from Duane this week
...hopefully before Thursday! I've requested a collecting permit and was referred to him. I'll mention my interest in junipers.

Ok, I've already heard from a couple folks that they'd like the option. I've sent an email to Terri at Pack Forest requesting she send me the info on how to get the permit, etc. I'll post more here after I hear back from her.

you should have a BugGuide meeting in Orlando one day
I wish you all would schedule a BugGuide meeting in the Orlando area, that would get more people from Orlando on BugGuide.

BugGuide mtg
I live in Desoto County. I'd love to attend a mini mtg in Orlando, or anywhere else in central FL.

careful, Bill
You might get what you wish for! :) Last year while the Tennessee gathering was happening, I made the comment that it would be neat to have one in the NorthWest next year...and look what happened. Who'da thunk it?

you could plan a mini gathering....
Just let people know where you'll be and invite them to join you.... doesn't have to be an overnighter.

Ok, we can also camp at the site. So, for those of you who couldn't come due to financial constraints, you can tent camp right on site with us. There is a $7/night per person use fee. If you wish to do this, please let me know as I need to keep track of numbers.

Also, if this means you'll be joining us for meals, I need to know that too. (Please be advised, the Univ. of Washington doesn't allow folks to bring their own meals to this site.) There are also student cabins available to students (high school or college) for $26 for the first night, $22 for the second night, but you'd be sharing those with others.

If any of the folks who'd already arranged rooms would like to downgrade to a tent, please let me know.


Meal prices for folks coming in for the day
Breakfast runs about $8.50, lunch $10.75, dinner $15. The prices are less expensive for students or kids. The meals include drinks, salads, side dishes, etc. From what the folks at the site have been telling me, no one's going to go hungry. :)

If you can't stay at the site with us, please feel free to come in and do some shooting with us during the day. If you can, I'd recommend joining for one or both dinners as I have a feeling that dinner and the meetings after are where we're going to have a lot of the fun with the whole group.

Itinerary and coming for just PART of the bash
Below is a preliminary itinerary. I've also had a bunch of folks that said they wish they could come for a day as they can't afford or make it for the entire weekend. I'm working on less expensive accommodations offsite (see other comment on this page somewhere) for staying overnight nearby.

As for coming for just one day to meet folks, have a few meals, and take some pics with everyone...PLEASE DO!! Do email me as I need to reserve meals from the kitchen, and I can let you know exactly what it would cost for whichever meals you might join us for. Technically there is a $7 day use fee for folks who aren't "paying customers" of the site, but if you join us for a meal or two, you're a paying customer in my book.

Friday afternoon - arrive, explore, go take pictures, dinner
Friday night - night lights & techniques talk, pictures, night pictures
Saturday morn - pictures, breakfast, habitat walks and/or pictures
Saturday afternoon - lunch, pictures, group pic, dinner
Saturday night - Favorites/Bug Quiz (with prizes), pictures, night pics
Sunday morn - pictures, breakfast, habitat walks and/or pictures
Sunday afternoon - lunch, pics and good-byes
Sunday late afternoon - day trip up to Paradise (Mt.Rainier) for alpine/subalpine meadows

Place for families to hit Saturday while all the bugnuts are snapping photos: Northwest Trek.

All of the above are subject to change

BugGuide Gathering 2009 on a budget
Oringinally I was going to try for a "camping thing", but then I realized that a lot of folks coming from far away would *not* be able to bring tents, sleeping bags, etc., so we looked for accomodations that would provide good photo ops AND provided a good place to stay (without equipment). However, this also makes things more expensive.

I've had at least three people tell me they'd love to come, but it's a little pricey for them. I *completely* understand!! So, here's where we develop some alternatives. Below are alternative places to stay. PLEASE still let me know if you're going to show up for taking photos at Pack Forest, for the mini-talks (after dinner both days), or for any of the meals. The meals do cost, but you could just come to a single dinner. But I do need to know how many people in advance.

Cougar Rock Campground in Mt. Rainier Nat. Park is one possibility. However, they do need reservations, and I suspect that Jul 10-12 is a busy weekend, so I wouldn't wait!

Roll call
Ok, so far attendees include:
John and Jane Balaban
Lynette Schimming (+hubby & 9 year old)
John Davis
Rick and Libby Avis
Nancy Collins
Joyce Gross
Kevin Hall (+possibly wife, 8 year old, 16 year old)
possibly Mike Boone (+wife, 2 year old, 6 year old)
possibly Karl Volkman
possibly Stephen Hart

Will update the list as time goes on.

updated roll call
Aurelian, Marias & wife
Avis, Rick & Libby
Balaban, John & Jane
Boone, Mike & wife (+2 y.o. & 6 y.o.)
Carey, Jo & Frank
Coin, Patrick (+9 y.o.)
Collins, Nancy
Davis, John
Gross, Joyce
Hall, Kevin (+8 y.o. & 16 y.o.)
Moorehead, Cheryl
Schimming, Lynette & husband (+9 y.o.)

We're up to over 2 dozen folks, and it looks like quite a few people pupae this time around!!

Possibles (for part days): Stephen Hart, Karl Volkman, Peter Clausen, Gary Griswold, OTHER FOLKS?? :)

Yes -
Although I have another thing scheduled for that exact weekend, oddly - I'm in. I just.. I'm not sure about transportation, because originally I figured we'd go a little more Peninsula-esque, but it works for me. :)

Im still in
Sorry for the late confirmation, Im still in for the weekend

Count me in
I'll sign up for a spot. I haven't been real active lately, but I would really like to meet some of you guys!

I'm happy to see some kids on the list
We didn't have any in Tennessee. It'll be fun seeing kids who enjoy looking for bugs. Besides, it's a lot easier for me to act like a kid myself in the company of 'other' kids :D

Coming for just one night
I hope people also realize that they don't have to do the whole weekend. If some folks would prefer coming in for just one night, or just spending one day bugging with everyone, that would be fine. Please let me know, so I can include you in the plans.

I suspect with some of the folks that we have mothing, it would be a really good idea to do at least one night if you can, but we'll be happy to include any and all in any part of the weekend people would enjoy.

Time to sign up, folks!! :)
I went out to Pack Forest on Thursday and checked out the facilities. Very good setup there. The only problem I foresee is *too many* places to go bugging and picture taking. (Pond, hardwoods, fir forest, two rivers, bog, etc.) There were already a lot of bugs around on a cool day in April. I think in July, we won't have *any* problems. Maybe little groups will head to the types of habitats they like or folks will just spend 3-4 hours at each type of habitat??

Anyway, I need for folks to email me (you can click on the link to my name in the comment above) and tell me if they're coming, and I need to start getting deposits from folks. To the three folks who've already sent me deposits, THANKS!!

private vs public rooms
There are approximately 8 private rooms available, 4 of which have now been reserved. The public rooms (dorms/cabins) sleep up to 4 each, but the folks at the site said we'd probably be able to sleep those at two per room. So, even the public ones won't be eight or ten folks per dorm. Either way, send your deposits and state your preferences. First come, first served.

rooms filling up
We have 6 of the 8 private rooms filled, and 2 cabins with beds each for two families already filled. Lots of space still left in the dorms and cabins, plus 2 private rooms still left.

transportation to/from airport
For folks traveling in from afar, if you'd like transportation to/from SeaTac airport and the site, please let me know...we should definitely be able to help folks out without them having to rent a car if they'd like.

Tiger Beetle
Not too far away, maybe as an independent side trip after the meeting, is the Columbia River Tiger Beetle.

side trips
It seems like there is only some time Fri afternoon, Sat all day, and then Sun morning (& maybe after lunch as people leave), especially for all the folks coming quite a ways, maybe Thurs before the get together or Monday after, there's the Columbia River, the Hoh rainforest, Mount St. Helens, Seattle itself, etc. Feel free to suggest pre- and post- get together side trips.

NW Trek
Daytrips to NW Trek would be easily doable as well. It's within about a 15 minute drive from Pack Forest Field Station.

Mt. Rainier
I sent a message to folks who've already reserved rooms, but wanted to put this out for general consumption as well:

I'm planning on taking a group up to Paradise (SW side of Mt. Rainier) either Sunday afternoon or Monday if there's demand for it. The alpine/subalpine wildflowers up there peak at the end of July, but there should be some decent blooms already happening that second week that we're gathering...

Speak up if there's any interest in a subalpine meadow type daytrip.

I just downloaded the Pack Forest map...

It looks GREAT ! Includes wetlands and a 'peak' trail.

habitats and variety of critters
I was concerned about this, especially as some folks mentioned there aren't a lot of hardwoods on the west side of the Cascades, so I wrote to the folks at the station there. They refered me to the appropriate person (who I just heard from), and it looks pretty good. Here's his reply to me:

You'll find a number of different habitat types within walking distance of the conference center including mature Douglas-fir stands, young plantations, stands of mixed hardwoods (alder, maple, cottonwood and oregon ash), mixed conifer (Douglas-fir, cedar, hemlock, grand fir) grassy fields, ponds and wetlands. You can
also access the Nisqually and Mashel Rivers via one of the forest roads.

In all you should be able to find a whole range of different habitat types here.

Duane Emmons
Forest Manager
University of Washington
Center For Sustainable Forestry At Pack Forest

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