Connie Mehmel examines whitebark pine trees in the Sawtooths. Image from Seattle Times video

Connie Mehmel looks for bark beetles in whitebark pine trees in the Sawtooths. Photo by Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times

Connie Mehmel, a Forest Health Specialist for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, will discuss whitebark pine and its role as an indicator of climate change and forest health on Sunday (Aug. 25) at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center.

Mehmel, a former Methow Valley resident, is the Interpretive Center’s featured speaker in its monthly “Last Sunday” lecture series.  She will focus on the whitebark pine, a high altitude pine species, and its role as an indicator of climate change and forest health.

Mehmel’s interest in whitebark pine goes back to the days when she was a silviculturist on the Methow Valley Ranger District, where she was stationed from 1987 to 1999.

She has surveyed whitebark pine survival, health and reproduction in many parts of the Cascades, and has worked with research entomologists testing anti-aggregation pheromones to prevent bark beetle attacks. The Pasayten Wilderness is her favorite place to wander.

The lecture is free and will be held at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center on the TwispWorks campus from 5-7 pm. For more information, call 997-4904.