Backyard Science & Discovery Workbook: Pacific Northwest
It’s finally here! My book is published, printed, and ready for purchase!

Over the past year, I have spent a lot of time writing, editing, and designing a workbook for kids about Pacific Northwest nature! It’s full of fun activities, quizzes, guides, and hands-on science projects designed to get kids outdoors, making hypotheses, and observing the world around them like a scientist. It’s around 145 pages and has hundreds of my original, full color photos, maps, and drawings!

Learn more about my book on the Support Me page or buy your own copy here or on Amazon here!

Fall colors along the Clark Fork River

Missoula, MT
October 23, 2014
Robert Niese

I’m off for while to take my Comprehensive Exams for my Ph.D. Wish me luck! If you don’t hear from me by October, I probably failed and became a hermit. 

Now, get outside and enjoy your the fall!

In honor of National Dog Day, get outside and explore with your canine friends!

Hub Lake Trail, Lolo National Forest, St. Regis, MT
August 16, 2015
Robert Niese

We recently adopted Zorro form RezQ Dogs and the Montana Companion Animal Network. Like all puppies, he loves getting outdoors and exploring all the sights and smells of our PNW forests. The gorgeous old growth cedar forests and spruce stands of the Hub Lake region are an especially unique trip for us, since most of the Missoula and Bitterroot Valley are drier, Ponderosa Pinelands. I highly recommend it to any of my followers from the eastern PNW!

Mothlighting for National Moth Week with the Missoula Butterfly House

Clinton, MT
July 25, 2015
Robert Niese

July is a glorious time here in Montana. Not only do the insects come out in massive numbers, but it’s also the best time for fishing, star-gazing, botanizing, and huckleberry hunting. Next time you’re in Montana for July, be sure to drop me a line! I’d love to show off all the awesome Nature this region has to offer!

Eleodes “Desert Stink Beetle” Tenebrionidae

Palouse Falls State Park, WA
June 8, 2015
Robert Niese

Stink beetles are very common throughout the sagebrush deserts of eastern Washington. The Tenebrionid family’s taxonomy is extremely complex and often requires an examination of female genitalia to identify an organism with any further specificity, but most of the large black species fall into this supergenus. This beetle is posed and ready to release nasty-smelling chemicals in response to my terrifying camera lens. 

Asarum caudatum “Wild Ginger” Aristolochiaceae

Weir Hot Springs, Clearwater National Forest, ID
June 8, 2015
Robert Niese

The leaves of Asarum caudatum (a PNW endemic) smell like ginger when you rub them, but apparently contain carcinogens and may or may not be good in your tea. Their flowers grow on the ground beneath the leaves and are pollinated by beetles, flies, and even rodents. Pollinated flowers produce seeds with a fatty elaiosomes that are collected by ants and subsequently planted in the colony.