The lonely flower

Your most interesting article about “The Orphan Flower” intrigued me. What a lovely and unique flower and leaf. Thank you for sharing its appearance with us.

I may say also, that having discovered Washington State Magazine in my today’s mail, I spent the entire afternoon enjoying each article. What an exciting place is Washington State University. Receiving this publication is always stimulating and certainly makes me proud of the work being done there. Please extend my congratulations to each one making this a better place in which to live.

Marley Austin Jesseph ’47
Bloomington, Indiana


School in the woods

I read with interest the article “A School in the Woods.” Congratulations to Debbi Brainerd for giving children another opportunity to experience nature in an interactive and non-fearful way.

Reading this brought back many memories of a camp still owned by Highline School District called Camp Waskowitz. It has been in existence as an environmental camp used by the district since 1947. Highline also allows other districts to partake. I was lucky enough to attend as a 6th-grade student, a high school counselor, and as a teacher in training. The few weeks I spent there are highlights of my early education.

I hope camps such as these continue to thrive, allowing children a place to learn about the amazing life and peace to be found in nature. Kudos to Highline School District and to Debbi Brainerd for creating and maintaining these “out-of-the-city” pockets of learning.

Susan Cary Paganelli’89
Colorado Springs, Colorado


Sense of place

I absolutely loved the “Sense of Place” theme for your Spring 2008 WSM. Each article resonated with me, especially the Makah discoveries on the Olympic Peninsula, but the essay by David Wang hit me between the eyes.

My husband and I spent five weeks in India (from the western state of Rajastham to the eastern state of Assam), plus a few days in Kathmandu, Nepal. We had a guide and a driver at our beck and call each day. After viewing ancient forts, ornate palaces, amazing monuments, many temples (active and inactive), stupas, etc., for days on end, my husband posed the question: What will we be leaving for visitors to our country to see in hundreds of years? It certainly gave me pause, but I finally came up with a hopeful answer: our wonderful natural resources. Thus the many articles about research in, conservation measures for, and exposure of the public to various habitats were heartwarming.

Buildings in our culture, per David Wang, are merely stage sets, but as we saw in India, e.g., “architecture always expresses in physical forms a culture’s deepest yearnings … transcendental values in physical forms.” Amen to that! Fortunately, “The Industrial Revolution replaced yearning for the transcendental with yearning for the natural.” We in the rural west certainly adhere to that premise and try to keep things much simpler, preserve our vast open spaces, and express our “culture’s deepest yearnings.”

Thank you for such provocative articles!

Sara L. (McConnell) Johnson ’65
Salmon, Idaho


I found two articles within your Spring issue to have an interesting intersection. The article discussing architecture in the age of the strip mall and also the IslandWood article are in essence both discussing one of our most pressing modern issues: the disconnection of society from beauty, mystery, and the natural environment. In our belief that big is always better, less is never more, we lead lives of consumption and acquisition that leave little time for reflection or a life focused on community experiences and preservation. It is encouraging that this conversation is taking a larger form within journals and, hopefully, our national collective conscious. Fortunately, this is a problem where each of us, just by how we live our daily lives, makes a substantial difference in the outcome!

Nancy Janzen ’89


Defending Buddleja

In Cherie Winner’s article, “Through the Garden Gate,” she includes a sarcastic “Rogues Gallery” of problem invasive plant species in the Northwest. There are good reasons why these plants should be avoided; however, her reasoning that butterfly bushes kill butterflies displays some fundamental ignorance about the life cycle of butterflies. Adult butterflies do not normally feed on the same plants as their larvae, as she implies. While there may be other good reasons for avoiding the plant (they can be prolific), they do provide a summer-long source of food for adult butterflies.

Mike MacDougall (father of two WSU gradsGo Cougs!)
Nine Mile Falls


As a lepidopterist, I’d like to spring to the defense of butterfly bush (Buddleja), listed in the “Rogues Gallery” at the end of the plant-invader article in the spring issue. It is true that this plant has become a serious invasive problem in some parts of the U.S. and Europe. However, its invasiveness is not universal; it can be grown in many areas without undue problems. But its benefit as a butterfly attracting and nourishing plant outweighs (in my opinion) the negative associations.

It is correct that no butterfly caterpillars are able to eat Buddleja leaves, but no butterfly species is so inept at finding their correct larval host plants that they cannot see beyond the nearest Buddleja! To the contrary, if you grow Buddleja, you will attract many butterfly species, and if you provide caterpillar hosts in the garden as well, you will soon have resident populations breeding and developing in your midst. Growing Buddleja is a sure way of attracting butterflies and is one of the most important features of a butterfly garden. Sure, there are many native plants that will also attract butterflies (e.g. native thistles, buckwheat, gerberas, yarrow, milkweed, Liatris, etc.), but none so powerful as Buddleja. Buddlejas are butterfly magnets par excellence! Concern over undue dispersal by Buddleja can be allayed by regular pruning of dead flower heads before the seeds fall out. This is in fact the best way to ensure continuous flowering (and butterfly-attracting) during the summer!

David G. James, Associate Professor

Cherie Winner responds:

Buddleja is a serious enough problem throughout Washington that the state government deems it a Class C noxious weed. It is especially troublesome on the west side, where it thrives along roadways and forms dense thickets in riparian zones along the Dungeness and Nisqually rivers, among others.

Ecologists have documented several ways in which butterfly bush harms native communities. It displaces plants that are the usual nectar sources for many butterflies; it displaces plants that the larvae of many butterfly species rely on for food; and by being super-attractive to butterflies, it deprives some native plants of their natural pollinators. As for deadheading as a control method, even the most well intentioned gardener will likely let a few flowerheads reach maturity–each one producing up to 40,000 seeds; and who will deadhead the thousands of butterfly bushes already at liberty?

Finally, gardeners have plenty of options besides Buddleja. Many other plants, both native and non-native, will attract butterflies and will not damage the world beyond the garden gates. As long as our desire to have particular plants in our yards outweighs our sense of responsibility about the threat those plants pose, we will continue to struggle against species that jump the fence. As ecologist Dick Mack says, “Everyone is in favor of curbing the entry and spread of these species UNTIL the list includes one of their favorites.”



When I graduated from WSU in 2004 with my degrees in Social Studies and History, I was completely unprepared for what the future would hold for me. After applying for over 30 positions in Washington, I finally got an email from Cape Flattery School District in Clallam Bay. I had never even heard of Clallam Bay, but I interviewed and ended up getting the position of Social Studies teacher for the entire school.

This is now my third year teaching, and the things I have seen would fill a book. This is an area of the world that few ever see and even fewer appreciate. It is a place of tremendous natural beauty, as well as tremendous poverty. Living in Washington my entire life, I had never seen the west end of the Olympic Peninsula. Without many comforts many see in a city, Clallam Bay and neighboring Neah Bay survive through the sheer willpower of the people who live here. As the logging industry has slowly vanished, so too has the local economy. Regardless of circumstance, I have a tremendous amount of pride teaching, coaching, and just being around the kids of our community, as well as the many who come from Neah Bay. These kids are tough, and I have no doubt that many of them will go on to be very successful in their lives.

As a beginning teacher, there was no way I could have possibly been prepared for how much my life would change as a result of my experience here. After coaching, advising, and doing everything else I could have possibly done for the kids here, I am finally realizing that although I am the teacher, I learn far more from the students than they have from me.

I really enjoyed your recent article about the Ozette dig. It was exciting to recognize so many names and faces from the communities I have come to know so well. Having hiked the beach and seen the same pictures that were featured in the article made it especially relevant to me. One of my greatest memories while teaching here was taking a group of fifth graders to the site and watching them play in the sand at the base of Cannonball Island. I remember digging shells out of the sand with two Makah girls who excitedly saved them for their Makah Days dresses. A tremendous feeling came over me as I realized that many of my student’s ancestors may have lived in the very spot we were visiting.

Although I have never gotten used to the rain, I have spent countless hours hiking, fishing, and enjoying everything this part of our state has to offer. I have spent a week on Tatoosh Island, been to countless basketball and football games, and visited the Makah Museum many times. In three short years I have gone from tourist to resident and can drive from Clallam Bay to Neah Bay and recognize almost every car and driver I pass.

I had no idea what the future would hold for me as I sat through lectures in my various history classes in Pullman. Learning about ancient cultures and forgotten places from all around the world fascinated me; I had no idea that one day I would end up having my life changed by such a place here in our own state.

Aaron Fischer ’04



We regret leaving a number of people out of our story on Ozette, due to the size of the story and limits to space. One of the largest omissions was Gerald (Jerry) H. Grosso ’54. Grosso was the project manager and conservator for the Ozette project, spending most of 1970–1982 either at Ozette or at the conservation lab in Neah Bay.

Before working with Richard Daugherty on the Marmes and Ozette excavations, Grosso was the Military and Science editor for the Bremerton Sun. He worked with contacts from that period to set up the helicopter transport system for objects from and supplies into the site.

In the photo below, Grosso is third from the left. His wife, Jan, is next to him in the striped shirt. Daughters Vykee, in front of Jan, Alicia, in front row holding puppy, and Andrea, head just showing to left of Alicia, spent much of their childhood at the site.

Grosso and familyGrosso and family