Nature’s wonders close to home | Hansville Happenings

The weather is fine, the earth is showing signs of new life, it’s time to go outside and take a look around.

Strange things were happening … While you were hibernating, or simply not paying attention, the sky was putting on a show. Greg Johnson, the founder, owner, operator and geek behind Hansville’s popular Skunk Bay Weather site, has seen moonbows, fireballs, amazing streaks of lightning, awesome storms, glow-in-the-dark clouds, weird mirages, truly wacky weather, and neon bright auroras. And he has the photos to prove it.

Johnson’s site ( is mesmerizing. There are detailed weather updates every 15 minutes, weather advisories, forecasts, tide graphs, about 50 fascinating weather-related links. Johnson’s new blog and, what I like best, the three-camera panoramic, time-lapse photography of the sky (updated every three hours), culminates in a video of the previous 24 hours. It’s fun to watch yesterday whizz by, in case you missed anything. And new since November, is a camera devoted to the night sky.

Come see highlights of his recent work at the Greater Hansville Community Center at 7 p.m. on April 25, when Johnson will present “Talking About … Strange Sightings.”

And in case you were wondering, Johnson said, “Yes, we’ve had the coldest and wettest winter in 11 years,” since he started keeping track. And, yes, that was a UFO hovering over the lighthouse the other day (April Fool’s).

Explore the seashore … it’s alive! You’d be surprised at what’s creeping, crawling and growing on our local beaches. There are so many easy-to-miss critters, seaweeds and plants. You’d see it all if you knew what to look for. Satisfy your urge to learn more, and become a certified Kitsap Beach Naturalist.

The six-week non-credit course from Washington Sea Grant and Washington State University’s Kitsap Extension will take place from 6 -9 p.m. on Thursdays, from April 13 to May 18, at the Sea Discovery Center (Front Street in Poulsbo). The cost is $75, which includes a book, ID card and optional field trips in April. After your training, there will be many activities and volunteer opportunities for you to enjoy all around Kitsap.

Tour a native attraction … Ten years ago, it was an abandoned BMX bike track. Today, it’s a flourishing garden of native plants from Washington, Oregon, Northern California and British Columbia, supported by community organizations and maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers.

The mission of The Buck Lake Native Plant Garden in Hansville is to demonstrate the beauty and benefits of landscaping with natives.

There are numerous bulbs, evergreens, ground covers, grasses, ferns, shrubs, trees and vines. In April, the red-flowering currant and the purple camas meadow is in bloom near the south entrance.

Visit or browse the website for info and landscaping ideas (www.buck, or volunteer for a work party once in a while. They meet from 9 a.m. to noon starting April 2 and the fourth Mondays of the month through October. You can help for just an hour and even ask for a tour.

— Annette Wright was an editor and writer for women’s magazines for 25 years. Contact her at wright

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