About Stewart

Hi! My name is Stewart Wechsler and I am deeply passionate about nature. 

Stewart Wechsler teaching young naturalists about moths and butterflies at Camp Long in West Seattle. Photo by D. C. Anstett.

Stewardship of the wild, natural world begins with curiosity and knowledge. My exceptionally knowledgeable naturalist older brother and gardener dad hooked me on nature as a child, and have studied my community of plants, animals and fungi ever since.

I have over a decade of experience as a naturalist guide, and a lifetime of experience as a student of nature. I specialize in guided stewardship-based nature outings with both adults and kids, either separately, or with both kids and adults together, where both age groups have a good time without adults being irritated by dumbed down programming or kids that are dominating.

I am available to:

  • Lead guided outings in nature for any age group, from butterfly walks to native plant stewardship trips, for schools, public or private groups. I design age-appropriate adventures in nature that stimulate curiosity and educate about stewardship.
  • Design and implement nature-oriented educational programs for classes, events or festivals.
  • Advise on site-appropriate native plants and habitat enhancement for maximum diversity of plants and animals.
  • Carry out botanical surveys.

The Seattle Times:  Seattle nature lover gives a hoot (to help you get a look at owls)  Wechsler, makes his rounds around West Seattle daily, with binoculars in hand and an illustrated bird guide in his back pocket.

The Seattle Times: Lost wildflowers bloom again at Seward Park. Like phoenixes of photosynthesis, there are wildflowers blooming today in Seward Park that have not grown there for more than 100 years…
(206) 932-7225



7 Responses to About Stewart

  1. Pingback: A Salamander Valentine | The Island Naturalist

    • Stewart says:

      I appreciate The Island Naturalist Bianca Perla remembering my Salamander Love Night Programs at Camp Long, but I’ll have to make a couple of corrections. As many do, she had a couple of errors in my name. As many of you know it’s Stewart Wechsler, not Steve Weschler. And while I’d love to do so again, I don’t currently have a Salamander Love Night program scheduled at Camp Long for this coming Valentine’s night. Historically I did my programming directly through Camp Long and Seattle Parks, but now I do them all independently, and need to make further arrangements to do after hour programs there.


  2. Travis Yost says:

    Hi Stewart! Hey while replacing a shed yesterday in Cle Elum we disrupted the hibernation of five Western Red Backed salamanders and because I don’t want them to perish in the cold I brought them back to Seattle. They are in a medium size pot with their native soil now. What do you advise I do with them? Should I release them somewhere here in Seattle or hold on to them until the temps are right in Eastern WA that they might survive?


    • Stewart says:

      Travis, While it may be impressive that those little, moist-skinned animals are adapted to Cle Elum winter weather, they are. It was a mistake to remove them from their habitat were they were surviving in the first place, but don’t feel bad, mistakes are from learning from. As these are salamanders from east of the Cascade crest, I question whether it is wise to release them in the Seattle area, as their survival, could potentially alter the genetic adaptation of the local population. On the other hand, it may be that adding some genetically different members of a local species could add to so-called “hybrid vigor” of the local Western Red-backed Salamander population, and the addition of more of this species to a spot where they have declined could do more good than harm.

      There is also the issue of how well these individual salamanders would do in captivity until released again. I confess that when we were kids, my older brother Doug and I kept salamanders in captivity and I now say that this “functionally killed” them. That is they died before ever being able to reproduce in their habitat again, and generally lived a much shortened life than they likely would have in their habitat. That was a mistake I’ve learned from. In general I usually am more concerned about the health of a larger population, race or species, than I am for the individuals, but I do care about the individuals too.

      I may do a bit of research on our local Western Red-backed Salamanders and see what information I can find about any variation between populations east and west of the Cascades and get back to you. You could do the same if you wanted.

      I also just looked to see if I was able to shift your comment to my “Six Seattle Salamanders” article, but saw no way to do so. It would fit in better there. If you could re-post it there, I’d copy all of replies and delete your post on my “About Stewart” page.

  3. Pingback: “Breaking Down Biology” at The Daily | Leache Lab

  4. Stewart says:

    Thank you Todd for finding that link! And yes, we will be working on a “links” section and a “calendar” section. Thanks alsoTodd for the feedback! We will be incorporating any good feedback we can as we go along. We are still on the first week since launching the website. I’m also handicapped with still being early on the learning curve, and still having no laptop since my earlier one was stolen and my gifted replacement died. It will take time, but we expect to make the site more interesting, usable and functional as time goes along, and will always value and incorporate any good feedback!

  5. Todd says:

    This is another link to an article about berries that Stewart helped with. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/outdoors/2003091699_nwwberries29.html

    I love the website!!! I wonder whether there will be a links section that folks might find useful, and be a way for wildlife enthusiasts browsing the internet to bump into this great site.

    Also, I think it would be fun to have a calendar section that gives people an idea of what other sorts of programs might be around the corner (i.e., like “First Butterflies of the season”, “Early Native Flowers”, etc. Perhaps people could express interest in various potential nature walk themes, and be alerted once the number of potential participants reaches critical mass; then Stewart could add the event.

    Anyway, kudos! Great work.

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