Newcomers learn how to appreciate and care for the place where they live.
Birds, natural history and culture — these are just a few of the topics covered by the Sense of Place program in Pend Oreille County.
Between 1990 and 2000, Pend Oreille grew 31.6 percent, and those new residents wanted to know more about the area, said Janet Kiser Lambarth, WSU Extension director for Pend Oreille County.
“We sent out a survey and found that residents weren’t really into the regular agricultural programs but wanted to learn about where they lived,” she said. They also wanted information on land stewardship.
The Sense of Place program, offered through extension with the
assistance of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, provides that information.

“Most definitions of ‘sense of place’ boil down to knowledge and appreciation of what is unique and authentic about a particular geographical region,” said Carol Mack, extension agriculture coordinator who puts together the program. “Here we are concentrating on place-based information that helps us understand forested and rural lands.”

“We offer education throughout the year,” Kiser Lambarth said. “It helps educate people about preserving the environment while understanding this particular county.”

Begun in 1999, Sense of Place uses articles, classes and a newsletter to educate residents on issues specific to Pend Oreille, from tribal bead making to butterflies of the northern Rockies.

“We hit it right on the button,” Kiser Lambarth said. “Evaluations of the program indicate that people are getting the information they like and want.”

The number of attendees varies from 20 to 100 people, depending upon the program. Extension works closely with the natural resources department of the Kalispel Tribe to provide the information.

“We have always had a good working relationship with the tribe,” Kiser Lambarth said. “The program fits with their goals of preserving the environment, understanding it and working with it.”

Programs emphasize certain issues and values, such as how people can affect wildlife habitat and water quality..

“The program really is a vehicle for extension and the tribe working with it to promote particular values, including the importance of preserving where you live,” Kiser Lambarth said.

For information on programs offered through Sense of Place,visit

For information on the Kalispel Tribe of Indians visit