Most of the spectacular specimens in the River Center were prepared by Claude and Edna Ritze of Sequim, WA.  Claude learned taxidermy at the University of Michigan during the 1930s, where he was a technician during the Depression.  Following his career as an inspector at Boeing Aircraft, Claude and Edna retired to Sequim, and in 2002 they began preparing mounted specimens for our collection.  Claude specialized in “100 year mounts,” meticulously prepared and mounted in lifelike poses.  Claude’s skill and artistry are evident in every bird specimen he prepared.  Claude passed away in 2006, but his legacy as a preparer of beautiful bird mounts continues at the Center.

Many other specimens in the Center were prepared by Mark Hanson, one of the founding fathers of the River Center and a former Sequim Middle School science teacher.  Mark’s love of nature shows in the incredible collection of bones, feathers, and other natural items that he gathered during his lifetime.  Mark passed away in 2005, but, just like Claude, he left behind a treasure of natural items that help make the River Center special.


Our reference library is full of books, guides, and videos that help us and you understand our local environment. Although we do not have a loan program we are happy to copy a few pages out of a book for a marginal fee.

Native Plant Garden

Birds, like all wildlife, require food, shelter, and protection from predators.  They like familiar foods and places. Native plants provide all these, attracting insects, growing fruits and berries, and maintaining dense thickets of
 vegetation for nesting and living.  One of the best things you can do for native birds and other wildlife is to garden with native plants.  Not only do native plants help wildlife, but they also require less water, fertilizer, and care by you.

Many excellent native plants thrive in our area and provide a bounty of food and shelter for wildlife throughout the year.  Please stroll through our garden to discover the native plants of our area that best fulfill the needs of the Olympic Peninsula’s native birds.  You can find a list of native plants here.