2019-20 Season

Congratulations! The Dragonflies are about to embark on their seventh and final season of Explorers Club. Please note the graduation dates (May 15-17, 2020) for this upcoming season and mark it on your family's calendar. We would love it if every explorer was able to attend this special weekend! Many thanks in advance for your family's commitment to the Dragonflies and their final season of Explorer's Club.

Please look over the schedule upon registration and give us as much advance notice as possible if there are any conflicts for your child attending. For more information, please visit our Missed Days and Make Up Policies. Please know that these dates are subject to change due to inevitable circumstances. We will update you if any dates do change!

Be sure to use the Be Prepared Checklist when getting ready for each Explorers Club outing. Wild Whatcom Mottos guide much of our program so please read them over with your Explorer.

Mentor Contact Info:

Dragonflies 2019-2020 Schedule

Outing #1: Sunday, September 8, 2019: 9:00-4:00PM

SKILLS: HIKE to Oyster Dome

For our first outing, the group will hike one of Bellingham's most iconic trails, Oyster Dome. On this day, we will stretch our legs for a brisk autumn hike! We'll review the 10 Essentials of hiking, practice our navigation skills, and catch up after a long summer away from the group. We encourage each explorer to pack their own bags for this day and in doing so, include as many of the 10 Essentials as they think they'll need. We have lots of extra gear at the Wild Whatcom office, so let us know if you'd like to borrow anything specific. This is a seven-hour outing, so extra H2O and snacks are crucial.

Directions: Pick up and Drop off will be at Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Ave.

Outing #2: Sunday, October 20, 2019: 9:00-2:30PM

FINAL SERVICE: Restoration Sites: Connelly Creek Nature Area and Happy Valley Park

Our official EC restoration sites have changed dramatically since we started working on them. Blackberries that were once well over head-high have been chopped down to nothing and many of their persistent roots have been dug out. Hundreds of pounds of trash has been removed, the reed canary grass has been covered with bark mulch, native species are beginning to be planted on the banks of the creek, and the alder are growing markedly faster than our Explorers.

With the help of Bellingham City Parks and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA), we are contributing to the very important work of salmon habitat restoration. Salmon are keystone species of the Northwest, playing important roles in every ecosystem and community they interact with. They are economically, culturally, and spiritually significant to Indigenous peoples, including our Lummi and Nooksack neighbors. Our restoration work creates a positive ripple effect that is felt in communities beyond just salmon, and gives us an incredible opportunity to be part of a legacy of stewardship and protection.

Directions: From I-5 drive west on Old Fairhaven Parkway for 0.1 of a mile. Turn right onto 30th St. and drive for 0.3 of a mile. Turn right on Donovan Ave. and drive for 0.1 of a mile. Turn right onto 32nd Ave. and drive for 0.2 of a mile. Turn left into Bellingham Park & Ride (WSDOT) Westside. Map.

Outing #3: Saturday, November 23, 2019: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION/SKILLS: Self Love North Lake Whatcom

During the time of the year when the weather turns wet and the days become short, it is easy to begin to feel the blues. This is why for the whole day, we will practice many methods of connections to self and forms of giving and receiving self-love. We'll go through a yoga sequence, make forest tea, journal, and talk about examples of self-care that are so necessary for young people to learn. Our focus will be on empowering and accepting ourselves as the girls and women that we are and encouraging each other to do the same. This will be a powerful, special day for the group, and we're excited to try it while exploring outdoors!

Directions: Head east on Alabama St. to North Shore Drive. Take a left onto Northshore Drive. Continue on Northshore Drive 7.2 miles, until it becomes Northshore Road. Drive .05 mile until you reach the North Lake Whatcom trailhead entrance on your left. This is a bit of a drive, so carpooling is suggested. Plan on driving 25 minutes from downtown Bellingham.

Outing #4: Sunday, January 26, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

SKILLS: Create Your Own Skill

Which skill will the Dragonflies choose to review, practice, or learn brand new? They will have three outings to Collaborate and Compromise about what skill to focus on and to come up with a plan for the day. Mentors will provide inspiration and materials and will help to facilitate this CYOS outing!

Directions: TBD

Outing #5: Sunday, February 23, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION/SKILLS: Art of Nature/Nature of Art at Clayton Beach (via Lost Lake Parking Lot)

Following in the footsteps of the great natural artist Andy Goldsworthy, the team will be spending this late winter day envisioning natural art installations in the forest and on the beach. We will gather dead, down, or brown leaves, flowers, branches, stones, and other natural materials along the trail, talk about concepts of beauty, perspective, and art, and each make our own, unique work of art. Some Explorers may choose to make mandalas, while others may build sculptures, and some may even use nettle cordage to create floating flower wreaths. There will be no wrongs or rights as we work together to create pieces of ephemeral, natural art.

Directions: Drop off and Pick up at the Lost Lake parking lot. Follow Chuckanut Drive from Fairhaven, driving south. The parking lot is a short distance (approximately 1/4 mile) past the main Larrabee State Park entrance, on the left-hand side. Note that a Discover Pass is required if you park for any longer than a quick drop off.

Outing #6: Sunday, March 22, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION: Create Your Own Adventure

What adventure is behind door three? Will the group choose a hike on Galbraith, a day by the ocean, a traverse in the Chuckanuts? They will have five outings to Collaborate and Compromise about what adventure to embark upon and to come up with a plan for the day. Mentors will provide inspiration and materials and will help to facilitate this CYOA outing!

Directions: TBD

Outing #7: Friday, May 15, 2020: 5:00PM - Sunday, May 17, 2020: 4:00PM

GRADUATION: Final Explorers Club Gathering at Skagit River Maple

Wonderful Dragonflies, the time has come for the parting of ways. The Dragonflies' graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 15th- Sunday, May 17th at Skagit River Maple. We'll plan for a Friday afternoon departure at 5:00 PM from Cascades Montessori Middle School. The bulk of the weekend is largely dependent on what the girls choose to do, but we plan on spending plenty of time on reflection, acknowledgment, and merry-making. The weekend will conclude with a graduation ceremony that will include a slideshow, potluck, and presentation from the explorers and mentors. The ceremony will begin at 1:30 PM, so we ask families to arrive at 1:00 PM to settle in.

Graduation weekend will take place at Skagit River Maple (see google maps link here) outside of Sedro-Woolley (about 45 minutes from Bellingham). This location is home to a passion project of one of our generous Wild Whatcom families. The farm is focused on the sustainable growth and harvest of Big Leaf Maple for the purpose of creating handcrafted musical instruments. Our colloquial GEC name for this place is Utopia, and Utopia is a perfect name for this land. It is full of swamps, small growing trees, wide open fields, creeks and rivers, lovely trails to explore, and an indoor kitchen/dining/bathroom space. We feel very lucky to be able to explore and connect in this place for our weekend!

Mentors will be sending out emails at the end of March detailing a suggested packing list, To-Do's for families, and other necessary info. If you have any questions regarding graduation weekend, please get in contact with the Dragonflies' mentors.

Driving Directions: Utopia Tree Farm at 8600 B D Minkler Rd, Sedro-Woolley, WA, 98284. Hop on I-5 going South for 20 miles. Take exit 232/Cook Rd. Turn Left onto Cook Rd. At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit to stay on Cook Rd and at the next traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto Borseth Rd. Continue onto Moore St and at the traffic circle, continue straight onto Moore St/ WA 20 E for 5.5 miles. Turn Right onto Hoehn Rd, follow for 1 mile. Turn left onto Utopia Rd and Utopia Rd turns left and become B D Minkler Rd. B D Minkler Rd dead ends at Utopia Farm, where you will see the Wild Whatcom bus, Explorers, and mentors waiting and waving! Click here for the Google Map location.