Fiddleheads

2019-20 Season

Congratulations Fiddleheads on completing your fourth season of Explorers Club (EC)! Mentors appreciate your willingness to play and connect with each other and the natural world. As the group moves into their fifth year in Explorers Club, mentors look forward to the Fiddles continuing to deepen both sides of their wilderness toolbox: socio-emotional and technical skills. The group will be diving more deeply into carving, fire creation, and will be starting the skill of shelter building. There will also be a focus on the history of the Land of Noisy Waters and a number of explorations to secret forests, quiet lakes, and marine eco-preserves.

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:


Fiddleheads 2019-2020 Schedule


Outing #1: Saturday, September 14, 2019: 10:00-3:00PM

SKILLS: Fire by Friction # 1 at Lake Padden Park

For many thousands of years, the skill of fire building was passed on from elder to youth. Over time, the young people grew in skill to become masters themselves. While we won't achieve fire building mastery on this day, we will certainly continue to hone our skills. Working off of our previous lessons on tinder bundle collection and fire-kit creation, we will take the knowledge that we have learned and see if we can't make some fire. We'll also do some leadership activities, play games, and leave lots of time for free exploration as well!

Directions: Drop off and Pick up at Lake Padden Park, east entrance near the dog park. From I-5 take exit 252 (Samish Way) and head south on South Samish Way for 2.4 miles. Turn right onto Lakeshore Drive (Lake Padden Golf Course/Dog Park (east) entrance). Continue to the end of the road and the parking lot near the dog park. Map.


Outing #2: Sunday, October 13, 2019: 10:00-4:00PM

EXPLORATION: Follow Whatcom Creek

As salmon swim upstream, so we will be walking upstream on this urban exploration of salmon habits and habitat, following Whatcom Creek through downtown and into Whatcom Falls Park on an urban hike. We'll begin near the creek's mouth at Maritime Heritage Park and follow it through the city, discussing this waterway's history and human interface, asking lots of questions and making observations along the way. We'll consider how salmon swim and struggle, taking note of the challenges they face (and likely see and discuss some human struggle as well); play new trail games; caretake the streamside by picking up litter; harvest rosehips for Vitamin C honey; drink cocoa and nettle/licorice tea, and learn about the totem fish of our region. The girls will be navigators this day, managing the map and figuring out how to travel the creek through downtown. We look forward to sharing the fascinating history of "Whatcoom, the Place of Noisy Waters.

Directions: Please note that drop off and pick up locations are different. Drop off at Maritime Heritage Park, in front of the environmental learning center: 514 W Holly St. Mentors will be waiting and waving. Pick up at Whatcom Falls Park entrance off Lakeway, near the playground and fish hatchery


Outing #3: Saturday, November 9, 2019: 10:00-2:00PM

SERVICE: CHORE Project

On this day, Explorers will be volunteering with the Bellingham Opportunity Council's Chore Program . This service provides volunteers to help Whatcom county's elderly and adults with functional disabilities remain independent in their own homes. The Volunteer Chore Program serves as a safety net for some 200+ Whatcom residents, helping those with limited resources. Girls Explorers Club has been partnering with the Chore Program for many years and now it is the Fiddleheads' turn to lend a helping hand. We'll talk about the importance of supporting multi-generational communities and the EC service ethos. Please remember to have your Explorer pack garden gloves as this day will be spent doing lots of yard work!

Directions: To respect the privacy of the residents that we work with, driving directions will be given in pre-outing emails.


Outing #4: Saturday, December 14, 2019: 10:00-3:00PM

SKILLS: Shelter Building and Art of Carving II in the Hundred Acre Woods

This is a season for following GEC traditions! Every group learns how to construct a basic forest shelter while they're in GEC, which is part of learning basic earth skills to survive and thrive. We'll gather at the Hundred Acre Wood and talk about why shelter is so important, then spend the day learning techniques and skills, borrowing what the forest provides to construct debris huts. With mentor supervision, we will also be using knives and a handsaw on this day. Dress warmly, but also expect to warm up during the building process.

Directions: From I-5, take exit 250 (Old Fairhaven Parkway) and head west. Turn left on 24th St at Fairhaven Veterinary Hospital. Proceed several blocks until you come to Willis St. (long uphill driveway on left, trailhead on right).


Outing #5: Sunday, January 26, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

SKILLS: Fire by Friction #2 at Larrabee State Park (via Main Day Use Lot)

For many thousands of years, the skill of fire building was passed on from elder to youth. Over time, the young people grew in skill to become masters themselves. While we won't achieve fire building mastery on this day, we will certainly continue to hone our skills. Working off of our two previous lessons on tinder bundle collection and fire-kit creation, we will take the knowledge that we have learned and see if we can't make some fire. We'll also do some leadership activities, play games, and leave lots of time for free exploration as well!

Directions: From I-5 N, take exit 250 for Old Fairhaven Pkwy and turn west onto Old Fairhaven Pkwy. Follow Old Fairhaven Parkway toward Fairhaven and turn L on 12th St./Chuckanut Drive. Drive south on Chuckanut Dr. for 5 miles. Turn R into Larrabee State Park. Follow the road to the left and meet in the day use parking. NOTE: WASHINGTON STATE REQUIRES A DISCOVERY PASS FOR PARKING. To avoid a ticket, stay with your car. Click here for the Google Map location.


Outing #6: Saturday, February 29, 2020: 10:00-4:00PM

TEAM BUILDING: Rocks and Talks at Semiahmoo

Semiahmoo is the northwest edge of Whatcom County and the United States. We'll spend the day doing team building activities, practicing our fire building skills, and exploring this site that has seen human habitation for thousands of years. This spit divides ocean currents of the Straits of Georgia and the calm waters of Drayton Harbor are where many fish, birds, and mammals meet. We will learn about which peoples have called Semiahmoo home in the past and in the present and take in spectacular views of East Whatcom’s wonders: the snow-capped North Cascades.

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


Outing #7: Sunday, March 22, 2020: 10:30-2:30PM

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 #8: Saturday, April 25, 2020: 9:00-4:00PM

EXTENDED EXPLORATION: Chuckanut Ridge Traverse

This journey along Chuckanut Ridge is a great hike through the heart of the Chuckanuts. We'll start at the top of Cleator Road about. Then we'll connect to the Chuckanut Ridge Trail and (maybe) the Lost Lake Trail or Rock Trail which will take us north, past great views, and an abundance of healthy forest. There is nothing quite like traipsing through a natural setting with a group of close friends to revitalize the soul. We should cover four miles or so, so eat a big breakfast and be ready to hike!

Drop-off Directions: From I-5, Take exit #250 and turn right onto Fairhaven Pkwy. Go to second stoplight. Turn left on SR 11/Chuckanut Dr for 1.3 miles. Turn left onto 12th st. for .1 of a mile. 12th st. becomes Chuckanut Dr. Follow for 3.6 miles. Turn left onto Hiline Road. Follow until it turns into Cleator Road at .6 of a mile. Then continue an additional 3.5 miles all the way to the top/end of the road! Map.

Pick-up Directions: From I-5, take exit 250 (Old Fairhaven Parkway) and head south on Old Fairhaven Parkway/Chuckanut Drive. Just past the intersection with Old Samish Rd there will be a parking lot on your left with a sign saying North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead. Map.


Outing #9: Saturday, May 16, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION: Squires Lake

For their last outing of the season, the Fiddleheads will meet at this 80-acre park to explore and connect at the height of spring. Squire's Lake Park is home to a beautiful lake, stinky skunk cabbage, active beaver pond, and plenty of other wildlife. We’ll find out how this land was preserved for all to enjoy, search for signs of beaver, and learn about the wetland habitats that beavers create. We will also spend some time intentionally checking in together as a group, doing some team-bonding activities, and spending time in free exploration.

Directions: Head south on I-5 to exit 242 (Nulle Road). Turn left, heading east off the exit towards Old Highway 99 to the parking lot for the Squires Lake Trailhead. You'll find mentors waiting at waving at 170 Old Hwy 99 N