Moon Snails

2019-20 Season

Congratulations Moon Snails on completing your second season of Explorers Club (EC)! We appreciate your willingness to play and connect with each other and the natural world. As we move into our third year in Explorers Club, mentors look forward to the Moon Snails taking on broader leadership roles, continuing to build their naturalist knowledge, and deepening their connections with nature, each other, and self. The focus of our wilderness skills this season will be Medicinal Plants, Art of Carving, Intro to Fire Building, and Navigation.

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:


Moon Snails 2019-2020 Schedule


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

EXPLORATION: Medicine Club Traverse at North Chuckanut Trailhead

Welcome back to Explorers Club mighty fifth graders! Our season will start out at the North Chuckanut trailhead, where the group will reorient themselves to each other and to the many trails of Chuckanut Mountain. We will continue to learn the basics of forest navigation, practice the EC mottoes of Collaborate and Compromise and Its About the Journey, Not the Destination, and learn a lot about the most powerful plant in our region, Medicine Club.

Directions: **Drop off and pick up locations are different.*** Drop off at North Chuckanut Mountain trailhead (just south of the Old Samish Highway turnoff & Chuckanut Bay Gallery, on the left side of Chuckanut Drive). Pick up at Arroyo Park. Arroyo Park is located on Old Samish Highway between 32nd Street and Chuckanut Drive. There are two small parking areas along Old Samish Highway. The group will be waiting and waving at the westernmost parking area closest to Chuckanut Drive on Old Samish Highway.


Outing #2: Sunday, October 13, 2019: 10:00-3:00PM

SKILLS: Medicinal Plants in the Hundred Acre Woods

Explorers girls know that plants give many gifts, providing food, clothing, tools, and medicine. As we ramble and roam throughout this south side forest learning lab, we'll discover some of the powers of plants to heal (& harm). Part of our time will be spent making a simple, yet ancient skin salve called the Balm of Gilead and perhaps also some forest tea! Each explorer will come home with their own small jar of salve that can be used as chapstick, lotion, or sunburn cream. Please make sure that your Explorer packs a mug for this outing.

Directions: From I-5, take the Fairhaven Parkway exit. Go left (south) on 24th (Fairhaven Veterinary Hospital on right). Follow this road for the equivalent of 2-3 blocks until you come to Willis St. (long uphill driveway on left, trailhead on right). Pull to the right side of the road just before Willis and look for mentors waiting and waving.


Outing #3: Saturday, November 16, 2019: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION: Team Building and Games Day at Whatcom Falls

In Explorers Club, we learn and practice many different types of skills. On this day, the group will work to deepen their intra and interpersonal skills by playing games designed to enhance communication, teamwork, and connection with self, the group, and nature. We'll also refresh our knowledge of the history of Bellingham by learning about the long story of Whatcom Creek.

Directions: Drop off and pick up will be in Whatcom Falls Park. Please drive to the parking lot near the lower playground south of the fish hatchery, just above the trail to the stone bridge (Lakeway entrance, into the park on Silver Beach Rd).


Outing #4: Sunday, December 8, 2019: 10:00-2:00PM

SERVICE: Blue Skies For Children at Wild Whatcom Offices

The Explorers' cups will overflow this day to help Blue Skies for Children grant "little wishes" to local children in foster care. We'll help get these wishes fulfilled by assisting with Blue Sky's newsletter mailing which gets sent out to over one thousand local supporters. This is a project for older girls who can take on the challenge of lots of repetitive activity, folding, stamping, and stuffing hundreds of envelopes. We know these gals are capable of the challenge!

Directions: Wild Whatcom's new office, 1015 Girard St. From the Lakeway 1-5 exit, take Lakeway Drive toward Holly St. Follow Holly St down to G St. Turn right onto G St and follow it for several blocks. Wild Whatcom's office is on the right on the corner of G St and Girard St.


Outing #5: Saturday, January 11, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

SKILLS: Art of Carving at Cornwall Park

The time has come for the group to learn the ancient Art of Carving. We will begin this journey with a lot of conversation about knife safety, etiquette, and carving technique. Every Explorer is expected to Come Prepared by watching the two short knife safety videos provided on the EC Resources page. Once the mentors have laid the foundation for knife skills awareness, we'll begin the process of learning to carve. This will be a skill that we practice for many outings to come and one that we will use as the bedrock for many future skills. Mentors will provide carving knives for this outing, so please do not send your Explorer with their own knife.

Directions: Drop off and pick up will be at the Cornwall Ave cultisak. Take Cornwall Ave North all the way until it deadends at the cultisak at the south end of Cornwall Park, near the Cornwall Rose Gardens.


Outing #6: Saturday, February 1, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

SKILLS: Kindling Bundle Creation at Lookout Mountain

The art of making and tending fires is a true ancient skill of survival. The group has progressed through GEC Earth Skills handily, and we look forward to sharing this art with the girls. We will start the day by reviewing our knowledge of tree and plant identification, reconnecting very specifically with the Western Hemlock. As we hike up Lookout Mtn, we will begin to gather materials and learn how to create kindling bundles. Lessons of 'Leave No Trace,' and fire safety will be intentionally woven throughout the day. Hopefully, the group will leave this outing with an appreciation of the intricate art of fire making and a firm knowledge of fire safety.

Directions: Drop off and pick up will be at the Lookout Mountain Trailhead. From Bellingham, take Lakeway Drive East for 3 miles. Continue for another .5 miles as it turns into Terrace Ave and then Cable Street. Take a right on Austin Street, Austin becomes Lake Louise Rd follow for 3.3 miles. Destination will be on the right.


Outing #7: Sunday, March 15, 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, May 9, 2020: 9:00-3:30PM

EXPLORATION: Point Whitehorn

We'll head north this day to experience a marine preserve in northern Whatcom County. Point Whitehorn was saved for future generations of heron, otter, herring, and people to enjoy because of many groups collaborating and compromising. We'll learn about how it came to be a preserve, discover the unique plants and trees in the coastal Sitka Spruce forest that lines its trail, and understand the geologic forces that shaped the beach and the human impacts around it. But mostly, we'll run arms wide and feet flying into expanses of sand and sea, driftwood and round rock, exploring our way around this beautiful beach! Be sure to bring or wear water shoes and a small towel.

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


Outing #9: Saturday, June 6, 2020: 9:30-2:30PM

EXPLORATION: Larrabee Coast Traverse (via Lost Lake Parking Lot)

Every EC group makes this trek from "Spirit Falls" near Clayton Beach along the coastline to Larrabee State Park. After a season of skills, we are ready to take on the navigational challenges of this trek. This is a perfect outing to delve further into the earth skill of navigation, particularly regarding tides. We'll use landmarks, maps, compass, and common sense to find our way. Be sure to wear long pants and sleeves, regardless of the weather, and shoes with good tread.

Directions: ***Please note that drop off and pick up locations are different*** Drop off is at the Lost Lake Trailhead. Follow Chuckanut Drive from Fairhaven, driving south. The parking lot for the Lost Lake trailhead is a short distance (approximately 1/4 mile) past the main Larrabee State Park entrance, on the left-hand side. Pick up is at Larrabee State Park, at the parking lot near the amphitheater.