Orb Weavers

2019-20 Season

Congratulations Orb Weavers on embarking on your first season of Explorers Club (EC)! Explorers Club is a long-term program with a subtle spiral curriculum that builds upon itself for years. We're excited for you to join our community and look forward to seeing how we all craft our coming adventures. We have a great season planned that is sure to include lots of new exploration and discovery as we romp through the woods in our own backyard. Along the way we will introduce the group to some introductory naturalist skills and fundamental EC values that will help to lay the groundwork for future seasons. The focus of our wilderness skills this season will be Collaborate & Compromise, Plant Identification & Harvest, 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:


Orb Weavers 2019-2020 Schedule


Outing #1: Saturday, September 21, 2019: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION: Clayton Beach (via Lost Lake Parking Lot)

Explorers groups have been meeting at this magical beach for their first group explorations for over nine years. We’ll ramble down this wooded trail in the Explorers Club way, noticing nature, moving slowly, and seeing things with new eyes. We’ll make friendships with plants and trees along the trail, eating some & making face paint with others. By playing games and following hidden trails, we'll begin to discover all the ways we can explore our connections to nature and one another. Please remember to pack a bathing suit, extra H2O, sunscreen, and closed toed water shoes!

Directions: Follow Chuckanut Drive from Fairhaven, driving south. The parking lot for Clayton Beach (at the Lost Lake Parking Lot) is a short distance (approximately 1/4 mile) past the main Larrabee State Park entrance, on the left-hand side.


Outing #2: Sunday, October 20, 2019: 9:30-1:30PM

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 #3: Saturday, November 9, 2019: 10:00-2:30PM

EXPLORATION: Arroyo Park via North Chuckanut Trailhead

On this late autumn day, we’ll let our exploring spirits be our guide as we discover some of the many wonders of this forest preserve. We'll find the Game Grove where Explorers groups play all kinds of nature games and discover a sweet root among the rain-wet moss. The colors of autumn will be overhead and underfoot, fungi should be flourishing, and hopefully, we'll be witnessing salmon's journey home. There is no end to the exploring this old forest and stream offer - five hours will fly by. Please remember to send your Explorer with lots of warm layers and filling food to this outing.

Directions: We'll meet at the North Chuckanut Trailhead. From Bellingham, take Chuckanut Drive southbound. You'll pass the Chuckanut Bay Art Gallery on your right and Old Samish Way on your left. Just past these landmarks, the trailhead will be on your left. Drive down into the parking lot, and you'll find mentors waiting and waving.


Outing #4: Saturday, December 14, 2019: 10:00-2:00PM

SKILLS: Art of Navigation I Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

We'll wander and wonder in this forest preserve, generously protected from development for the benefit of the birds, mammals, trees, plants, amphibians, fungi, and insects that call it home. Along with plenty of girl-led exploring, we'll do activities that teach about the wilderness skill of navigation. Where are we, and how do we know where we're going? How do we prevent becoming lost, and what can we do if we lose our way? Fun games and activities will explore these questions and more as we learn how to trust both our inner and outer compass using natural landmarks, tools, maps, and all our senses. Please remember to send your Explorer with lots of warm layers and filling food to this outing.

Directions: Follow Lakeway Drive east for 3.4 miles to Austin Street. Go right. Shortly after the Whatcom Hills Waldorf School on your right, veer left onto Lake Louise Road. Continue 2.2 miles to the Stimpson Reserve parking lot on your left.


Outing #5: Sunday, January 12, 2020: 10:00-2:00PM

EXPLORATION: Winter Games Day

Get ready for games, games, games! One of the key skills we believe young children need is an activated imagination; today is a day to really focus on the Art of Play. We'll play much loved Explorers Club nature-themed games, learn plenty of new ones, and perhaps come up with some new games as we go. As always, we'll practice leadership skills that build executive function, like active listening and collaborative decision-making (and play itself!) and finish our day tired, full of giggles, and more connected as a group. Please remember to send your Explorer with lots of warm layers and filling food to this outing.

Directions: Meet at Fairhaven Park. Take Chuckanut Drive South for approximately 0.1 miles. Take a left into Fairhaven Park. We'll meet by the upper picnic shelter where you'll see mentors waiting and waiving!


Outing #6: Saturday, February 8, 2020: 10:00-2:00PM

SKILLS: Tree ID at Cornwall Park

Have you ever talked to a tree? If you have, then you know that trees have a great deal to share with their friends. Trees breathe new life into the air, their roots bind and protect riverbanks, their trunks and canopies are homes to communities of animals, and they are utilized by Whatcom's First Nation peoples to make shelter, tools, and medicines. But if we are only just beginning to learn the ways of trees, where do we even start? We'll begin by asking the same question that we do whenever we make new friends: What's your name? On this very special outing, the group will begin to learn how to distinguish the five most prominent trees in our area- Alder, Big Leaf Maple, Cedar, Douglas Fir, and Western Hemlock. In outings to come, we will use this knowledge to learn about the medicines, foods, and tools that all come from our friends, the trees. Please remember to send your Explorer with lots of warm layers and filling food to this outing.

Directions: Though there are three entrances to Cornwall Park please use the entrance on Meridian at the light at Squalicum Parkway to access the North Picnic Shelter. From I-5 N, take the Meridian exit (256B), go L at the end of the ramp and go under the highway. Go south 3 blocks and turn L at the Squalicum Parkway entrance (at the light). Click here for the Google Map location.


Outing #7: Sunday, March 15, 2020: 9:30-1:30PM

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: Sunday, April 26, 2019: 10:00-3:00PM

SKILLS: Edible Plants in the Southwest Hundred Acre Woods

On this day, we’ll explore some of the gifts plants offer and learn how to make use of our green friends in tasty ways! We’ll hike into the 100 Acre Wood, pausing to put on our "owl eyes" and talk about how plants can both help and hurt us, and how to know the difference. We'll learn to always "make sure you meet before you eat", and then begin meeting all sorts of plants, seeking in particular the noble nettle. After we find a sizable patch, we’ll learn how to harvest nettle safely and respectfully, and bundle and dry it for use at home. We’ll also learn more about another under appreciated plant, dandelion, and the gifts it offers, as well as bleeding heart, trillium, licorice fern, and much more. Our snacks may consist of maple blossom fritters, nettle tea, nettle pesto, or dandelion salad. Yum!

Directions: Drive Chuckanut Drive past Fairhaven Park. The road ascends and intersects with Viewcrest at the top of the hill. We will meet there. There is a small bit of parking on the left (east) side of the road, but we will plan to also meet girls on the right (west) side and walk them across. Carpooling encouraged.


Outing #9: Sunday, June 7, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION: Teddy Bear Cove

We’ll trundle down the trail to these coves on Chuckanut Bay, to greet the shorebirds and discover tidepool wonders, stroke madrone’s sleek trunk, find a hidden cave covered in licorice root, learn about a famous nature artist and construct our own creations. But mostly, we’ll follow where the Orb Weaver's exploring spirit takes us. Please remember to pack a bathing suit, extra H2O, sunscreen, and closed toed water shoes!

Directions: Drop off and pick up at the pullout on Chuckanut Drive, on the right just after the Teddy Bear Cove trailhead (0.9 miles past the Chuckanut Bay Gallery, 2.4 miles from Fairhaven). Limited parking, carpooling suggested.