Congratulations Pikas on completing your fifth 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 sixth year in Explorers Club, mentors look forward to the Pikas continuing to deepen both sides of their wilderness toolbox: socio-emotional and technical skills. The group will be diving more deeply into carving, hiking, and will be starting the skill of birding. During this year, the group will also have a campout at Birch Bay and their first Create-Your-Own outing.
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!
Mentor Contact Info:
- Hannah Thomas Plant (she/her/hers) | (425) 765-2007 | email@example.com
- Jasmine Vilar (she/her/hers) | (509) 844-4536 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Pikas 2019-2020 Schedule
Outing #1: Sunday, September 8, 2019: 9:00-3:00PM
EXPLORATION/SKILLS: Hike to Fragrance Lake
For our first outing of the season, the group will stretch their legs for a brisk autumn hike! On our way up to Fragrance Lake, we'll learn about the 10 Essentials of hiking, practice our navigation skills, and catch up after a long summer away from the group. We highly encourage all Explorers to pack their own bags for this outing, making sure to include lots of warm layers and plenty of food. This is a seven-hour outing, so extra H2O and snacks are crucial.
Directions: Drop off and pick up will be at the first parking lot in Larrabee State Park. From Bellingham, drive south on Chuckanut Drive for 7 miles, Larrabee State Park entrance will be on your right-hand side.
Outing #2: Saturday, October 5, 2019: 3:00Pm - Sunday, October 6, 2019: 12:00PM
EXPLORATION: Camp Out at Birch Bay!
It has become a tradition to have a sleepover during the girls' time with GEC. This is the day for the Pikas! We'll plan to gather and settle in, then collaboratively prepare dinner. After that, it's an evening and night exploration in the woods. We'll play plenty of games, bring materials to practice earth skills, and have several group bonding activities lined up. Though mentors will host this gathering, we'll follow the GEC motto Everyone Helps. We'll coordinate the meal, so let us know if your daughter has any food sensitivities or allergies.
Directions: Pick up and Drop off will be at Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Ave.
Outing #3: Sunday, November 10, 2019: TIME TBD
SERVICE: Trail Maintenance with Washington Trails Association
For many years, Girls Explorers Club has partnered with Washington Trails Association to help keep up on improvements and maintenance on some of Bellingham's most popular trails. We will be focusing on trail realignment, pruning overgrown vegetation, and digging new paths for water to flow off the trail. All explorers should come prepared on these days with a pair of work gloves, hiking boots and lots of snacks! Additionally, Washington Trails Association also requires all minor to come with a signed Parental Release Form. Mentors will send this in the outing reminder email, please print, sign, and bring it with you upon drop off.
Outing #4: Saturday, December 7, 2019: 10:00-4:00PM
SKILLS: Art of Carving III
Please check back soon for details and directions.
Outing #5: Sunday, January 12, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM
SKILLS: Self Love at 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 #6: Saturday, February 1, 2020: 10:00-3:30PM
SKILLS: Birding and Being on the Samish Flats
There is a motto we seldom touch on, but it's among our most important ones: Be Here Now. Present moment awareness allows us to experience the fullness of life, and we'll be practicing that throughout this exploration. On this Whatcom-Skagit road trip, we'll begin by heading southwest to the Samish flats. The Samish flats host magnificent migrations of myriad birds each winter and spring. We'll observe and learn from these winged ones about the cycle and circle of life, seasons, initiative, balance. Our day will end at Larrabee State Park's campground, where we'll have a vernal equinox check in around a fire and an extended Peaceful Place. The Samish Flats are somewhat marshy, muddy, and mucky, so please wear boots that can endure water and mud!
Directions: Drop off and pick up at Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Avenue.
Outing #7: Sunday, March 22, 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: Saturday, April 18, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM
SKILLS: Create Your Own Skill
Which skill will the group choose to review, practice, or learn brand new? They will have seven 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: Location TBD
Outing #9: Sunday, May 17, 2020: 9:00-4:00PM
EXPLORATION/SKILLS: Hike to Pine and Cedar Lakes
For our last outing, the group will hike one of Bellingham's most iconic trails, Pine and Cedar Lake. On this day, we will stretch our legs for an early summer hike, a great prep for any Explorer that plans to do some summer backpacking! We'll review the Ten Essentials of hiking before departing, but spend most of this outing seeing where our interest takes us. 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.
Driving Directions: Drop off and pick up are at the Pine and Cedar Lakes Trailhead. From I-5, take exit 250 for Old Fairhaven Pkwy and turn west onto Old Fairhaven Pkwy. Follow Old Fairhaven Parkway toward Fairhaven and turn left on 12th St./Chuckanut Drive. Drive 1.2 miles south on Chuckanut Drive. Veer left onto Old Samish Rd and continue for about 1.9 miles to the trailhead parking area on the right.