Quaking Aspens

2019-20 Season

Congratulations Quaking Aspens 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, Camouflage, and Plant Identification.

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:


Quaking Aspens 2019-2020 Schedule


Outing #1: Saturday, September 7th, 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 trailhead) is a short distance (approximately 1/4 mile) past the main Larrabee State Park entrance, on the left-hand side.


Outing #2: Sunday, October 6, 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: Sunday, November 8, 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 that this old forest and fresh stream have to offer. 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 7, 2019: 10:00-2:00PM

SKILLS: Art of Camouflage North Lake Whatcom Park

The Art of Camouflage starts with one of the most quintessential Explorer’s Club games: Hide! Through many rounds of hiding with fellow Explorers, we will learn how to blend into our surroundings utilizing shape, size, color, light, shadow, movement, and sound. We also learn how to break up our image using intersecting lines to literally disappear into the landscape. We will train our naturalist's eyes toward a skill which many animals have mastered. We’ll learn directly from our local teachers as we consider outline and pattern and ways to blend in seamlessly with our surroundings. This understanding helps us get to know our land and the plants and animals that live here. After some practice, we can be as quiet, stealthy, and aware as a bobcat! Be prepared for some foundational Explorers games that will help us on this journey. Please remember to send your Explorer with lots of warm layers and filling food to this outing!

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 #5: Saturday, January 28, 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: Sunday, February 9, 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 8, 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 18, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION: Whatcom Wander

Chances are you’ve been to this park before. But we promise this day will be different, as we explore in the EC way: taking our time along the trail from Scudder's Pond into the park to learn about what’s all around, noticing signs of spring, playing nature games, finding hidden trails and more. We'll say hello to the red-winged blackbird, learn about the many uses of cattail (and look for amphibian egg sacks along its stalks), search for and follow Whatcom Creek as it flows from lake to lagoon to tumbling waterfalls. Five hours will fly by, and we guarantee you'll see things on these wooded trails you've never noticed before!

Directions: Please note that drop off and pick up are in two different places! Drop off near the corner of Electric and Alabama on Electric in the small parking area on the west side of the road (mentors will be waiting and waving). Pick up will be 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 #9: Sunday, May 31, 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 Quaking Aspen'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.