Congratulations Townsend's Chipmunks on completing your fifth year of Explorers Club (EC)! We 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 group continuing to deepen both sides of their Explorers toolbox: socio-emotional and technical skills. The Townsend's Chipmunks' skill focus for this year will be Art of Surviving and Art of Fire, through which we'll deepen our trust with one another and learn teamwork, patience, humility, and respect for the forces of nature.
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!
Nick Engelfried (he/him/his) | (360) 941-3085 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Joey Christianson (he/him/his) | (425) 281-8255 | email@example.com
Townsend's Chipmunks 2019-20 Schedule
OUTING #1: Sunday, September 8, 2019: 10:00-3:00PM
EXPLORATION: Nettle Harvest, Northridge Park
To begin our year, we will head to a patch of urban wilderness on the north side of town. On this outing, we will have the opportunity to get to learn more about one of our most useful local plants: stinging nettle! We will begin our cordage projects on this outing (harvest, processing) and will need to let them cure over the year. On our last outing of the year, we will utilize the nettles that we harvest on this outing to create our own cordage! The abundance of nettles at this location will allow us to harvest them without having a large impact on the land. Leave No Trace is one of our most fundamental mottos in Explorers Club.
Directions: From I-5, take exit 255 and head east on Sunset Drive for 0.2 miles. Turn right onto Barkley Blvd and continue for 2 miles. Turn left onto Carrington Way and follow for 0.2 miles to the end of the road where we will meet you. Carpooling encouraged as parking is limited. Map.
OUTING #2: Saturday, October 26, 2019: 9:30-2:30PM
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 #3: Sunday, November 3, 2019: 9:00-4:00PM
EXTENDED EXPLORATION: South Fork Park
On this outing we will be taking the bus to explore a new park along the banks of the South Fork Nooksack River. The South Fork is called Nuxw7íyem ("always-clear water") in the language of the Nooksack people, referencing a critical habitat element for salmon that this river has historically been able to provide. In recent years the South Fork has been the focus of some intensive habitat restoration and preservation, so if we’re lucky we’ll see the fruits of those efforts in the form of spawning salmon. We will take time to honor the salmon and the work done for them here, as well as practice some of our Earth Skills, play games, and explore this new place. We may even have the opportunity to see sign of the Nooksack Elk Herd!
Directions: From I-5 take exit 250. Turn west onto Old Fairhaven Pkwy for .5 of a mile. Turn right onto 24th St for .3 of a mile. Turn right onto McKenzie Ave for .2 of a mile to Cascades Montessori Middle School. Map.
OUTING #4: Sunday, December 8, 2019:10:00-3:00PM
EXPLORATION: Introduction to Fire by Friction, North Chuckanut Mountain
The trail network on North Chuckanut Mountain leads hikers through groves of alders and maples, to waterfalls and streams and lakes with names that evoke remote wilderness, despite being right in Bellingham’s backyard. This expansive mountain forest is the perfect place for us to start learning a very powerful skill: making fire by friction. This is a challenging skill with lots of lessons - we will need to Grasp the Nettle, Aim Beyond the Target, and remember that Slow is Fast if we hope to create fire from nothing but sticks and string.
Directions: From Fairhaven head south on Chuckanut Dr. for 1.3 miles. Just past the intersection with Old Samish there will be a parking lot on your left with a sign saying North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead. Map.
OUTING #5: Saturday, January 11, 2020: 10:00-4:00PM
EXTENDED EXPLORATION: Deming Eagle Park
We’ll take a Wild Whatcom bus to this nature preserve on the banks of the Nooksack River. This former dairy farm is now a prime spot to view an animal drama fit for a nature documentary: dozens of bald eagles fighting over salmon carcasses left over from spawning. We’re sure to spend lots of time observing these majestic creatures, but we can also do some tracking on the silty river deposits, continue practicing fire by friction, and play lots of games.
Directions: From I-5 take exit 250. Turn west onto Old Fairhaven Pkwy for .5 of a mile. Turn right onto 24th St for .3 of a mile. Turn right onto McKenzie Ave for .2 of a mile to Cascades Montessori Middle school. Map.
OUTING #6: Sunday, February 2, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM
EXPLORATION: Lookout Mountain
Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve is roughly 370 acres that house the headwaters of Austin and Beaver Creeks. Lookout Mountain is one of our most expansive, close-to-town wild spaces. It provides fantastic habitat for deer, bear, bobcat and even our most elusive wild cat - cougar. Together we'll explore the on and off-trail spaces that this preserve has to offer, including a 2.2-mile loop, viewpoint trail that offers stunning vistas of Lake Whatcom, a waterfall loop, and an 8-mile service road that climbs the flanks of Lookout Mountain.
Directions: 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. Click here for the Google Map Destination.
OUTING #7: Sunday, March 15, 2020: 9:00-2:00PM
SERVICE: Restoration Sites: Connelly Creek Nature Area and Happy Valley Park
OUTING #8: Saturday, April 25, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM
EXPLORATION: Maple Blossom Fritters, North Lake Whatcom
On this outing, we will head out to North Lake Whatcom to practice a few skills at the same time, and we will get to enjoy some tasty Maple Blossom Fritters. After we gather some big leaf maple blossoms (Art of Harvest), we will use backcountry cooking stoves (Art of Fire, Expeditionary Behavior) to prepare this wild food in a sweet way. Don’t worry, the mentors will have plenty of powdered sugar for this process. In addition to enjoying some wild edibles, where we choose to go will depend on the group Collaborating and Compromising to decide how to spend our time. Will we head out along the lakeside trail or choose to gain elevation on the flanks of Stewart Mountain on the Chanterelle Trail.
Directions: From downtown, take Cornwall Ave. north for 1 mile. Turn right onto Alabama St. and drive for 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Northshore Dr. and follow it for 7.2 miles. Turn left onto Northshore Rd. The trailhead will be in your left in 0.5 miles. Map.
OUTING #9: Sunday, May 17, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM
EXPLORATION: Nettle Cordage, Clayton Beach (via Lost Lake Parking Lot)
To bring our year full circle, we’ll end where we began. The fresh nettle we harvested and processed at the beginning of the year are now dried, cured, and ready to be twisted into strong and durable rope. What this cordage can be used for is up to the Explorers’ imagination! We hope that this process of creating something from the woods from harvest to finished product will be a powerful experience of discipline, mindfulness, accomplishment, and direct tangible connection to nature - and in tandem with our usual routine of free exploration and games, a perfect way to round out our penultimate year in Explorers Club.
Directions: Drive South on Chuckanut Drive from Fairhaven, for 5.5 miles. The Lost Lake parking lot is a short distance past the main Larrabee State Park entrance, on the left hand side. Map.