Whistling Marmots

2019-20 Season

Congratulations Whistling Marmots on completing your first 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 second year in Explorers Club, mentors look forward to the Marmots continuing to build on their team identity, their naturalist knowledge, and their connections with nature, each other, and self. The focus of our wilderness skills this season will be Collaborate and 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:


Whistling Marmots 2019-2020 Schedule


Outing #1: Sunday, September 15, 2019: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION: North Lake Whatcom

Lake Whatcom gives us lots of gifts, and on this day we'll experience many of them as we explore the North Lake Whatcom Trail. Girls' inspiration, mentors' teachings, and nature's surprises will direct our wanderings and pace. We'll revel in autumn leaves and lake, and learn about how these waters give to us and other creatures every day. Please remember to have your explorer pack a bathing suit, extra H2O, sunscreen, and closed toe watershoes.

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 #2: Saturday, October 26, 2019: 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 #3: Sunday, November 24, 2019: 10:00-2:30PM

EXPLORATION: Southeast Hundred Acre Woods

This southside forest has been prime exploring territory for many EC girls. On this misty autumn day, we'll seek shelter under the fir and cedar canopy, discovering hidden treasures in this 89-acre preserve. Nature games will keep us moving with laughter, and we'll no doubt learn that exploring and learning can be fun in any weather, as long as we're prepared!

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). GEC leaders will be waiting and waving!


Outing #4: Sunday, December 15, 2019: 10:00-2:00PM

SKILLS: Art of Navigation at the 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 earth 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.

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: Saturday, January 25, 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 common Girls Explorers Club nature-themed games, learn plenty of new ones, and perhaps come up with 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.

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 22, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

SKILLS: Art of Nature/Nature of Art at Whatcom Land Trust County Homestead

Following in the footsteps of the great natural artist Andy Goldsworthy, the team will be spending this winter day envisioning natural art installations in the forest and on the beach. We will gather dead, down, or brown leaves, flowers, branches, stones, and other natural materials along the trail, talk about concepts of beauty, perspective, and art, and each make our own, unique work of art. Some Explorers may choose to make mandalas, while others may build sculptures, and some may even use nettle cordage to create floating flower wreaths. There will be no wrongs or rights as we work together to create pieces of ephemeral, natural art.

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


Outing #7: Saturday, March 14, 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: Sunday, April 19, 2020: 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: Saturday, June 6, 2020: 10:00-3:00PM

EXPLORATION: Clark's Point

We'll learn about shorelines, geology, marine life and conservation in our explorations along this jut of land that remains pristine thanks to the Clark family. We'll clamber over sandstone boulders, discover what lives along the rocky edge and in blue-green tidepools, and likely get our feet in some mud! Then we'll head back up through a fir and cedar forest to sit in peaceful place with sweeping views of the San Juan Islands. We'll enjoy an outing in the transition time between day and dusk, and share our attitudes of gratitude for all this place offers and for the people that helped preserve it. Please remember to have your explorer pack a bathing suit, extra H2O, sunscreen, and closed toe watershoes.

Directions: Take Old Fairhaven Parkway west and go left onto 12th. At second light, take a slight right onto Hawthorne and then a left onto Fieldston Rd. You'll wind your way through a housing development until you reach the southern "end" (it continues as a driveway) for Fieldston Road. The trailhead is right past the intersection of Fieldston and Arbutus Pl. Carpooling necessary as there is no parking and a small turn-around in this neighborhood area.