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PIKAS

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. Last minute requests often cannot be met. 

In response to parent feedback, we did our best to set an entire year of Explorers Club outings months earlier than previous years. 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 (and print if needed) the Be Prepared Checklist when getting ready for each Explorers Club outing. Wild Whatcom Mottos guide much of our program so check them out. Many families find them a useful resource to print and refer to. 


Mentor Contact Info:
Pikas 2018-19 Schedule 

Outing #1: Sunday, September 30, 2018: 10:00-3:00 PM
SKILLS: Fire by Friction # 1 at N. Lake Whatcom Park
Of all the ways to start a fire, fire by friction may be one of the most misrepresented in our media. It requires much more skill than rubbing sticks together! On this day, the group will begin to absorb the true skill and difficulty in making fire by using materials found in our natural environment. We will spend most of this outing harvesting materials and making bow drill kits. The Girls Explorers Club motto “Slow is Fast,” will be present for much of the day, as the Explorers learn the slow and steady nature of making their own tools. There may also be an opportunity to build a fire or have a stove on this day.

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 27, 2018: 10:00-4:00 PM 
EXPLORATION: Follow Whatcom Creek 
As salmon swim upstream, so we will be walking upstream on this urban exploration of salmon habits and habitat, following Whatcom Creek through downtown and into Whatcom Falls Park on an urban hike. We'll begin near the creek's mouth at Maritime Heritage Park and follow it through the city, discussing this waterway's history and human interface, asking lots of questions and making observations along the way. We'll consider how salmon swim and struggle, taking note of the challenges they face (and likely see and discuss some human struggle as well); play new trail games; caretake the streamside by picking up litter; harvest rosehips for Vitamin C honey; drink cocoa and nettle/licorice tea, and learn about the totem fish of our region. The girls will be navigators this day, managing the map and figuring out how to travel the creek through downtown. We look forward to sharing the fascinating history of "Whatcoom" ("The place of noisy waters")!

Directions: Please note that drop off and pick up locations are different. Drop off at Maritime Heritage Park, in front of the environmental learning center: 514 W Holly St. Mentors will be waiting and waving. Pick up at Whatcom Falls Park entrance off Lakeway, near the playground and fish hatchery

Outing #3: Sunday, November 18, 2018: 10:00-2:00 PM
Service: International Coastal Clean Up
We’ll join with many thousands of other volunteers around the globe to clean up the world’s beaches. During last year’s cleanup, over 400,000 people around the world removed nearly seven million pounds of debris from more than 17,000 miles of coasts, shorelines, and underwater sites (the total weight of the garbage collected matches the weight of 18 blue whales!). For our project, we’ll focus on the Nooksack River delta, where both river and sea wash up all kinds of debris and give back to a place that’s given many of us lots of joy. Please send your Explorer to this outing with gloves and waterproof shoes. Note: We're looking for a parent/child volunteer to take our (bagged) trash to the disposal facility near the airport. Last year it was 136 pounds (a truck or van best for this job). It really extends the learning experience to see where our trash goes – it's rather eye-opening and full of lessons. Let us know if you'd like to help with this!

Directions: To respect the privacy of the Campbell's, directions will be given in outing reminder email.

Outing #4: Saturday, December 8, 2018: 10:00-3:00 PM
SKILLS: Shelter Building and Art of Carving II in the 100 Acre Woods/Fairhaven Park
This is a season for following GEC traditions! Every group learns how to construct a basic forest shelter while they're in GEC, which is part of learning basic earth skills to survive and thrive. We'll gather at the Hundred Acre Wood and talk about why shelter is so important, then spend the day learning techniques and skills, borrowing what the forest provides to construct debris huts. Dress warmly, but also expect to warm up during the building process.

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 #5: Saturday, January 26, 2019: 9:30-2:30 PM
SKILLS: Fire by Friction #2 at Larrabee State Park
For many thousands of years, the skill of fire building was passed on from elder to youth. Over time, the young people grew in skill to become masters themselves. While we won't achieve fire building mastery on this day, we will certainly continue to hone our skills. Working off of our two previous lessons on tinder bundle collection and fire-kit creation, we will take the knowledge that we have learned and see if we can't make some fire. We'll also do some leadership activities, play games, and leave lots of time for free exploration as well!

Directions: From I-5 N, take exit 250 for Old Fairhaven Pkwy and turn west onto Old Fairhaven Pkwy. Follow Old Fairhaven Parkway toward Fairhaven and turn L on 12th St./Chuckanut Drive. Drive south on Chuckanut Dr. for 5 miles. Turn R into Larrabee State Park. Follow the road to the left and meet in the day use parking. NOTE: WASHINGTON STATE REQUIRES A DISCOVERY PASS FOR PARKING. To avoid a ticket, stay with your car. Click here for the Google Map location.

**Saturday, March 2, 2019: Rocks & Talks at Semiahmoo CANCELED AND RESCHEDULED to April 27th**

Outing #6: Sunday, March 24, 2019: 9:00-1:00 PM 
SERVICE: Woodstock Farm
For years, the Girls Explorers Club has been interested in adopting a site, with the hopes that each girl will get to watch an outdoor space grow, change, and improve over her years in GEC. The GEC has kindly been granted Woodstock Farm as our space for service-- a quintessential Bellingham landmark, full of a rich human and non-human history! We'll spend our time removing invasive species for the first few seasons, and move into other work as our site develops. All explorers should come prepared on these days with a pair of work gloves.

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 #7: Sunday, April 14: 10:00-3:00 PM **Rescheduled from 4/27/19**
EXPLORATION: Squire's Lake
Spring has sprung at Squires Lake! The Pikas will head off onto our trusty bus, heading south to this 80-acre park with a beautiful lake, stinky skunk cabbage, active beaver pond, and plenty of other wildlife. We’ll find out how this land was preserved for all to enjoy, search for signs of beaver,7and learn about the wetland habitats beavers create. We will also spend some time intentionally checking in together as a group, doing some team-bonding activities, and working towards creating a new team name. Thus far, the Pikas have proved the EC motto Fast is Slow, and Slow is Fast in their search for a team name. Their skills in collaborating and compromise have proved invaluable as they traverse this very rare opportunity. We cannot wait to see what name they decide and where this outing will take them.

Directions: Head south on I-5 to exit 242 (Nulle Road). Turn left, heading east off the exit towards Old Highway 99 to the parking lot for the Squires Lake Trailhead. You'll find mentors waiting at waving at 170 Old Hwy 99 N.

Outing #8: Saturday, April 27: 10:00-4:00 PM  **Rescheduled from 3/2/19**
EXPLORATION/SKILLS: Rocks, Talks, and the Geography of Life at Semiahmoo
Semiahmoo is the northwest edge of Whatcom County and the United States. We'll spend the day practicing our fire building skills and exploring this site that has seen human habitation for thousands of years. This spit divides ocean currents of the Straits of Georgia and the calm waters of Drayton Harbor are where many fish, birds, and mammals meet. We’ll discover who has called Semiahmoo home in the past and present and take in spectacular views of East Whatcom’s wonders: the snow-capped North Cascades.

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

Outing #9: Saturday, May 18, 2019: 9:00-3:30 PM 
EXPLORATION/SKILLS: Team Building at North Fork Nooksack Natural Research Area
For their last outing of the season, the Pikas will be adventuring to one of Whatcom County's best-kept secrets. Right before mile marker 44 on the Mt Baker Highway stands a 1,400-acre forest that was set aside in 1937 and has never been logged. We will find ourselves in a cathedral of 700-plus-year-old western red cedars, Douglas firs, and western hemlocks, many of them with trunks 8 to 10 feet in diameter. While in this sacred place, we will spend time wandering amongst these ancient giants, learning about the different stages of forest growth, and talking about the role of logging in the history of Bellingham.

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