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STINGING NETTLES

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:


Stinging Nettles 2018-19 Schedule
**Please note: This group meets nearly exclusively on Thursdays for the 2018-19 school year. However, some Saturday or Sundays outings are scheduled**

Outing #1: Thursday, September 20, 2018: 1:30-6:30 PM
SKILLS: Nettle Cordage
We’ll explore the forests near Fairhaven Park, looking for stinging nettle in her fall form: tall, strong, and regal, with strong stalks that make fiber and rope. We’ll gather the stalks, learn how to strip their outer fibers and dry them for cordage-making later. Other plants we may gather for cordage include cedar roots, thistle, willow, dock, and grasses. We'll also be exploring the changes autumn brings in nature and in our own life as we wind our way alongside the meandering Padden Creek. Please remember to have your explorer pack garden gloves!

Directions: Drop off and pick up at the upper shelter at Fairhaven Park. Turn into Fairhaven Park and drive straight up the hill through the park. The upper shelter will be on the right, after the tennis courts. Turn right to find mentors waiting and waving!

Outing #2: Thursday, October 18, 2018: 1:30-5:30 PM
SERVICE: Connelley Creek
On this day, Explorers will be volunteering with the Bellingham's Chore Program. The Chore Program provides volunteers to help Whatcom county's elderly and adults with functional disabilities remain independent in their own homes. The Volunteer Chore Program serves as a safety net for some 200+ Whatcom residents, helping those with limited resources. Girls Explorers Club has been partnering with the Chore Program for many years and now it is the Stinging Nettles' turn to lend a helping hand. We'll talk about the importance of maintaining multi-generational communities and the EC service ethos. Please remember to have your Explorer pack garden gloves as this day will be spent doing lots of yard work!

Directions: Meet at Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Avenue.

Outing #3: Thursday, November 15, 2018: 1:30-4:30 PM
EXPLORATION: E. Arroyo Salmon Journey
Exploring in Explorers Club means discovering new places and seldom-explored spots. On this day we'll meet parents in a different Arroyo park parking area and head east upstream, like the salmon, where few EC groups have gone before (summer explorers who have been this way can help guide our journey). Along the way, we'll remember our motto "It's The Journey, Not the Destination" as we discover nature's wonders along this hidden path. We'll consult our common sense, intuition, intentions, and the map as we learn about navigating trails, terrain, and group decision-making. This collaborative decision-making may even take us along a higher path to Chuckanut Falls, tucked away in the east canyon.

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: Thursday, December 6, 2018: 1:30-6:30 PM 
EXPLORATION: Stars and Stories at Sehome Arboretum
Get ready to embrace the night! The Stinging Nettles will explore and get to know the forest from dusk to dark, focusing our attention to the sky. We'll (weather depending) observe and identify constellations, reflect on the night sky and how people have related to it throughout time, and hear some stories from a variety of cultures about the infinite starry and planetary sphere above. Please have your daughter bring a headlamp (though we likely won't need it) and prepare for connection with the magic, mystery, and meaning of the night.

Directions: Pick up and Drop off at the WWU Wade King Recreation Center, 1880 Bill McDonald Parkway. Parents are welcome to park for free after 5pm in the WWU C-Lots, directly across the street from the Recreation Center. You'll see mentors waiting outside the front of the building!

Outing #5: Thursday, February 7, 2019: 1:30-5:30 PM
EXPLORATION: Winter Games Day at Faihaven Park
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: Thursday, March 7: 1:30-5:30 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: Thursday, March 28, 2019: 1:30-6:00 PM
SKILLS: Art of Navigation to Chuckanut Falls
Navigation is an essential skill to master when exploring. Whether you are out for a day or a week, on or off the trail, far away or close to home, knowing where you are and where you are going is essential. Eventually, the Explorers will be backpacking, and having a good grasp on the basic map and compass skills can make the difference between a great backcountry trip and a challenging one. But what happens when your map gets wet? Or your compass breaks? The skill of navigating without these aids is a practice in tracking the land and learning to use other tools. As the group winds its way to the Chuckanut Falls, the Art of Navigation will help us see the trail with fresh eyes and will lead us safely back again.

Directions: Drop off at North Chuckanut Mountain trailhead (just south of the Old Samish Highway turnoff & Chuckanut Bay Gallery, on the left side of Chuckanut Drive). 

Outing #8: Thursday, April 25: 1:30-6:30 PM
SKILLS: Art of Nature/Nature of Art at at Whatcom Land Trust County Homestead
**Please note that the pick up/drop off location for this outing has changed**
Following in the footsteps of the great natural artist Andy Goldsworthy, the team will be spending this glorious spring 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 #9: Thursday, May 16, 2019: 1:30-6:30
EXPLORATION/SKILLS: Larrabee Clayton Connector
Again, we'll put our motto "It's About the Journey, not the Destination" into practice as we wander from Larrabee Park to Clayton Beach on a little-known connector trail. We'll pass an area that Explorers girls have worked on for years, freeing native plants from invasive ivy and then revegetating with native plants; get great views of the Salish Sea from the rocky bluff; discover hidden waterfalls and more. We're not even likely to make it to Clayton Beach as we travel in the EC way, with naturalist's eyes.

Directions: **Please note that pick up and drop off are at different locations.** Drop off at the Larrabee State Park main parking area (near the bandstand). Pick up at the Clayton Beach parking lot (about 1/4 mile down the road from the Larrabee entrance, large parking lot on the left). Note that a Discover Pass is required if you park for any longer than a quick drop off.
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