OUR Approach

"Wild Whatcom inspires people of all ages to love and care for the earth. At the heart of Wild Whatcom is joy! "                           –Parent, Wild Whatcom Participant   

Naturalist Knowledge, Adventure, Stewardship, and Service

Wild Whatcom connects kids to nature in lasting and meaningful ways, developing engaged youth who care about the earth and know how to lead collaboratively towards positive change.

Goals

  • Awaken and strengthen in youth a profound connection to the natural world
  • Reinforce character traits that cultivate healthy relationships with self, others, and the earth
  • Instill an enduring ethic of service to the community
  • Have fun outside!

Approach

Outdoor explorations are structured yet flexible - nature provides spontaneous and important lessons that inspire learning in the moment. We utilize the power of play, learning to be "here and now," and innate curiosity to catalyze a love of nature.

Teaching methods are child-led and Socratic in nature. We use Coyote Mentoring techniques: answering questions with prompts to inspire reflection and personal discovery. Opportunities for real life problem-solving occur every time we're together. Challenges become collaborative possibilities.

Service projects are a means to discover the joy in giving – to learn first-hand that to give is to receive – and to expand young people’s awareness of how many ways they can make a difference in their community.

Activities are expansive and fun. At Wild Whatcom we play games, ask questions, clamber over rocks (and look under them), wonder at the habits of fungi, spend quiet time on our own, hike, create poetry, laugh at the rain, build shelters, follow streams, challenge ourselves, help out, make friends, and get dirty!

Outcomes

During our outdoor adventures, kids build naturalist knowledge and skills:

  • “Knowing your neighbors” through identification of plants, trees, rocks, fungi, tracks, birds, mammals, and anything else nature reveals
  •  Putting knowledge into practice for safety and preparedness
  •  Understanding patterns and process in nature
  •  Discovering the myriad connections that exist between all things

Wild Whatcom mentors guide from behind, allowing youth to discover and strengthen their own capacities, making leaders out of learners and fostering key life skills:

  • Self-knowledge and reflection
  • Trust-building and empathy
  • Authentic communication and leadership skills
  • Curiosity and openness to new ideas
  • Understanding group dynamics and how to collaborate
  • Confidence in one's capacity to change things for the better
  • Resiliency and resourcefulness
  • A caretaker attitude toward our planet and community