Explorers Club

Welcome to Explorers Club (EC)! We are excited for another beautiful, bountiful year. 

Our Cup Overflows and we are humbled to have so much enthusiasm and support from our EC families and the greater local community. Your support is what enables us to help guide our Explorers in their journey towards becoming connected and caring community members - individually, socially, and ecologically.

We are excited to announce our new teen EC program, Wayfinder, for all genders in grades 9-12. Wayfinder is an updated version of our Four Shields program - giving teens an opportunity to continue their involvement with Wild Whatcom past their graduation from EC. The Wayfinder program gives EC graduates the opportunity to further their explorations in all gender groups. We’ll spend our outings rambling from the majestic North Cascades foothills to the shimmering waters of the Salish Sea.

We are working to craft outings for all groups that match participants' developmental stages, group needs, and much more. We've designed explorations and service projects for EC groups that meet our mission of connecting kids with themselves, one another, the community, and the natural world, with an on-going mentorship model that ensures caring and conscientious guidance of each participant. Know that we are committed to growth that is steady, rooted, and sustainable, retaining the breadth and depth of authentic connections and joyful explorations we've been facilitating since 2004.

We embrace and endeavor to embody the Wild Whatcom mottos in our lives each day. We're honored to mentor and be mentored by your children! Thank you for supporting our mission of meaningful, authentic connection between people and planet. YOU are the program!

Feel free to contact us with any program questions or feedback. We are always learning and look forward to anything you think will help strengthen our community!

Explorers Club Mentoring Team


2019-20 Season Info

Registration is now open for our 2019-20 season which runs September-June and includes nine outings over the course of the academic year for EC groups in grades 2-8 and six times for our new Wayfinder teen program. Individual group schedules can be found on the left sidebar.

Tuition Price Levels: Please select the highest feasible level based on your financial situation. We do this in an effort to reduce financial barriers, while also trying to cover program costs. Tuition level choices are treated confidentially. If you are able, please consider making an additional donation to help low income participants. 

Level 1: $650/season

Level 2: $600/season

Level 3: $550/season (Applying for financial assistance? Please select Level 3).

Payment Schedule (if needed):

  • Full payment or $55 (non-refundable) deposit due at registration.

  • Minimum 50% of program cost paid by September 1.

  • Final program payments due December 1.

We accept cash, check/e-check or credit/debit cards and offer payment plans. See details when registering. Please review our Cancellation and Refund Policy.

For registration or online account questions, email Registrar & Administrative Coordinator, Lisa Meucci: lisa@wildwhatcom.org.

Outing dates, times, and locations for all groups subject to change.


Fall Gathering

Our annual fall gathering is Thursday, September 5, 2019 from 5:30-7:00PM. Join us at Lake Padden Park (East Entrance) near the playground/ball fields.


Service Sites - Connelly Creek NAture Area & Happy Valley Park

In partnership with the City of Bellingham Parks & Recreation Department, Wild Whatcom has been granted the opportunity to provide service at two locations: Connelly Creek Nature Area and Happy Valley Park. Twice each year, Explorers of all ages come together to roll up their sleeves and give back to their community through environmental stewardship, habitat restoration, and place-based education, watching these outdoor spaces grow, change, and improve over their years in EC.

If you had visited Connelly Creek Nature Area five or more years ago, you wouldn't have recognized it as the lush haven for native plants and animals that it is today. This site has changed dramatically in the years EC groups have worked to restore the balance of native plant-life in the area. Historically, salmon have spawned in this Padden Creek tributary. However, due to human impact, the stream has become unsuitable for salmon spawning. Through our restoration efforts, including the replacement of invasive Himalayan blackberries and reed canary grass with native Sitka spruce, snowberry, red alder, Pacific ninebark and red osier dogwood (just to name a few!), we are working to make this stream cold, clean, and clear so that salmon can one day spawn again in Connelly Creek. This site has allowed countless explorers to witness the long term commitment and effort that it takes to rehabilitate a piece of impacted land while at the same time providing a starting point for conversations about ethical/sustainable harvest and Leave No Trace (TM) principles.

Take a moment to track the history and view photos of this amazing site. With the help of City of Bellingham Parks & Recreation Department and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) we are making a real and positive impact on the land.

Happy Valley Park is a newer, small park in the Happy Valley neighborhood.


Explorers Mentor Apprentice (EMA)

The Explorers Mentor Apprentice (EMA) program is for Explorers Club members in their last two seasons and Wayfinder members who are interested in working with younger Explorers Club members.

The goal of the EMA program is to encourage older Explorers Club members to seek their unique style of leadership, create meaningful relationships with younger Explorers, and tangibly reflect upon the process.

EMAs are introduced to mentoring techniques such as:

  • Leading from behind

  • Risk assessment

  • Skill sharing

  • Game facilitation

  • Group leadership

  • Interpreting needs

For questions about the EMA program, contact explorersclub@wildwhatcom.org


Reminders - IMPORTANT!

  • Please read through all of this season’s program content on your group page. It contains important information for you and your child.

  • Please read over the Be Prepared Checklist with your explorer. Have them pack their own backpack!

  • Be Prepared! Proper clothing and outer wear, enough food and water, and a big enough backpack go a long way in make for a fun and safe outing.

  • We strive to be on time for pick-up, but explorations can get the best of us. Please allow for a little wiggle room if we are a few minutes late.

  • Explorations can be DIRTY! Consider having an old towel and a sheet of plastic in the car.


Missed and Make Up Days

From experience, we know that Explorers Club groups who prioritize attendance offer a much richer experience for each participant. We hope that, amidst the busy schedules of today, you will help your child prioritize getting outside with Explorers Club!

We also understand that life is unpredictable and family emergencies, illness, and other critical events occur. If your child cannot attend an outing with their group, you can try to schedule a make-up day with another group by contacting your group mentor. With nearly all of our groups running at capacity, make-ups are often difficult to arrange. We cannot guarantee an alternative spot and we will prioritize those needed due to sickness and emergencies. Typically we aren't able to grant make-up days for conflicts with other extracurricular or social activities.

If your child will be missing an outing, please take the time to let your group coordinator know via email or phone as soon as possible. Unanticipated absences affect our commitments to service providers and to one another and it is super helpful to know in advance. Thank you!

Read more on our Policies page.


Resources

  • Mottos

  • Be Prepared Checklist

  • Skills Progression

  • Knife Safety & Usage. Explorers 9+ should watch this video. Not all groups will be involved in the Art of Carving, but it's still good to see the basics. For older kids, it's always good to review safety and practice using your knife mindfully.

  • Loaner gear and/or clothing may be available. Email your group coordinator if you have clothing or gear needs. Have items to donate? Feel free to give to a mentor at any outing. Your contributions benefit others – thank you!


Questions

Stormie Romero, Explorers Club (EC) Program Manager: explorersclub@wildwhatcom.org

Jasmine Vilar, Wayfinder Teen Program: jasmine@wildwhatcom.org