What a Summer. Fall is here. While it feels like summer weather outside this week, the seasons have shifted, and we are trying to get back into our “normal” work/school routines. For those of you who read our newsletter or follow us on our social media channels, you may notice that we have been relatively quiet over the past few months of summer.
Yes, everything is okay here at Recreation Northwest. Our staff have been working on deserving projects, new endeavors, and have been enjoying time outdoors with friends and family. Now our kids are back at school and we’re wrapping up another year. See below for our updates and other interesting information.
In October’s Confluence:
Try and Try Again – Offering Outdoor Experiences through our Pandemic Pivot
Parkscriptions Updates – Parks RX State Task Force & Options High School
Fairhaven Park New Project Interpretive Signs & OUTDOOR CLASSROOM
Passenger Van FOR SALE
Winter Coat Drive
Action Alert – A Quickie!
Try and Try Again.
Offering Outdoor Experiences through our Pandemic Pivot
Over the past two summers as part of our “Pandemic Pivot” creating Outdoor Recreation Experiences for the public, we really thought that we were on to “something”. To our deep disappointment, it didn’t stick. There are many factors to consider and our “product” and timing were just not right- yet. After two summers of full calendars of offerings, we have pulled the plug on offering these for the public.
We would like to give a BIG SHOUTS OUT – Thank you to the following partners that worked with us to create new outdoor experiences for people and believing in our goals and objectives.
Bellingham Parks & Recreation– Working with Parks staff, we tried to activate our local parks and wooded areas. Our primary interest was elevating Woodstock Farm as a destination and working to create programming for the public. Working with Melissa Bianconi, we created a full calendar of outdoor recreation and nature experiences in our local Bellingham Parks. We appreciate the partnership and the support all staff provide our organization and community.
Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism– Sandy Ward, Director, was very supportive of our creating a new tourism product, here in Bellingham. Amy Guerra, former Marketing Director, worked closely with us. It was through Amy’s work that we were featured on KING TV 5’s Evening leading a bike ride out to Woodstock Farm. Todd also had the opportunity to lead Rick Steves on a brief tour of Whatcom Falls Park and was included in the promotional tourism video. We appreciated the support of Tourism staff as we tried out this “new thing” of experiences. We also would like to congratulate Sandy on her retirement at the end of the year.
City of Bellingham Tourism Promotion Grant- Thank you to the City of Bellingham for the support that was provided to Recreation Northwest through the 2021 grant process. This funding enabled us to pay our local contractors to get the word out through our advertising agency- Swell.
Swell Media Solutions – Jen Irwin and her growing team worked with us to develop a positive and consistent message encouraging people to join us for one of our experiences that were complimented by a larger effort to educate the public about the health benefits of nature. They rock it so hard they won GOLD!!
Highwaters Media – John King has been our go to “web guy” for many moons. His responsiveness, casual demeanor, and capabilities are treasured. He built us a whole new booking platform and worked with us to create a pleasant experience for our online guests.
Katrina Lyon Design – Katrina has been helping us look great for years. She worked with us to create a new advertising campaign that we ran for the past two years. We are currently working on the final drafts of our Native Plant identification signs with her to be installed in Fairhaven Park.
Parks RX State Task Force
Elizabeth Nelson, our Director of Programs, completed her advisory role for the Washington State Parks Rx Task Force with Department of Health staff. This is the final Parks Rx Task Force Legislative Report (PDF). Recreation Northwest is listed as one of the Program Models on page 8. We thank Elizabeth for representing us and are proud to be able to provide this leadership to the state.
Parkscriptions at Options High School
We have formed a relationship with the Bellingham School District’s Options High School. Our Parkscriptions program will benefit 54 students, ages 14-15 and 17-18, teaching mindfulness and coping skills through nature based education during both Winter and Spring quarters during the 2022-2023 school year. Students are enrolled in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes.
The primary goal of the program is to improve students’ connection with nature. The mission of our relationship is to educate students on using positive coping skills through incorporating their five senses while in nature to learn about the natural environment, and what it means to be a steward. Together, we will support the development of students as they learn how to use the health benefits of nature to improve their emotional and behavioral health in tandem with becoming environmentally conscious, responsible, and productive citizens as aligned with the goals of the AVID classes.
Our Project’s Interpretive Signs
Repeat info- but now these are in the ground!! As partners with Bellingham Parks in our Fairhaven Park Trail & Wetland Boardwalk Project we are excited to reach our next milestone. The installation of our interpretive project signs in our stewardship area. Thank you Katrina Lyon for your design skills!
Our Outdoor Classroom project
Working with Bellingham Parks staff and local contractors, Recreation Northwest staff proposes to transform a former blackberry patch into an Outdoor Classroom that displays Native Plant & Invasive Species identification signs in the current Native Plant Garden area. The more recent clearing will be used to create an Amphitheater with public benches, a stone stage, and covered pavilion with access trails to both sides of the open space from the main Fairhaven Park & 18th Street Trail Connection we built together in November 2015. We have submitted our proposal to Bellingham Parks for review.
On June 14th, 2021, the City of Bellingham kicked off the Steering Committee meeting for the Master Planning process for the Chuckanut Community Forest (aka Hundred Acre Wood). I was invited to serve on the committee and shared our Outdoor Classroom concepts with Parks staff and the committee.
Throughout the course of the planning process and community engagement, the public interest and support for an outdoor learning space became evident. As a result of the wishes of the public, Recreation Northwest’s concept for an Outdoor Classroom was included in the final draft Master Planning document prepared by Bellingham Parks staff. On Monday, September 12th, 2022, Bellingham City Council approved the plan unanimously 7-0.
We look forward to sharing our concepts and making this all happen for our community.
Passenger Van FOR SALE
In our grand hopes to activate Woodstock Farm, we needed a Shuttle Van. We were fortunate enough to secure this 10 Passenger Sprinter Van (Craigslist link). We aren’t using it, so we’d like to SELL IT.
Winter Coat Drive
I just thought this is cool and that I’d share with you since you’re kind enough to read this…
Each year Interfaith Coalition of Whatcom County hosts the Winter Coat Drive for anyone in need of a better coat for the cold months in Whatcom County. The local nonprofit collects and distributes 1,400+ new and in-great-condition winter coats of all sizes for children, teens, and adults of any gender. Coats are donated by businesses, congregations, and individuals and everyone is invited to donate. The annual outreach program has become a highly anticipated event, both by donors and by recipients.
Just Do it- It will take you longer to read this than just signing on today!
Some context: The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) is our state’s largest public funding source for outdoor community projects. It provides matching funds to create new parks, protect wildlife habitat and preserve working lands.
The Coalition is the independent non-profit advocate for the WWRP and has successfully leveraged over $1.8 billion for more than 1,600 projects across our beautiful state. This funding creates not only parks and trails but also jobs, economic activity, and increased quality of life for all Washingtonians.
For nearly 30 years, the WWRP has been our state’s premier tool for habitat conservation and outdoor recreation opportunities. It is nationally recognized for its fair, objective, and independent funding process.
This is how you can help! Sign on today! From our friends at WWRP:
“Whatever you do outdoors, chances are, you’ve seen more people than ever joining you the last few years. More and more people are discovering the mental and physical benefits our great outdoors provide, especially during challenging times.
As our population grows, as more people get outside, we need to provide more opportunities for communities to access safe and welcoming outdoor areas. We need more trails, more parks, more picnic tables, more water access, and, quite frankly, more toilets!
But we also need to recognize the impacts that recreation has on our non-human neighbors. We need to protect and restore lands for the plants and animals who share these wild places with us. They must flourish, even as our populations grow, so our ecosystems remain healthy and vibrant.
That’s why we’re asking the Governor and Legislature to fully fund the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program—something we’ve never done before! The WWRP (part of the state capital budget) funds outdoor projects all across the state, from urban parks to habitat restoration, from mountain trails to working farms.
Sign on today!” ~ WWRP.
Thank you for reading. Please let me know if you have any questions or insights into our future or other programs or content you’d like to see.
About Recreation Northwest
At Recreation Northwest, we teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.
Together, we can help us all enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play.
Yes, we are asking for your help to enable us to achieve the bold goals that we have for the coming year.
Your contribution will allow us to connect our community outside.
Copyright © 2022 Recreation Northwest, All rights reserved.
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Our mailing address is:
Recreation NorthwestPO Box 2771
Bellingham, WA 98227-2771
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Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.