On behalf of Recreation Northwest, I would like to Give Thanks and acknowledge the community of support we have experienced this past year. We value and Thank YOU as our constituency reading our news, staying engaged, and supporting our work.
First, we acknowledge that the City of Bellingham is situated on the ancestral and traditional homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, whose tribal treaty rights we support and for whose enduring care of the lands and waters we are deeply grateful. The lands on which we live and fulfill our mission to “promote outdoor recreation and bring people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play.”
In 2021, we were excited to be able to enlist the help of Our Volunteers to support our stewardship efforts in Fairhaven Park. Thanks to our partners at Phillips 66, Wild Whatcom, and Bellingham Parks for contributing to the success of our project. Dig into the details in Caleb’s article: Giving Thanks to our Volunteers.
As I am often heard saying, “It’s all who you know!”. We are grateful for our relationships with our primary community partners. Working with staff from Bellingham Parks over the past year, we have helped our community in the master planning process in the 100 Acre Woods and brought attention and activity to Woodstock Farm. The faculty in WWU’s Recreation Management & Leadership department continue to work with us to integrate our Parkscriptions philosophy into their curriculum while we support the students with internships and practical experiences. Our partnership with Bellingham Tourism continues to be fruitful for getting publicity throughout the region promoting our new efforts. Our latest collaboration with select members of the Whatcom Coalition for Environmental Education (WCEE) is setting the stage for creation of an “outdoor classroom” in our adopted section of Fairhaven Park.
Yes, an “outdoor classroom”. We are fortunate to have Coreen Schmidt, a professional landscape architect, donating her time to help us conceptualize and visualize our project. We are working to transform a former blackberry patch into a safe public space for people to enjoy the outdoors and be in nature. Working with a focus group of WCEE members who use Fairhaven Park for environmental education, we are determining the best use of the space for the outdoor community. We plan to be working on this project by next Spring.
Survival. As we made our “Pandemic Pivot” through 2021, we are grateful for the financial support that we have received from our individual donors, especially our “Angel Donor” who provided us the ability to shift into new programming and contributed a generous amount to our friends at Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition. Here’s the Press Release if you missed the Big News. We also thank our business partners at Gear AID and Puget Sound Energy for their faith and support in our evolving work.
For support through the challenging and changing times, we have looked to our volunteer Board of Directors for guidance and support. Thank you to our leadership: President – Andrew Olive, Coastal Insurance; Vice-President – Kristi Kucera, Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures; Treasurer – Linda Balfour, Superfeet; Secretary – Jack Pflueger, Entrepreneur; Past President – Brian Roche, Gear Aid. We have recently added Dr. Greg Anderson, Family Care Network and Dr. Jasmine Goodnow, WWU Recreation and Management Leadership.
As the “Captain of the Ship”, I am personally thankful for Our CREW working with us throughout the year. The addition of Caleb Savage and Jackie Smith were timely additions to our staff to help support our shift into Outdoor Recreation and Nature Education programs and experiences. We are looking forward to working with our community in the year ahead. I am proud to be able to serve as Executive Director.
Todd Elsworth, Executive Director
p.s. – We would be thankful for your support Giving Tuesday on November 30th.
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.