Whatcom READS 2022 – Read the book, join the conversation

Since our beginning in 1986, North Cascades Institute has incorporated the arts in to our programs in service of our conservation mission. Writing, painting, poetry, literature, photography and other creative approaches have always been important ways of interpreting and engaging with the world around us, and necessary compliments to scientific ways of understanding. So we’re thrilled to be a partner in the Whatcom READS campaign in 2022!

On Sunday January 23, we are hosting a free “Draw and Paint Trees” Watercolor Workshop with Molly Hashimoto at Village Books, and are collaborating with the organizers to help create a field guide to our local forests and self-guided activities to get young people outside learning more about our sylvan friends.

Whatcom READS celebrates reading, readers and strong communities through the shared experience of one book. In the program’s 14th season, we are reading and discussing the generational saga Greenwood by Canadian author Michael Christie. With trees as a guiding metaphor, Greenwood charts a family’s rise and fall and the “hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.”

Set in the Pacific Northwest, Greenwood opens in the near future in one of the last surviving old growth forests. The narrative skillfully navigates a cross section of generations, themes and times. As author Michael Christie peels back those layers, he exposes the heartwood of what it means to struggle, survive and thrive; in essence, what it means to be human.

Michael Christie’s work has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, the author divides his time between Victoria and Galiano Island, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and two sons in a timber-frame house that he built.

Visit whatcomreads.org to learn more about Greenwood and the free community programs that enrich the reading experience. Whatcom READS is presented by all the public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County and community partner Village Books. Borrow Greenwood as a book, eBook, or audiobook from the library or purchase it from Village Books, which donates 10 percent of each sale to Whatcom READS.

Community events inspired by the 2022 Whatcom READS selection Greenwood

Most programs are online. On-site events have limited participation. Pre-registration is required. Find more information and register at whatcomreads.org.


  • Climate Fiction and Climate Change Literature
    Professor Stephen Siperstein will explore how climate change literature, and particularly climate change fiction (also known as cli-fi), can be a source of radical hope in our burning world.
    ONLINE, 11 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Jan. 22


  • Draw and Paint Trees Watercolor Workshop with Molly Hashimoto
    Join Molly to discover methods for quick-sketching and painting trees in this hands-on workshop. We’ll use pencils, pens, water-soluble drawing materials and watercolor to create sketches and fun portraits of some of our iconic northwest species like western redcedar, Douglas firs, mountain hemlocks and subalpine firs.
    Village Books, Jan. 23 4-5:30
    THIS EVENT IS FULL. If you would like to be placed on waiting list, please email events@villagebooks.com.


  • Wood Songs
    Local luthier Devin Champlin discusses musical instrument making and the treasured woods that are used in the craft.
    ONLINE, 7-8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 27


  • Tapping Bigleaf Maples for Syrup: How the Impossible Became Possible
    Some of the rarest and tastiest maple syrup is tapped right here in Whatcom County — sustainably! Hear this Acme farm’s history — and future plans — from owner Neil McLeod and others during an intriguing on-site tour. Space is limited; pre-registration is required.
    11 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Jan. 29


  • Poetry reading with Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest
    Join Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest for a poetry reading focused on the themes in this year’s Whatcom Reads selection, Greenwood.
    ONLINE, 7-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 3


  • Intersectional Environmentalism: The Key to Fighting Racism and Climate Change
    Communities of color and low-income communities have carried the heaviest burden of environmental injustice, but these communities have been excluded from the conversations, including science policy and outdoor recreation. Scientist Emily Pinckney shares how to combat the racism embedded within the environmental movement, resulting in more impactful solutions for the planet.
    ONLINE, 7-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10


  • Introduction to Forest Bathing
    Join April Claxton for an introduction to Forest Bathing. This is a slow walk with guided exercises using our senses to connect to the forest. Most of our time together will be spent in silence at a local park. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required.
    10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Feb. 12 and Saturday, Feb. 19


  • A Million More Trees for Whatcom County? YES!
    In this interactive Q&A webinar with Executive Director Michael Feerer, you’ll learn the why, who, what, and where and how of Whatcom Million Trees Project’s exciting initiatives to plant one million trees in Whatcom County over the next five years.
    ONLINE, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17


  • The Woodstock Farm Story – and its Fruitful Future
    Discover the storied history of this wonderful 16-acre City of Bellingham waterfront park along Chuckanut Drive, and its orchard planting in-progress that will enhance local food resiliency while keeping the character of this special site.
    ONLINE, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 24


  • Author events with Michael Christie
    The author visits Whatcom County to discuss the book and his creative process. Event details and locations at www.whatcomreads.org.
    Deming Library, Bellewood Acres, WWU, Mt. Baker Theater and more, March 3-5, pre-registration required for some events

Find more information and register at whatcomreads.org.

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