Author Archives: nickengelfried

About nickengelfried

I'm a writer, naturalist, educator, and activist.

Get Outside With Reconnect Earth This Fall!

Reconnect Earth is once again leading day hikes–geared especially for college students or folks of college age–to natural areas in and around Bellingham in Fall 2021. Learn more and sign up to join a trip below!

Fall Hike to Lost Lake

Experience autumn and the changing of the seasons on a hike to Lost Lake on Chuckanut Mountain. A secluded body of water surrounded by dense forest, Lost Lake is only several miles from central Bellingham but feels like it could be in a remote wild area. After meeting at North Chuckanut Trailhead, we’ll follow the Hemlock and Lost Lake trails to the lake itself, pausing to enjoy the colorful leaves, fall mushrooms, and whatever other plants and animals we find along the way. We’ll also stop for a discussion or two about the landscape through which we’re traveling and our role as humans in the ecosystem.

When: Sunday, October 10, 11:00am – 5:00pm*

Location: Meet at the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead (a 10 minute drive or 15 minute bike ride from WWU).

What to bring: A full water bottle, lunch, sturdy shoes, and a rain jacket in case of wet weather.

Difficulty level: Moderately challenging (includes a long, gradual climb uphill on the hike in to the lake).

Suggested donation: $10. Register


Search for Migrating Salmon

Witness one of the most iconic wildlife spectacles in our region: the return of migrating salmon to their ancestral spawning grounds. We’ll follow Chuckanut Creek through Arroyo Park–and if we’re lucky, we’ll get to see these big, powerful fish up close. We will also take a break for a conversation about the Indigenous history of what is now Northwest Washington, and Indigenous uses of the salmon that have provided food for people since time immemorial.

When: Saturday, November 13th, 1:00pm – 4:00pm*

Location: Meet at the Arroyo Park parking area off Old Samish Road (a 10 minute drive or 15 minute bike ride from WWU).

What to bring: A full water bottle and clothing that will keep you warm and dry. Sturdy shoes recommended.

Difficulty level: Easy (slight uphills and downhills; potentially wheelchair accessible, though not ADA-approved).

Suggested donation: $10. Register


Hike Around Lake Padden

The forest and lake edges of Bellingham’s Lake Padden are home to giant trees, scenic views, and some of the best bird watching sites in the area. We will follow the trail that circles the lake, taking time to admire mushrooms growing on fallen logs, ducks and other water birds foraging in the shallows, and perhaps a salamander or two on the trail. We’ll also have time to pause and discuss how our interactions with nature shape our day-to-day lives and the ways in which we experience the world around us.

When: Saturday, December 4th, 11:00am – 3:00pm*

Location: Meet at the Lake Padden Park East Entrance off of Samish Way (a 10 minute drive or 25 minute bike ride from WWU; also accessible via the 533 bus).

What to bring: A full water bottle, lunch, sturdy shoes, and clothing that will keep you warm and dry.

Difficulty level: Moderate (trail is relatively level with some short uphill stretches).

Suggested donation: $10. Register

COVID note:
Reconnect Earth strives to follow health authority recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19. To help keep all participants on our trips safe, please keep in mind the following:

-By choosing to come on the trip you are attesting that you have not recently experienced signs or symptoms of COVID-19 not attributable to other causes. Signs and symptoms include dry cough, chills, congestion/runny nose, unusual fatigue, sore throat, muscle/body aches, nausea/vomiting, shortness of breath not caused by exercise, persistent new diarrhea, and new loss of taste or smell. Please stay home if you’ve had any of these in the last 48 hours.

-We’ll be working to follow the latest recommendations and mandates around social distancing and mask wearing outside. Please bring a face mask in case it is necessary to use one.

Summer 2021: Reconnect Earth Returns to the Field!

Reconnect Earth recently wrapped up a busy summer, our first in the field since COVID-19 put a temporary stop to our activities in 2020. This year, with new COVID safety precautions in place, we were able to return to the field and run two nine-day backpacking trips in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, as planned.

College students and recent college graduates from throughout the Greater Northwest region–and beyond–joined our trips in July and August, during which we hiked through subalpine meadows, climbed to the base of a huge alpine glacier, experienced ancient old-growth forests, and much more. Along the way we had many discussions about environmental issues, social justice, and grassroots activism skills, exploring how to activate our potential as agents of positive change in our communities.

To learn more about our successful Summer 2021 trips, check out our season impact report here. Also stay tuned for more opportunities with Reconnect Earth as we head into the school year–and in the meantime, check out the photos below from the summer!

Photo by Jo Butenhoff
Photo by Ryann Burton
Photo by Nicole Weeks
Photo by Ryann Burton
Photo by Reconnect Earth
Photo by Reconnect Earth
Photo by Reconnect Earth
Photo by Ryann Burton

Raising Your Voice for Change: An Earth Week Event With Reconnect Earth

Do you want to make your voice heard on current environmental or social justice issues? Are you unsure how communicate your opinion to the elected officials who represent you? Would you like to craft a message that’s powerful, persuasive, and designed for maximum impact? If you answered yes to any of these questions, join Reconnect Earth on Tuesday, April 20th from 6:00-7:30pm PST for Raising Your Voice for Change, a virtual event to help you become a more effective advocate.

Register here to get the event Zoom link.

Modern technology makes communicating with elected officials easier than ever–but doing so in a way that has real, lasting impact is more challenging. In this event, we’ll go over different ways to contact your representatives, how to make your message stand out, and how to harness your personal story to leave a lasting impression. We’ll also talk about other upcoming opportunities to develop activism skills with Reconnect Earth.

Sign up here for Raising Your Voice for Change, and we’ll send you the Zoom link to join. This is a free event and you only need access to a computer with internet to participate.

Students: Join Us In The North Cascades This Summer!

In Summer 2021, join Reconnect Earth for an experience you’ll never forget: nine days backpacking and camping on Mount Baker in the North Cascades while learning about ecology, human and natural history, and grassroots social change. Hike through ancient old-growth forests, sleep in a beautiful subalpine meadows, and climb to the base of a giant glacier while exploring how to harness your potential as an agent of positive social and environmental change.

Apply here to join a summer trip in 2021

For a preview of questions you’ll be asked to answer on the application form, see here.

Reconnect Earth’s summer trips are designed for college students and young folks of roughly college age (defined as approximately 18-29). Older and younger applicants may both be considered on a case-by-case basis.

We’re offering trips during two sets of dates in 2021: July 17th-25th and August 14th-22nd. When you fill out the application, you will be able to indicate which trip you would like to join.

Thanks to our low overhead and generous donors, we can offer our trips at a significantly lower price than many similar programs. Tuition for our 2021 summer trips is $575, with partial scholarships covering up to more than 80% of the regular price available to those for whom the regular tuition is a genuine financial barrier (you’ll also have the chance to request a scholarship during the application process).

Apply to join a Summer 2021 trip

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“I started the trip surrounded by people I didn’t know and ended with close friends whose friendships I will cherish for the rest of my life.” – Samara, June 2019 trip participant.

Currently, both our July and August trips are full. If you would like to be added to the waitlist please fill out the trip application form here and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Still have questions? Check out our FAQs page and our COVID safety policies page. You can also email questions to

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