Recommended Summer Reading List Picks

download-4The team of Reconnect Earth has put together a list of suggested readings for folks to continue their own personal quest for knowledge around social justice, the environment, activism, conservation work and many related intersectional topics. As always, we are constantly learning, reflecting and working on personal practice; leave a comment below and let us know what you find helpful or other resources we can help steer folks towards!

Suggested Summer Reading List (Books):

Race/Social Justice

(Please note, we have included links to these books available at Indigenous owned, Black owned businesses where possible – if you can support your local BIPOC owned businesses first and foremost, or your local library, please do so)

Written by Indigenous Authors Personal Narrative / Outdoor Experiences Activism  Suggested Instagram accounts to follow: 

Important COVID-19 Update

With the safety of our participants, staff, and the communities in which we operate in mind, Reconnect Earth has been carefully monitoring developments around COVID-19 in Washington State. Based on the recommendations of state and local authorities and health experts, we have concluded that unfortunately it is not safe to run our summer backpacking trips in 2020. While COVID-19 means we cannot run in-person programming for the time being, we are currently engaged in discussions about what a virtual programming option for the summer might look like. Stay tuned for more information soon! 

A Weekend of Activism on Padilla Bay

This past weekend was Reconnect Earth’s Student Activism Training Summit at Bay View State Park, two days of discussing important environmental and social justice issues, developing activism skills, and getting to know a truly beautiful part of the Salish Sea region. On Saturday morning eight of us carpooled from Bellingham to the State Park, which sits on the edge of Padilla Bay. Soon after arrival we gathered on the beach to orient ourselves to our place in the landscape. We discussed the unique ecology of Padilla Bay–which has estuary characteristics from when the mouth of the Skagit River flowed into before the course of the river was altered by human activity. And we educated ourselves about the history of nearby Indigenous peoples now living on the Swinomish Reservation, and who have inhabited this landscape since time immemorial.

Later on Saturday, in one of the cabins where we’d be spending the night we delved into one of the most important activist components of the trip: learning best practices for public outreach, communications, and event planning as they relate to putting on strong activist events. Whether planning a rally or educational event, we explored how to communicate with the public in ways that maximize of having a successful, well-attended event. On Sunday we followed this up with a discussion on how to influence elected officials or other decision-making officials through events that demonstrate public support while playing to your campaign’s strengths. During the course of our time together we also worked to identify ways of combating White supremacy and other forms of oppression in outdoor spaces, and participated in an activity that reminded us of the roots of our motivation as activists.

One of the highlights of the trip was on Sunday when we went for a hike along the edge of Padilla Bay itself. This part of Washington sits on a major bird migration route, where thousands of waterfowl who nest in Alaska or Canada wait out the winter before returning to those northern regions for breeding season. We spotted snow geese, swans, buffleheads, and two species of mergansers. Along with these waterfowl sightings came glimpses of raptors like northern harriers and majestic bald eagles.

Sunday in the late afternoon we headed back to Bellingham, ready to take action for a more just, sustainable Earth. Be on the lookout for other Reconnect Earth trips and activism opportunities coming up later this winter and spring!

Experiencing Bellingham’s Oldest Forest

This past Sunday Reconnect Earth set out on our last weekend day trip of the Fall 2019 season, a hike through Stimpson Forest Nature Reserve on the edge of Bellingham. This tract of land, part of the homeland of the Lummi Nation since time immemorial, is unique in that while some logging has occurred there over the past century it has never been completely clear-cut and some trees hundreds of years old are still standing as they have for centuries. The reserve has characteristics of an old growth forest including not just big trees, but abundant fallen woody debris, snags, and a multi-layered understory. It is truly a beautiful place.

We met at the trailhead, several of us having taken the 512 bus from downtown Bellingham that conveniently stops right across the street. We then followed a route that took us in a loop through forest cover of varying ages, including groves where the enormous, old Douglas-firs stand.

About halfway through the trip we stopped for a nature journaling and observation exercise designed to help sharpen our awareness of the landscape through which we were passing. This led to interesting discussions about what it means to be alert to the surroundings and how we perceive both the human and non-human elements of outdoor environments. As we practiced sketching and writing down observations, a deer made her own observations of our group while she nibbled on nearby shrubs.

Other highlights of the trip included spotting colorful mushrooms on the moist forest floor, hearing the sound of a Pacific chorus frog from a wetland close by, observing woodpeckers holes and other signs of animal activity, and discussing the important role of forests in sequestering carbon. We finished by talking about upcoming opportunities to take action on climate change locally, including Bellingham’s December 6th Climate Strike and chances to give input on local government energy policy.

Although this was Reconnect Earth’s last trip of the fall, we will be back with more weekend trips starting in late January. Keep an eye out for the Winter and Spring 2020 schedule which will be posted on this website soon!