Special Events


Village Books and North Cascades Institute present The Nature of Writing Series

Join Village Books and North Cascades Institute in welcoming nature writers and poets to Bellingham to share their latest works. All readings are free and take place at the Readings Gallery at Village Books, 1200 11th Street, Bellingham.

Cameron MacDonald’s The Endangered Species Road Trip: A Summer’s Worth of Dingy Motels, Poison Oak, Ravenous Insects and the Rarest Species in North America
Saturday, March 22, 4pm

CMACDONALDA wildlife adventure and family holiday like no other, The Endangered Species Road Trip documents the hilarious and thought-provoking journey of natural biologist Cameron MacDonald as he tracks down North America’s endangered species with his young family.

Crammed into a minivan with wife, toddler, infant and dog, MacDonald sets out to observe the continent’s uncommon creatures while navigating the tribulations of back-road travel and vacations with young children. In California, the family camps in the brutally hot Mojave, where MacDonald hopes to see a rare desert tortoise. And in Churchill, Manitoba, he seeks out the dwindling polar bears and meets them at a closer proximity than he had imagined.

Along the way, MacDonald offers fascinating details about the natural history of the animals he seeks and offers insight into the threats they face, such as overpopulation, commercial fishing, and climate change, that are driving them towards extinction.

Sharing the adventure of a lifetime for wildlife lovers, The Endangered Species Road Trip offers an engaging exploration of family dynamics, life on the road, and the natural history of a vast continent.

Cameron MacDonald has worked as a wildlife biologist across North America. His writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Georgia Straight, and elsewhere. He lives in Vancouver, B.C


Holly Hughes’ Sailing By Ravens
Saturday, April 12, 7pm

HHUGHESUsing a variety of poetic forms, former Alaskan salmon gillnetter, mariner, and naturalist Holly J. Hughes deftly explores how we find our way, at sea, in love, and in life.

Hughes draws from more than 30 seasons working at sea, offering a lyrical view of the history of navigation, plumbing its metaphorical richness. From the four points of the compass, Hughes navigates “the wavering, certain path” of a woman’s heart, learning to trust a deeper knowledge.

This collection offers wisdom culled from direct experience and careful attention, taking us with her in her quest to chart her own course. "How will she learn to ride the swell, let the earth curve her?" This poet's questions open us to possibilities as vast as the ocean.


Robert Michael Pyle's Evolution of the Genus Iris
Saturday, May 10, 7 pm

BPYLEJoin Village Books and North Cascades Institute as we welcome beloved lepidopterist and naturalist Robert Michael Pyle for his first full-length book of poetry.

"Robert Michael Pyle’s voice is an essential element in the culture of our literary and scientific community. His deep knowledge of the ecology of the earth and the life patterns of a wide variety of living forms, his careful attention to detail, his passion and energy and commitment to humanity that appear in his past work are present in abundance throughout the poetry in Evolution of the Genus Iris. We are fortunate readers indeed to have this new book and its poems abroad in the world," writes Pattiann Rogers

Robert Michael Pyle writes essay, poetry, and fiction from an old Swedish farmstead along a tributary of the Lower Columbia River in southwestern Washington. His sixteen books include Chasing Monarchs, Mariposa Road and The Tangled Bank. A Guggenheim Fellow, he has received the John Burroughs Medal and several other writing awards. Pyle’s poems have appeared in magazines including the North American Review, and in a chapbook, Letting the Flies Out. He has taught natural history and creative writing classes for North Cascades Institute for over 25 years.


Joshua Howe’s Behind the Curve: Science and the Politics of Global Warming<
Tuesday, May 20, 7pm

JHOWEIn 1958, Charles David Keeling began measuring the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. His project kicked off a half century of research that has expanded our knowledge of climate change. Despite more than fifty years of research, however, our global society has yet to find real solutions to the problem of global warming. Why?

HIn Behind the Curve, Joshua Howe attempts to answer this question. He explores the history of global warming from its roots as a scientific curiosity to its place at the center of international environmental politics. The book follows the story of rising CO2—illustrated by the now famous Keeling Curve—through a number of historical contexts, highlighting the relationships among scientists, environmentalists, and politicians as those relationships changed over time.

The nature of the problem itself, Howe explains, has privileged scientists as the primary spokespeople for the global climate. But while the “science first” forms of advocacy they developed to fight global warming produced more and better science, the primacy of science in global warming politics has failed to produce meaningful results. In fact, an often exclusive focus on science has left advocates for change vulnerable to political opposition and has limited much of the discussion to debates about the science itself. As a result, while we know much more about global warming than we did fifty years ago, CO2 continues to rise. In 1958, Keeling first measured CO2 at around 315 parts per million; by 2013, global CO2 had soared to 400 ppm. The problem is not getting better - it's getting worse. Behind the Curve offers a critical and levelheaded look at how we got here.


Paula Wild’s The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous
Saturday, June 7, 7pm

PAULACougars, mountain lions, pumas…no matter what you call them these powerful animals are undoubtedly intriguing. In The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous, author Paula Wild uses a skillful blend of natural history, scientific research and first-hand accounts to explore our evolving relationship with this enigmatic predator. Sge also includes amazing photos and detailed information on what to do in the case of a cougar encounter. Throughout, Wild delves into what makes this animal that both fascinates and frightens us so beautiful, so dangerous, and why cougars remain such an important and valuable part of our environment.


Past Special Events