Special Events

Coming up with North Cascades Institute....

Nature of Writing Speaker Series at Village Books in Bellingham

Spring 2017

Village BooksAs the days grow longer and life sprouts up around us here in Cascadia, head into spring with new books that explore and celebrate the natural wonders of the world! Join Village Books and North Cascades Institute in welcoming writers to Bellingham to share their latest works. From sustainable gardening to hiking to the natural history of our mountains, you'll learn more about our wondrous planet through the voices of our country's most gifted nature interpreters. 

All readings are free and take place at the Readings Gallery at Village Books, 1200 11th Street, Bellingham.

Saturday, April 8, 4pm    Dual presentation!
Zsofia Pasztor & Keri DeTore's Design & Build Your Own Rain Gardens for the Pacific NW

Homeward: Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild is the deeply personal journey of a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest who learns that home isn’t simply where you live, but where you create belonging. Set in Seattle and Western Washington’s urban and suburban “altered” landscapes, Turning Homeward creates an accessible narrative of the complicated joys of rolling up one’s sleeves to help repair our beautiful, broken world. For over twenty years, Adrienne Ross Scanlan has immersed herself as a volunteer in all things nature: as a citizen scientist monitoring salmon runs for county and local agencies, a restoration volunteer salvaging native plants and removing invasive weeds, and as a docent at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and Wolf Haven in Tenino, Washington. Adrienne’s writing has appeared in a variety of literary publications, including City Creatures, Pilgrimage, The Fourth River, Rikkun, and Tiny Lights. She has received a Seattle Arts Commission award and an Artist Trust Washington State Literature Fellowship.

Rain Gardens for the Pacific Northwest details best practices for building your own rain garden. Filled with sound advice and colorful photography, Rain Gardens offers clear instructions tailored to Pacific Northwest landscapes. Rain gardens are one of the most impactful ways to preserve salmon habitats. Pasztor and DeTore’s comprehensive guide to creating your own rain garden offers a method to tangibly engage in the health of your local environment.  Zsofia Pasztor , CPH, co-author of Rain Gardens for the Pacific Northwest, is the founder and director of Farmer Frog, and an instructor at Edmonds Community College and Stewardship Partners rain garden workshops. Rain Gardens was co-authored by Keri DeTore and illustrated by Jill Nunemaker.

Friday, April 14, 7pm 
Tami Asars' Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Washington: Section Hiking from the Columbia River to Manning Park

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Washington breaks down the state’s more than 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail into stunning routes that can be easily knocked off in four days, a week or more. This is boots-on-the-ground trail beta from one of the state’s most experienced hikers. Hike from the skirts of Mount Rainier National Park to the pristine Alpine Lakes Wilderness; or from the vivid waters of Lake Chelan to the dry ridgelines of the Pasayten Wilderness near the Canadian border.

Tami Asars is a nature-based writer, photographer, and a third generation Washingtonian with a complete passion for trails. She is the author of the book Hiking the Wonderland Trail and Day Hiking Mount Adams & Goat Rocks Wilderness, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Washington (Mountaineers Books), as well as a Regional Correspondent/Columnist for Washington Trails Magazine, contributor to hiking blogs and various outdoor publications. For more information, please visit her web site,

Saturday, April 15, 7pm
Lynda Mapes' (Environmental reporter at the Seattle Times) Witness Tree: Seasons of Change with a Century Old Oaks

The Witness Tree is an intimate look at one majestic hundred-year-old oak tree through four seasons--and the reality of global climate change it reveals. While stark in its implications, The Witness Tree is a beautiful and lyrical read, rich in detail. It is a story rooted in hope, beauty, wonder, and the possibility of renewal in people's connection to nature.

Lynda V. Mapes is an environmental reporter at The Seattle Times and the author of several books, including Elwha: A River Reborn and Breaking Ground. Read more at

Friday, April 21, 7pm
Daniel Mathews' Natural History of the Pacific NW Mountains

Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains is an engagingly written, portable history of the Cascade region identifying the flora, fauna, and geology of the region. This guide also includes information about the landscape and weather. Packed with 800 color photographs, this is the perfect overview of the region if you are looking for a simple way to discover the great outdoors.

"Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains is a love poem to the creatures that inhabit the mountains and rivers of Washington, coastal Oregon and southwestern British Columbia. This book is so much more than just a field guide, it’s a series of lessons in how to pay attention to the amazing diversity of the natural world. Dan Mathews shares tips for finding and identifying over 950 species as well as describing, in soulful writing, the landscapes they inhabit from the mountains to the sea. This is one of the books I will find room for in my pack. Striking photographs combine with excellent descriptions and sprinkled throughout are compelling stories that bring these wild mountains alive in ways that mere identification can never do. From descriptions of landscapes to stories of early naturalists to musings about slug sex and the impacts of climate change, each page of this book draws me deeper in. In one packable volume it’s the best introduction and graduate course in northwest natural history that I’ve ever seen.”
— Saul Weisberg, Executive Director, North Cascades Institute

Daniel Mathews comes from a line of botanically knowledgeable forebears, who began teaching him the names of trailside plants at an early age. His writing is informed by literally thousands of scientific papers as well as five decades on and off hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest.

Daniel will also present from his book at Elliott Bay Books (1521 10th Ave) in Seattle on Sunday, April 23!

Friday, April 28, 7pm Mark Leiren-Young's The Killer Whale Who Changed the World

Journalist, filmmaker, playwright, and author Mark Leiren-Young shares the fascinating and heartbreaking account of Moby Doll, the first publicly exhibited captive killer whale―a story that forever changed the way we see orcas and sparked the movement to save them.

Leiren-Young will share rare film footage of Moby Doll and other orcas, and discuss how the capture of Moby Doll led to the captivity and exhibition of other whales including Namu at the Seattle Aquarium and the notorious star of Blackfish, Tilicum. Moby Doll changed public perception of whales but also inspired a whole generation of scientists to learn more about how these creatures live and communicate in the wild. Because of Moby Doll, we stopped fearing “killers” and grew to love and respect “orcas.”

Mark Leiren-Young is a journalist, filmmaker and author of numerous books. His article for the Walrus about Moby Doll, the first orca publicly exhibited in captivity, was a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and he won the Jack Webster award for his CBC Idea’s radio documentary Moby Doll: The Whale that Changed the World. Leiren-Young is currently finishing a feature length film documentary on Moby Doll.

friDAY, May 5, 7PM
Joshua Stilts' Whatcom Fish Tales: A Historical Look at the County's Seafood Industry

This is a local narrative on Whatcom County fishing history. Firsthand accounts and historic photos shed light on the importance of the industry to the community.

Joshua Stilts, a Bellingham native and son of a commercial fisherman, graduated from Western Washington University in 2006, earning degrees in theater and psychology. He returned to Western in 2008 to earn his degree in journalism. A year later, he and his wife moved to New Hampshire where he started working as a investigative reporter and photographer. Joshua spent nearly four years as an editor and lead reporter covering crime, education, business, arts, politics, and breaking news in the granite state, Vermont, and Massachusetts. He and his wife now live in Seattle with their daughter Emmeline.

"The Wild Nearby" Exhibit at the Burke Museum

June 18, 2016 – april 9, 2017

The Wild Nearby at the Burke Museum tells stories of the North Cascades that only the Burke can tell using concepts and images from the book The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby. In The Wild Nearby, visitors explore change in the North Cascades through geologic material and research projects focused on archaeology, plants and animals. Visitors step into the role of Burke scientist/researcher as they have an exploratory, multi-sensory experience of Burke collections and the North Cascades. This exhibit transports visitors from Seattle to the North Cascades ecosystem, where they experience the region as a scientist through natural history and cultural objects and see the region’s intense beauty and vastness through large photography pulled from The North Cascades. The Wild Nearby imbues visitors with a sense of connectivity to and behind-the-scenes knowledge of the North Cascades, which can be independent of or complimentary to an outdoor experience in the region.

More info at