Special Events

Village Books and North Cascades Institute present The Nature of Writing Speaker Series Spring 2018

As 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 poetry to children's books to essays on the healing power of nature and a history of North Cascades National Park, 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

Tuesday, March 6, 7pm in Fairhaven and Saturday, April 28, 4pm in Lynden
Lou McKee / Klee Wyck Journal
After many years of paddling the waterways and outer coasts of the Pacific Northwest, author and artist Lou McKee planned a short kayaking trip near Vancouver Island with friends and family that unexpectedly became a yearly tradition. During the first trip that Pacific Northwestern summer, they chanced upon an enchanting stretch of beach and spent several days collecting stones polished by the ocean, exploring the nearby creek, and breathing in the wonder of untamed water and wilderness.
This remote coastal beach drew them back year after year, though the coastal rains become almost too much to endure. Thus, the Klee Wyck Cabin, as it came to be named, was borne from found cedar beach logs and other reclaimed wood to shield the travelers from summer storms. For a few weeks each year, friends and family came together to share stories, heartaches, celebrations, and the building of the tiny wilderness retreat cabin. Lou took her journal and sketchbook with her to the cabin, documenting the construction and rendering local flora and fauna in colored ink and pencil drawings. Collected together in print for the first time, Klee Wyck Journal showcases the cabin and Lou's remarkable lifetime on and near the water in exquisite, full color sketches.

Lou McKee is a professional artist, a kayaker and now, an author. Born on the coast of British Columbia, the sea and misty islands are in her blood and still call her to travel and explore in Sweet Chariot, her 47 year old kayak. She and her husband, David Verwolf, live in downtown Bellingham, Washington.

Thursday, March 22, 7pm
Lauren Danner / Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park
The North Cascades National Park celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, and a new book from Washington State University Press, Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park, offers the first comprehensive account of its creation—a narrative that involves more than a decade of grassroots activism and political maneuvering. Widely considered the first wilderness national park in the United States, its most scenic and undisturbed areas were preserved without roads or other accommodations, adding to its crown jewel image. The story includes the unprecedented turn of events that left the National Park Service and United States Forest Service, agencies that often had adversarial viewpoints and objectives, working side by

When she's not out hiking on our public lands, Lauren Danner writes about Pacific Northwest and environmental history, outdoor recreation, and public lands policy from her home in Olympia, Washington.
Thursday, April 5, 7pm
Jennifer Wilhoit / Writing on the Landscape: Essays & Practices to Write, Roam, Renew
Dr. Wilhoit narrates a journey, demonstrating how vital balance is in our pursuit of writing, as well as in our pursuit of life. And she evidences convincingly that we can achieve wholeness through conscious, reflective, and introspective immersion in nature. Dr. Wilhoit observes simply that the principal point of this book is the pairing of nature and writing toward being complete. Writing on the Landscape explores the sense of wholeness we feel when we engage a few simple, easy to exercise practices … deep and guided, step-by-step interactions with nature and its elements: land-, sea-, and sky-scapes.
Jennifer J. Wilhoit, PhD is a published author, spiritual ecologist, editor, mentor, consultant, researcher, educator, & peacemaker; she is also a longtime hospice/bereavement volunteer. Her books, articles, & blog (tealarborstories.blogspot.com) focus on the human/nature relationship—what she calls “the inner/outer landscape.” Jennifer founded TEALarbor Stories through which she offers compassionate guidance through writing, nature, & life's difficult landscapes.
Thursday, April 19, 7pm
Scott Freeman & Susan Leopold Freeman / Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family’s Quest to Heal the Land
What can one family do to change the world? Saving Tarboo Creek, a new book by biologist, professor, and legacy conservationist Scott Freeman, sets out to explore that question. Together with his wife (Susan Leopold Freeman) and sons, the Freemans purchased 17 acres of clear-cut land on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Through the center of the property runs a small creek, an ancient salmon stream badly damaged by a century’s worth of ditching, clearcutting, and channeling. Saving Tarboo Creek follows the Freemans as they work to rehabilitate the land back to a natural state. They knew the task ahead would be formidable: pollution, climate change, funding, curious beavers—there were many roadblocks waiting for them along the way. But the Leopold’s held a special key: a core belief in their duty that could not be shaken.

Scott Freeman teaches biology at the University of Washington, where he received a Distinguished Teaching Award. His textbooks Evolutionary Analysis and Biological Science are in their sixth editions, and he is recognized as a world authority on undergraduate biology education. Susan Leopold Freeman received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She paints, teaches piano, and creates mosaics and fabric art.
Friday, April 27, 7pm
Tom Fleischner, Saul Weisberg, & Edie Dillon / Nature, Love, Medicine: Essays on Wildness & Wellness
A diverse array of authors—psychologists and poets, biologists and artists, a Buddhist teacher—share personal stories that reveal a common theme: when we pay conscious, careful attention to our wider world, we strengthen our core humanity. This book declares that nurturing a love for our planet is essential in this time of turbulence and change. 
Thomas Lowe Fleischner is a naturalist and conservation biologist, and founding director of the Natural History Institute at Prescott College, where he has taught interdisciplinary environmental studies for almost three decades. Saul Weisberg is the founder and executive director of North Cascades Institute; his collection of poetry, Headwaters: Poems & Field Notes, was published by Pleasure Boat Studio in 2015. Edie Dillon is a nationally exhibited sculptor, painter and environmental artist whose work seeks to honor the beauty and mystery of the world. She has also worked as an educator, environmental advocate, and national park ranger.
Tuesday, May 1, 7pm
Peggy Shumaker & Maurya Simon / Poetry Night!
Drawn from forty years of writing, the poems and prose in Peggy Shumaker's Cairn trace journeys in this world and in the inner life.  Landscape becomes a major force, especially the subarctic desert of Interior Alaska and the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona.
 Maurya Simon’s new volume, The Wilderness, spans thirty years of poetry writing and explores the most vital aspects of our lives: the power of language, the mysteries of the natural world, and how we may endure and transcend the losses that besiege us as we live fully in the world.

Peggy Shumaker is the daughter of two deserts—the Sonoran desert where she grew up and the subarctic desert of interior Alaska where she lives now. She received a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Shumaker is the author of eight books of poetry, including Cairn, her new and selected volume. Her lyrical memoir is Just Breathe Normally. Professor emerita from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Shumaker teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA at PLU.

Maurya Simon has authored ten acclaimed volumes of poetry. Simon’s poetry has appeared in over 250 distinguished literary magazines and in more than two dozen poetry anthologies. Simon has taught college-level literature and creative writing courses for thirty years and serves currently as a Professor Emerita in Creative Writing and as a Professor of the Graduate Division at the Univ. of California, Riverside. Simon lives with her husband in the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains. 
Saturday, May 5, 10:30am
Story Time Featuring Toni Yuly /  Kids event!
Thank You, Bees                                              
Clouds bring the rain that makes puddles to splash in. Sheep give us wool for our sweaters and hats. The honey that sweetens our bread comes from bees (thank you, bees). With spare, repetitive text and bright, torn-paper collage artwork, this picture book gives even the youngest readers a subtle sense of how everyday things are related — and inspires an appreciation for life’s simple gifts. This gentle message of gratitude and connection, enhanced by beautifully simple collage illustrations, makes for a charming gift. Join Toni Yuly in the readings gallery for this special story time. She will read her book and lead the children in a craft.
Toni Yuly has been an early bird her whole life and loves to start the day in her studio listening to other early birds sing outside her window. She lives in a small house by the water in Bremerton, WA, a short ferry boat ride from Seattle, WA where she was born. Toni fell in love with Eastern sensibilities during a year spent in Sendai, Japan when she was just 17 years old. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BFA in Painting where she studied with the great American painter, Jacob Lawrence. Now, after many years as a librarian in the King County Library System, Toni works full-time as a designer, artist and writer.
Saturday, May 5, 4pm
Story Time Featuring Nina Laden/  Kids event!
Yellow Kayak
You just never know what a new day will hold if you are brave enough to find out. On one quiet afternoon, a boy and his special friend’s unexpected adventure bring joy and excitement and sights never imagined. And the best part of any adventure is returning home with stories to tell and your best friend at your side. We're thrilled to welcome local children's author, Nina Laden, back to the readings gallery! 
Nina Laden is the author of many books for kids, including Peek-a-Who?, Who Loves You, Baby?, The Night I Followed the Dog, and Yellow Kayak. She lives with her husband on Lummi Island, Washington.

Saturday, June 2, 7pm
Amber Casali / Hiking Washington's Fire Lookouts
Discover a quintessential Northwest experience! From a mountaintop perch near a historic fire lookout, soak up dramatic views of distant ridgelines while getting a glimpse into Washington’s past. The state’s fire lookouts not only have played an important role in forest-fire management, but have also been temporary homes for the interesting people who spend summers isolated from civilization to watch over the forests below. Hiking Washington’s Fire Lookouts highlights 44 memorable lookouts in the Cascades and Olympics, all accessible by trails on public lands. Brimming with fascinating history, this guide details how to stay in or near the lookouts overnight and how to help maintain or volunteer at these historic structures.