Neighborhood Kids family fun in bellingham & whatcom county


2010 Bellingham Procession of the Species

2009 Bellingham Procession of the Species 2009 Bellingham Procession of the Species
Photo by Theresa Carpine

Saturday, May 1, 2010 marks the Seventh Annual Bellingham Procession of the Species, described on the official website as “a parade celebrating creativity, community and our connection with nature.” All are invited to attend or participate, as no registration is required.

Bellingham Procession of the Species began as part of our city’s centennial celebration in 2003-2004. It is an annual collaborative effort of Start Here Community Arts, Bellingham Parks and Recreation, and Bellingham Storytellers Guild.

Inspired by a similar procession that began in Olympia in 1995, the three tenets of the parade are:

Frog costume in Bellingham Procession of the Species. 2009 Bellingham Procession of the Species
Photo by Theresa Carpine
  • No motorized vehicles.
  • No words, written or spoken.
  • No live animals.

Participants are encouraged to dress up as animals, insects, plants, and any other species found in the wild. Playing inventive instruments, like homemade drum, along the route is also encouraged.

In anticipation of the event, community workshops are held on each Saturday in April with supplies to help locals create wings, masks, and other animal accessories for their costume. A special workshop this year also equipped parents to turn their toddler’s stroller into a “beast” on wheels.

Along with individual costumes, POS organizers also invite community members to make banners and flags to carry during the parade route. The Procession also features one “big puppet,” unveiled on parade day.

Closing ceremonies in Maritime Heritage Park. Closing ceremonies in Maritime Heritage Park.
Photo by Theresa Carpine

If you’d like to participate in this year’s procession, meet on the street between the Bellingham Central Library and Bellingham City Call at 3:30 PM. If you’d like to watch the parade from the sidelines, the Procession starts at 4 PM and continues south on North Commercial Street and northwest on West Holly Street. The parade concludes in Maritime Heritage Park, followed by a community gathering and closing ceremonies.

For more information, visit Bellingham Procession of the Species.

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Interview with Art Teacher Gabriel Miles

We’re always excited to help local parents get to know some of the amazing people in Bellingham and Whatcom County who help make our community a special place to raise children. Gabriel Miles is a local artist, certified art teacher, and parent. Gabriel offers special art programs for kids ages 2 to 8 (and their parents) at various locations in Bellingham. Keep reading to find out more about Gabriel’s philosophy of working with young children in the arts! When did you first become interested in the arts?

Gabriel Miles and her daughter. Gabriel Miles and her daughter.
Photo courtesy Gabriel Miles

Gabriel Miles: I’ve always known that I was destined to be an artist. As a child and young adult, I would spend hours creating art or experimenting with new mediums.

NK: What is your educational background as an artist and educator?

GM: I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and a Master of Science in Art Education from Syracuse University.

NK: How long have you lived in Bellingham and what brought you to the area?

Student at Gabriel Miles' art class. Student at Gabriel Miles’ class.
Photo courtesy Whatcom Museum

GM: My husband and I have lived here for almost seven years now. We love it here. We are east coasters originally and moved here after living in the Bay Area for a couple of years. We were done with city living and love the outdoors; Bellingham just sounded amazingly appealing.

NK: What do you enjoy most about working with pre-school and school-age children?

GM: I’ve recently come to love working with the younger children. When I was first in graduate school and student teaching, I enjoyed working with the high school students; to me, they were easier to teach, perhaps because I was younger and closer to their age.

Now, after having a child of my own and teaching art for the last several years to all age groups, I have a new found love of teaching and creating with toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary age children. There is such a vivid imagination in them and a fearlessness of creating. To them, it is mostly experimenting and creating to create; they are not at all concerned about the outcome. There is a freedom in that, one that the older children do not posses.

NK: What advice would you have for parents who want to expose their children to art of all kinds?

Student at Gabriel Miles' art class. Student at Gabriel Miles’ art class.
Photo courtesy Whatcom Museum

GM: Do it! Allow them to create at home. Have crayons and paper handy at all times. Allow them to paint, to mold with play-dough (excellent for motor development skills), and to be free. Please allow them to make a mess; that is part of the experience! Remember, most child-friendly art materials are parent-friendly because they are very easy to clean up.

Look for art classes, take them to museums, into nature, listen to music while drawing, dance and remember to have fun. You are doing your child such an amazing benefit by encouraging creative expression. More than likely your child will not grow up to be an artist, but the arts impact to the whole education of your child. In music arts, there is a correlation to math; the same can be said in visual arts as well as history, writing, speaking, expression, opinion, problem solving, and so much more.

NK: Do you have plans to open your own art school?

GM: Oh, such a dream. I’ve had this dream for as long as I can remember. Who knows? I would sure love it. Maybe someday.

Keep an eye on Activities to find the great art classes Gabriel offers for the kids in our community.

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Bellingham Does Earth Day Right

Girls planting a tree Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 22, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a worldwide event to inspire awareness for the conservation of natural resources.

In celebration of this milestone, Bellingham and Whatcom County host a variety of Earth Day related activities to keep our community beautiful. Take a look at the details of some fun Earth-friendly events below!

Earth Day Work Parties – April 17 & 24

Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association invite you to help out with park beautification projects at several locations across our fair city. Bring your friends, family and enthusiasm, and these great organizations with supply gloves, tools, mulch, and refreshments for all the volunteers. Check out the Bellingham Parks Work Party Schedule and NSEA Spring Work Parties for directions to a work party in your neighborhood.

Local Farmers Markets –  Saturdays

Bellingham Farmers Market Shopppers and vendors at the Market.
Photo Courtesy Bellingham Farmers Market

Buying fresh produce, dairy products, and artisan goods at a local farmers market promotes sustainable agriculture and conserves resources. Plus, it’s fun! Your family is invited to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of labor by Whatcom County farmers throughout the spring and summer at the Bellingham Farmers Market and Ferndale Farmers Market, which opens for the season on Saturday, April 17, 2010.

Whatcom Food & Farm Find Launch – April 17

If you visit Bellingham Farmers Market on April 17th, you can pick up Sustainable Connections’ 2010 Whatcom Food & Farm Finder, a comprehensive guide to local food and agriculture. The booklet includes a fold-out map, a guide to when certain fruits and veggies are in season, a list of local restaurants that serve local food, and a calendar of food and agriculture related events in the area. Sustainable Connections is a local forum where businesses come together to transform and model an economy built on sustainable practices, which include green building, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy.

Mushroom Compost Sale – April 24

Earth Day is a great to plant something in your yard, whether it’s a tree, flowers, or vegetables. Thanks to the Sehome Student Volunteers and Bellingham Kiwanis Club, you can get some compost for your garden and support a good cause! Visit Sehome High School on Saturday, April 24, 2010 between 9 AM and 5 PM to pick up a 40 lb. bag of mushroom compost for only $5. Proceeds will benefit Sehome High School’s Bring Joy to a Child, a student-run program to provide holiday gifts for local kids in need.

Veggie Patrol at Children’s Story Garden – Begins April 24

Veggie Patrol at Children's Story Garden Veggie Patrol at Children’s Story Garden
Photo courtesy Whatcom County Master Gardeners

With help of Master Gardeners, children ages 4 to 10 are invited, with an adult, to plant, maintain, and harvest vegetables in the Children’s Story Garden. From April 24 to October 9, 2010, kids and a parent will meet once a week with gardeners to learn 23 unique lessons about gardening and they’ll get to take home projects like worm bins and scarecrows. Cost is $40 for one adult and child, or $50 for one adult and more than one child.

Workshop: Junk Has Soul! – April 24

With artist Thor Myhre, participants ages 8 and up will learn how to recycle common materials and found objects into sculptures. This class at the Whatcom Museum is ideal for parents and children that want to create “green” art together. Cost is $60 or $38 for Museum members; materials included. To register, call (360) 778-8960.

Visit Activities to learn more about Earth Day events in Bellingham and Whatcom County. What is your family doing to celebrate Earth Day this year?

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