Why Cathy Gives

Why Cathy Gives

Cathy Buller (pictured at left) is volunteering to crunch numbers and run data for the Whidbey Institute this week during the 48-hour fundraising marathon that is GiveBIG. Yesterday, I asked her why she’s willing to put so much time and energy in for us. This was her answer. Read More →

May 6, 2020

Questions and answers about the Whidbey Institute’s current status

We understand program leaders, program participants, community members, friends, and donors may have questions about how we’re doing. For all those who wonder about the Whidbey Institute’s status during this unusual time, we’ve prepared this Q&A post!

With appreciation,

The Whidbey Institute team


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May 4, 2020

Humanity & Nature | May Newsletter

“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was never normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”—Sonya Renee Taylor

In this issue: staffing update, conservation easement update, GiveBIG May 5 & 6, and Journalists of Color on COVID-19.Click to read the issue. Read More →

May 2, 2020

What Might We Learn? | April 2020 Newsletter

Click here to read the full issue: https://mailchi.mp/whidbeyinstitute/newsletter-1122357

Transformational learning in the present moment

Transformational learning was once defined by Dean Elias as, “the expansion of consciousness through the transformation of basic worldview and specific capacities of the self.” Through transformational learning, in the words of Jack Mezirow, “ . . . we learn to negotiate and act on our own purposes, values, feelings, and meanings rather than those we have uncritically assimilated from others—to gain greater control ove r our lives as socially responsible, clear-thinking decision makers.” According to John M. Dirkx, transformational learning “challenges our existing frames of reference—the beliefs and assumptions we hold about ourselves, others and the world,” while at the same time “evoking potentially powerful feelings and emotions within the learning experience.” Read More →

April 15, 2020

Mary Holscher on “Democracy Vouchers”

Pictured at our February 2020 program leader gathering, from left: JJ McMinds, Helena Hennighausen, Larisa Benson, and Mary Holscher.

Dear Friends of Whidbey Institute,

In this time of confinement, one form of entertainment my husband Paul and I have recently enjoyed is deciding how we will give away the part of our $2400 stimulus check we don’t need. We understand that some of you reading this have had severe financial losses and will need every bit of whatever you receive. This letter is directed to those of you who will receive a stimulus check soon and have, like me and Paul, suffered only modest financial impact. Read More →

April 3, 2020

Together, apart

Our March 2020 quarterly learning group was unlike any our team has held before: fully online. Some folks had major Zoom fatigue after spending a full two weeks in remote conversations, while others were just getting used to connecting through the computer as a new part of daily life. Still, we managed to learn, laugh, grieve, play, work, and reflect together and by the end of our three-hour call we felt collectively nurtured and restored. Good work, humans—it’s an honor to be in this work with you.


March 26, 2020

Humans. Being.

In my work life, I am primarily a writer. For almost seven years I’ve written on behalf of the Whidbey Institute, where my colleagues and I string words together to convey the meaning of what we do here—connecting with Earth, and with one another, to grow our collective capacity to live with generative mutuality in an increasingly complex society on an increasingly impacted planet.

That’s a mouthful, and it’s the kind of writing that feels wrong for this moment. Today, my heart is holding to one-syllable words. Food. Home. Health. Rest. Books. Love. Friends. We can take none of these for granted. Read More →

March 23, 2020

March 12 COVID-19 Response Update

Last night the leadership team of the Whidbey Institute made the difficult decision to pause all in-person programming in light of emerging data about the spread of novel coronavirus. This important decision feels aligned with what we’re learning about the projected course of this virus and our responsibility to protect public health: through social distancing, including through the cancellation or postponement of public gatherings. This decision is centered on our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our program participants, staff, and communities as well as the health of those in our regional communities and beyond.  Read More →

March 12, 2020

COVID-19: Update for Program Leaders

This post may include outdated information. See the latest updates on our evolving response here

As leaders bringing people together in physical space, the Whidbey Institute team shares many of the tensions you may be feeling right now. Our work is to navigate these tensions, together. Read More →

March 4, 2020

COVID-19: A Generative Response

This post may include outdated information. See the latest updates on our evolving response here

We at the Whidbey Institute are working to make a safe, proactive, and appropriately-scaled response to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Our thoughts go to the communities, both internationally and here in Washington State, where this illness has taken lives—and to all our communities and their most vulnerable members. Keeping our program participants, program leaders, neighbors, and team members safe is essential. Below, you’ll see facts about COVID-19, information about our response, guidelines on when to stay home, and a temporary revision to our cancellation policy as well as information on how to contact us or learn more about the virus.  Read More →

March 4, 2020