Benjamin Johnston joined the Whidbey Institute team this summer to help care for plants and place. He describes his work as taking care of the land so that people can feel at ease here. From weed whacking and hand weeding to excavating leaking pipes, Ben is willing to engage with any aspect of the work that supports a flourishing place—but his love, and his passion, come through when exploring the relationships of humans with plants and ecosystems. Read More →
Plants, People, and Place: Welcoming Benjamin Johnston
A Rooted Roof: Volunteers install living roof on Commons porch
By Marnie Jackson
Photos courtesy Floyd|Snider
As I approached the Commons building on a recent morning, one thing stood out . . . the vibrancy of the living porch roof, still thick and green even under a coating of fresh snow. The sedum mix has been growing in place on the roof since it was installed during an Autumn 2021 workshop, and seems to be thriving despite this cold snap. Fulfilling its promise to add beauty, mitigate runoff, and support pollinator habitat, the living roof is a great addition to our new gathering space. Read More →
To Those Who Love This Place,
We have an update to share. The short version of the story is that, after nearly 12 years of service, I am stepping down as a staff member in the organization. The process began March 16, 2021 and will be complete in March 2022. Filled with optimism for our organization and gratitude for the relationships and communities I’ve encountered here, I take this step in service to the emerging future.
With our solid leadership team, robust system of distributed authority, and clear map for the work ahead, we are well prepared for this transition—and the team and I are parting with a ton of mutual care and regard. We have accomplished big work together as part of the fabric of a fifty-year journey, and I am enthusiastic for what will be made possible in the years to come.
If you’re curious to learn more, a long version of the story follows.
—Heather Johnson Read More →
Why They Give: A Conversation with Lynnaea Lumbard & Rick Paine
Long time Whidbey Institute supporters Lynnaea Lumbard and Rick Paine have given so much—thought partnership, leadership, and donations of time and funds. From 2016 through 2020, Rick and Lynnaea provided essential advice, leadership and funding for the Whidbey Institute 2020 Capital Campaign, which added capacity for lodging, meeting, and operations. We connected with Lynnaea and Rick to learn more about why they give to the Whidbey Institute. Read More →
Beginners and long time Labyrinth walkers welcome
“A labyrinth walk is a metaphor for life and unique to each individual. Some people get turned around, and sometimes they come back out and then go back in to find their way, just as we do in life.” —Nancy
Nancy Neudecker, a part-time Maxwelton Valley resident and student of labyrinth facilitation, is offering guided labyrinth walks this summer. Last week, she connected with staff member Marnie Jackson to share more about her love of labyrinths. Read More →
I recently had the opportunity to connect with Themis Gkion, a Creative Empowerment Facilitator with Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE). Connecting via Zoom between Greece and the United States, we enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation about the PYE approach to learning, about larger trends in education, and about what is possible when the power and potential of young learners are unleashed. As an outcome of our conversation, I’ve been personally inspired to take an online Creative Facilitation 1 course from PYE in June. —Marnie Jackson Read More →
Pictured: a photo by tessie of MadelEine, Anika, and a curious doe. Photos courtesy the Bunnell family.
We were lucky enough to get to know the Bunnell family during spring and summer 2020, as Beth and her daughters Tessie (14) and Madeleine (16) got involved as volunteers on the land. When we asked for their reflections, Tessie and Madeleine both expressed excitement about what they had seen and learned, and eager anticipation of their next visit to the land.
“I look forward to spending more time at the Whidbey Institute and seeing how our trail looks in the different seasons,” Tessie said. Read More →
by Marnie Jackson
Kent Wales discovered the Whidbey Institute when a colleague invited him to Spirited Work in 2002. The program, hosted by Anne Stadler and others including Gabriel Shirley and Mark Jones, was once described by Tree Fitzpatrick as, “an ongoing experiment that embodies collective wisdom as a conscious system.” These Open Space gatherings continued to draw Kent west from his Spokane-area home until Spirited Work concluded in the mid 2000s. As a result of the program’s influence in his life and in appreciation for this land, Kent donates regularly. As part of his care for this place, he became a monthly donor to the Whidbey Institute in 2013.
I recently connected with Kent to thank him for his ongoing generosity and to find out more about why he gives. He shared about his experience with Spirited Work, which he said helped bring balance to his life. Read More →
Note: this Featured Program story was excerpted from our 2019-2020 Gratitude Report.
We asked program leader Victoria Santos how, with Debra Baker, she concieved and co-hosted the 2019 Nourishment Retreat. Here are her reflections:
The Nourishment retreat came out of my own realization that women of color, and black women in particular, needed a space to recharge, to be nourished, to heal, and to share their stories. I know the healing power of the Whidbey Institute—the intention with which the space was cultivated, the way the land is stewarded, and the way the food nourishes. I wanted to put all of that in the service of BIPOC women.
Meg Gluckman, a beloved member of our staff team, resigned this summer to focus on parenting and homeschooling.
Meg joined the Whidbey Institute team in November 2018 and was an extraordinary addition to our community, however the unexpected disruption of COVID-19 to the educational system necessitated a change. As a parent of two, and recognizing that many parents face a dilemma during the COVID disruption, Meg feels grateful that she is in a position to choose a focus on at-home schooling at this time. Read More →