On Friday morning, the Whidbey Institute staff and board awoke to this photo in our email inboxes, along with this tender note from our colleague Thomas, Resident Caretaker:
I’m sitting here in this sweet, tiny, temporary home at 4 am listening to a steady rain pouring down. As far as I know I am the only human on the land in this moment. Goodness, I am wide awake.
On Sunday the machines arrive to assist in the next phase of our transformation. It’s truly happening: this growth, vital to our development, in service to the coming generations seeking resources, connection, nourishment, and resolve. Growth that will allow us to help evolve a wiser and more loving culture. We are doing this thing together.
We enter the coming flow in a spirit of goodwill, with prayers for the trees, plants, animals, birds, and subtle energies of place. May we all be safe and patient in the disruption. I’m celebrating the vision and courage, rising through several decades, that are bringing forth this next unfolding. What a blessing to be in this journey with you all.
We’re doing this together. You—the thousands of you who read these newsletters, visit this land, attend these programs, and contribute to this capacity-building—have made this possible. Your talents, your gifts, your participation, your friendship, your counsel, your wisdom and your longings have brought us to this threshold. As we step forward into the big work ahead, we say a profound and heartfelt thank you.
What’s coming to the land
Thanks to the generous support of our community, Cabin Village Commons construction is fully funded and we break ground soon! This construction project will be carefully phased to minimize disruption to program leaders and participants, resulting in a gathering space that will dramatically increase our ability to host transformative work as early as Spring 2021.
Our new Caretaker Cabin is partially funded and site preparation is about to begin. By preparing the sites for both the Commons and Caretaker Cabin simultaneously, we can save on costs, keep more calendar dates open for programming, and minimize disruption to the forest and its inhabitants. We are eager to provide our caretaker with a safe, warm home where he can continue to provide extraordinary, round-the-clock care for people and place. Please consider making a donation to help us fully fund this work.
The team’s already been hard at work getting ready for the construction ahead!
- Nicolas Gollin, our land steward, has been delicately removing young trees and native shrubs from the work areas for replanting elsewhere.
- Volunteer Bob Keeney has been removing the roof from Garbanzo, an outdoor kitchen & bathroom lovingly built by community under Phil Stringer’s leadership in the 1980s. Beno Kennedy, Bob, and other team members are salvaging as much as possible from the structure and planning to use its materials for other projects.
- A stellar team has been assembled, with local architects, craftspeople, builders, subcontractors, foresters, millers, and volunteers all pitching in to make Commons and Caretaker Cabin construction run smoothly.
Upcoming site work includes:
- Clearing takes place February 9—15. Since both building sites were selected for their minimal impact on the forest and because our team transplanted smaller trees and shrubs this winter, plant loss will be limited. Our campus is closed during this period for the safety of our crews and visitors.
- Site work is planned for February 18—20. There will be a significant amount of construction traffic on the land during this brief break in programming.
- Framing begins February 23. You’ll be able to watch the structures evolve throughout the coming months!
- Trenching for utilities is planned for March 23—29. There will be no programming on campus during this window.
Looking to the future
The year ahead will include ongoing work, phased to minimize impact on forest and programming. We’ll do our best to keep you updated about how the work’s progressing, as well as share photos, stories, and profiles of some of the talented designers and builders who are turning our visions into reality. Watch this blog for regular updates.
If you have questions about what’s changing, please reach out to [email protected] or 360-341-1884.
With gratitude and excitement,
The Whidbey Institute team
Above, Garbanzo is being removed and its materials carefully salvaged to make way for the Cabin Village Commons. This location, with its utility access, is an ideal home for the new gathering space.
Above, staff member Meg Gluckman looks at the site for the future Caretaker Cabin between the fire circle and the Sanctuary with views of the lower parking lot and Cabin Village.