• Develop a vision for the future of the environmental learning center that aligned with the beliefs, outcomes and strategies within The Bellingham Promise
  • Identify short-term infrastructure needs to enable use of site
  • Recommend programming plan for next 1-3 years
  • Be inclusive of stakeholders that include community partners and students, in addition to district staff

Basis for Establishment:

  • 100+ acre conservation site is currently an underused district resource
  • Facilities bond passed in 2013 included specific funds to undertake a feasibility study, design, and infrastructure, including water, electricity, septic, and construct a large group structure at the conservation site
  • The Bellingham Promise includes central tenets regarding the whole child being important, each student discovering and developing a passion, and being ready for the widest range of educational and vocational options.

Decision-Making Process:

  • Advisory group will make recommendation to the superintendent

Plan of Work:


  • Meet 3 times between October and January (Wednesdays 4-6:30 p.m.)
  • Form 3-5 working groups aligned with identified needs of group
  • Collaboration within working groups to investigate specific areas to inform recommendations


  • Meet 2 times in May 2018 (Wednesdays 3:30-5:00 p.m.)


  • Gene Myers, Professor, Western Washington University- Huxley College
  • Wendy Walker, Senior Instructor, Western Washington University- Huxley College
  • Nick Stanger, Assistant Professor, Western Washington University – Huxley College
  • Jeff Giesen, Associate Director, North Cascades Institute
  • Aimee Frazier, Girls Explorers Club Program Coordinator, Wild Whatcom
  • Emily Highleyman, Executive Director, Wild Whatcom
  • Laurel Peak, Program Manager, Wild Whatcom
  • Lynda Purdie, Adventure Camp Director, Whatcom Family YMCA
  • Emily Jones, Teacher, Carl Cozier Elementary
  • Teri Herda, Teacher, Geneva Elementary
  • Greg Dutton, Special Education Teacher, Bellingham High
  • Byron Gerard, Principal, Options High School/ Innovative Secondary Program
  • Eric Paige, Associate Principal, Shuksan Middle
  • Steve Ruthford, Principal, Fairhaven Middle
  • Curtis Lawyer, Capital Projects Manager
  • Co-Chair, Jay Jordan, Executive Director, Teaching and Learning
  • Co-Chair, Ron Cowan, Executive Director of Capital Projects and School Facilities


  • Attend scheduled meetings
  • Participate in a working group aligned with interests and experience
  • Assist in identifying the infrastructure needs to rehabilitate the site
  • Build an comprehensive vision for use of the site in short and long term


  • Meetings and work groups occur between October 2014 and January 201

Budget Implications:

  • Release time for Bellingham Public Schools staff for meetings and site visits.