More Stories

Carnegie Hall Comes to Whidbey Island

by Kate Poss in More Stories, Music

Which do you think is a better way to teach kids about music: having them listen to an orchestra concert or giving them an opportunity to perform with an orchestra? The folks at Carnegie Hall believe that giving kids an opportunity to play with professional-caliber musicians is so important that they created the “Link Up” program, and more than a thousand Whidbey Island third- through fifth-graders participated this year.

“The Link Up program was a welcome surprise addition to our nature- and arts-based curriculum this spring,” says Lisa Kois, creator of the Calyx School. “I was excited by what I read about the Carnegie Hall program, the opportunity for our kids to begin to learn an instrument, and to have a hands-on classical music experience with the Saratoga Orchestra. How cool is that? Learn to play the recorder and then go watch, learn from, and play with a professional orchestra. The entire experience was so positive for everyone, and the culminating concert was amazing. Our kids were very inspired. At the end of the concert, one of the students sitting next to me turned and asked, ‘Do we get to do this again next year?’ Another student dreamily walked up to me and reported, ‘I am all about music.’”

Grimm’s True Tales: Whidbey Island Back Roads

by Shawn Berit in History, More Stories

Brian Grimm was in first grade on Whidbey Island with many kids from families that had streets named after them. From a young age, he found that fascinating. His memories of his youth included driving the roads and back roads with friends and family. He talks of teenage antics with a grin and glint in his eyes. Yet Grimm’s true appreciation of the roads would come later in life.

In 2009, as president of Bayview Hall, he started a research project built on determining just who owns the hall and also who helped found it. Recalling his childhood friends, he realized that the deepest roots on the island are reflected in the names of its roads. As families moved to the island to homestead, they applied to the county to have their names used to identify the roads they lived on. “Roads” predate lanes, circles, or drives and thus, the names followed by “road” have their origins in the island’s oldest families. This fact gave Grimm his starting point.

Finding Baby Animals: What to Do

by Marian Blue in More Stories, Nature

On Whidbey Island, wildlife abounds. Consequently, spring babies are everywhere: huddled within sword fern shadows, peering out from tree roots, crying for food in moss cradles, and even sprawled on open, chilly beaches.

One look at these babies’ big eyes and vulnerability (which mimic that of our own infants), and our emotions dive get involved. Called “baby schema,” the theory attributes the fact that we’re driven to grab and protect adorable animal infants to a primal urge.

Unfortunately, misguided rescues can adversely impact an adorable baby’s future. “We like that people care, and sometimes animals need to be rescued, but sometimes it’s just kidnapping,” says Shona Aitken, education coordinator at Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island. Aitkin, like other wildlife specialists, urges people to observe, think first, and act second.

100-Word Story: Parking Karma

by Chris Spencer in Literary, More Stories, Visual Art

Ed was inching through the packed P.O. parking lot when he saw it—an older woman getting into her car in the first space. “A-hah!” Ed put on his blinker and glared protectively at other cruising cars searching for open spots.

“Come on lady. What are you doing? Your makeup? Nails? Napping? Move it!” he groused. Finally, she oozed her Cadillac out in fits and starts. Ed gunned into the coveted, prime space. Two steps from his car he saw where he was and realized he needed to go to the Dog House—way on the far side of town.

 The Ballerina With Fangs: A Cautionary Tale for Foragers

by Tom Fisher in More Stories, Nature

I’ve been a forager for 40 years, beginning in Alaska, where it was mainly a way of saving money and avoiding more salmon. Moving south in ’83, the opportunities broadened to include beaver enchiladas and minor’s lettuce salad, among others. I love the atavistic pursuit, and mushrooms in particular, as we often have a plentiful bounty in the fall. So, to discover a springtime addition was particularly exciting. Amanita velosa, also called the Springtime Amanita, was described as delicious.

Was I genetically predisposed to thinking of myself as the John James Audubon of mushrooms? Some individuals compile life lists of birds, some collect big mammal heads and horns or very large fish, but one of my passions happens to be fungi. I enthusiastically collected a half dozen of the critters and told my wife Mary to get ready for one incredible meal.