“If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.” 

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God


Photographers Regent Brown, Marnie Jackson, and David Stern captured the beauty and fun of our recent Gratitude Gala and Community Festival. View the photo albums by clicking the images below.




David Stern of Whidbey Custom Photography created this gorgeous photo essay on the Community Festival last month. 


Garden lunchThanks to the the many volunteers, neighbors, students, interns, staff, and community members who contributed to a bountiful season in our Westgarden!

Our summer of Thursday Volunteer Days has come to an end, and the garden has been put to bed under a blanket of mulch. Now, our land care crew's attention turns to the work of forest stewardship as the wet and windy months approach. 

Get involved in trail clearing, windfall management, or firewood stewardship by checking in online. Then, in the spring, plan to join us in the Westgarden as it awakens again! 


As an educational 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we depend upon on those we serve to make our work possible.



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Stillness Tuesday
Dec. 6, Jan. 3, Feb. 2

Landscape of the Soul
November 4—6

Invitas, Session I of III
November 6—9

Teaching in an Age of
Climate Consequences
November 10—12

The Shamanic Journey
Nov. 13, 2—5 pm

Holiday Concert
Dec. 11, 2—4 pm

Dreaming the Dark
December 16—18

Warrior Monk Retreat

Dec. 29—Jan. 2


Header, Gabriel, Garden, Gala and Festival, Marnie Jackson
Mount Hood, Tony Schanuel
Gabriel, Tim Morley
Jenna, courtesy herself
Anna, Abigail Lazarowksi

G R A T E F U L   H E A R T S

October & November 2016 Newsletter

Photo: Garden interns Anna Strick and Stoni Tomson press cider during our recent Community Festival. 


Warrior Monk Threshold Retreat
December 29, 2016—January 2, 2017
Who am I? Where am I going? And, with whom?

Take this opportunity to enter the new year with intention and grace. This powerful experiential retreat is designed to bring about greater depth and integration of our spiritual, emotional, and psychological development. The work combines a deeply beautiful and mindful environment with powerful heart-opening emotional work, reflection, play, and community.

Holiday Concert
December 11, 2 pm

Ring a Bell for the Season

Join Open Circle Singers, Heggeness Valley Boys, Judith Adams, Barbara Dunn, and friends for a musical celebration of the winter holidays and the return of the light.  Plan to stay after the music for coffee, tea, cookies, and conversation!  Parking is limited—dress for weather and arrive early in order to shuttle to the venue. Carpooling is greatly appreciated.

Dreaming the Dark
December 15—18 

A Winter Solstice Retreat
For many, the longer nights of Winter are a challenge. when we choose to slow down and cherish the darkness, however, we can take solace in receiving its gifts of healing, power and rebirth. Lenore Norrgard, Certified Shamanic Counselor, hosts this ritual for making peace with and receiving healing from the extended darkness we face every winter.

A Fond Farewell to Jenna Barrett

JennaWe wish to express our gratitude to former Development Manager Jenna Barrett, who completed her service to the Whidbey Institute at the end of October. She plans to remain on South Whidbey, and we anticipate a long-lasting friendship and future opportunities for shared work in our community.

"I carry into my next chapter the deep learnings, belly laughs, and great respect for everyone who devotes their resources to the Whidbey Institute," Jenna said. She also carries with her our love and gratitude for an amazing year together. May we meet again soon!

"Jenna's integrity, care, and wit made her an outstanding colleague," said Whidbey Institute Communications Manager Marnie Jackson. "Our parting is filled with mutual respect, and I'm excited to see what Jenna does next—as well as to see what skills and unexpected gifts our team gains through filling this vital role." 
Join Our Team: Development Manager Sought
JobDescriptionWith Jenna's departure comes an opportunity to bring
someone new onto our team. We are pleased to offer a
full-time, permanent po
sition for an experienced fundraiser. 

For details and application instructions, read our online
position description
—and please share this opportunity
within your network. 

Thanking Garden Intern Anna Strick
Anna Strick arrived at the Whidbey Institute in the spring of 2016 with a great deal of hot-weather farming experience, gained on the East Coast and especially in the Carolinas. She spent the 2016 growing season living in Mushroom Cabin, working in the Westgarden, and engaging students at the Institute and through the South Whidbey School District gardens. Through a season gardening alongside coordinators Abigail Lazarowski and Cary Peterson and fellow interns Liza Elman, Devin Mounts, and Stoni Tomson, she has gained a great deal of cool weather crop experience, additional practice engaging children in the garden, and a newfound love of South Whidbey Island.

Anna will be staying in Langley this winter, and continuing to work with children and gardens. She said, “I recognize that there is so much more for me to learn from this community. There was a relationship that I felt early on during my stay here, that I could support this community with my developing skills and passions, and that it would support me well in my personal needs and growth. It is refreshing and comforting to know that I am excited to continue this relationship with the community. The Whidbey Institute has been such a nourishing and encouraging home for me, and I'm overcome with gratitude.”

We are grateful to Anna not only for a season of service, but also for the lasting impressions she made on each of us as a friend and peer. Thank you Anna, and happy trails! 

Board Member Gabriel Shirley Completes Final Term
GabrielWe owe a great debt of gratitude to Gabriel Shirley, who completed two terms (six years) of board service in October, including significant service as Board President. He has been involved with the Institute since he first participated in our Spirited Work program in 1999. 

Gabriel's future includes continuing in his role as Head of Organizational Effectiveness at Avanade, Inc.; an upcoming wedding with fiance Marybeth Dickerson; and working with Marybeth on growing her grain-free foods company, Primal Island. He continues to reside on Whidbey Island, where he balances work, family, and a passion for the outdoors. 

In addition to the end of Gabriel's term of service, we've recently accepted the resignation of three other board members due to pressing—and exciting—committments. We thank Michael Maine, Sam Wright, and Chris Clark for their work on behalf of the Whidbey Institute, and we look forward to sharing more about their next steps with our community in future newsletter issues. 

A Plan for the Future

Whidbey Institute 2020 is a vision of a sustainable Institute. Together, we're creating a home for more people, in more ways, by scaling our facilities up to meet the needs of the individuals and organizations we serve. Whidbey Institute 2020 means bringing our facilities into balance with the needs of our communities.

The project involves three phases:

1) Acquisition of 30-Acre Legacy Forest
    • Includes updates of conservation easements on all 100 acres

2) Heartland Improvements: 24 new guest beds, support facilities
    • Meets expanding needs of Institute programs
    • Broadens Institute reach and accessibility
    • Enables Institute financial sustainability

3) Storyhouse Campus Improvements: new kitchen, bath house, caretakers cottage
    • Supports youth/young adult camps
    • Enables additional incubator and forest programs

We are looking forward to sharing more information, getting your perspective, and announcing opportunities to get involved in the weeks and months to come. 

Learning More
For early draft renderings of new structures and a map of the proposed improvements, visit the informational kiosk near the Hull Cabin in our Heartland, or email to receive electronic versions. Information about Whidbey Institute 2020, as well as more details about how to support this work with your donation of time, talent, or treasure, will be available on our website soon. In the meantime, your tax-deductible contribution of any size is always welcome. 

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Whidbey Institute
P.O. Box 57
Clinton, WA 98236

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