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Out With Kids: Wild Whatcom leads hikes at Stimpson reserve this month

Wild Whatcom, a local nonprofit that offers outdoor education programs, offers guided hikes through the magical Stimpson Family Nature Reserve on Friday mornings during April 2015.
Wild Whatcom, a local nonprofit that offers outdoor education programs, offers guided hikes through the magical Stimpson Family Nature Reserve on Friday mornings during April 2015. The Bellingham Herald

Learn more about our natural world on guided hikes through the magical Stimpson Family Nature Reserve on Friday mornings this month.

Wild Whatcom, a local nonprofit that offers outdoor education programs, takes its Wild Things group on adventurous and informative jaunts. Hike leaders offer information about the ecosystem and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. Sometimes, experts in a particular field, such as birds or salamanders, will tag along and offer additional insight.

“The trillium are blooming right now,” said Holly Roger, community programs coordinator for Wild Whatcom. “They’re a very special flower, and very beautiful. We looking at red flowering currant and seeing hummingbirds that are doing their displays. They’re all over the place doing their mating displays.”

Hikers in Stimpson Reserve most likely will see migrating birds, amphibians such as frogs and salamanders, and new growth that includes nettles and salmonberry.

“If you’re walking through Stimpson, you’ll most likely hear the winter wren — now called the Pacific wren — and the varied thrush,” whose call is a haunting whistle or trill, Roger said.

“There’s some really cool sapsucker holes,” she said, and the group will looks for evidence of the large, pileated woodpecker, which includes massive excavations called “restaurants” in tree trunks.

Stimpson Reserve features more than 4 miles of well-groomed trails under lush forest canopy, including a main loop trail that includes a section of old-growth cedar and a 1-mile side trail around a pond.

The trail is mostly level, with a few steep sections but still great for children. Bathroom facilities were installed last year. Remember to dress for the weather, and that it can be cooler in the deep shade of tall trees.

Night Prowl

Also this month is a New Moon Night Prowl on a boardwalk trail through the marshland at Tennant Lake Interpretive Center, just outside of Ferndale.

Participants will learn what it means to be a nocturnal animal, listen for beaver activity, and — if it’s clear — see the sunset alpenglow on Mount Baker.

Reach Robert Mittendorf at 360-756-2805 or robert.mittendorf@bellinghamherald.com.

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