Whidbey Island reads together about nature

Whidbey Reads isn’t just about reading a book. The five Whidbey Island Sno-Isle Libraries are bringing a book to life through discussions, events and activities meant to bring the community together in March and April.

Whidbey Reads isn’t just about reading a book. The five Whidbey Island Sno-Isle Libraries are bringing a book to life through discussions, events and activities meant to bring the community together in March and April.

For the program’s 10th year, a committee of 15 members selected the book “Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness,” by Lyanda Lynn Haupt.

Haupt was awarded the 2010 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award for this book. This award is presented annually to an author whose book best captures the spirit of human relationship with the natural world.

Her other books include “Rare Encounters With Ordinary Birds” and “Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks.”

Part memoir and part discussion of how humans interact with nature in the city, “Crow Planet” examines the crows of Seattle through Haupt’s studies of crows.

“The book’s a natural for Whidbey because it’s about nature and taking care of what’s around you,” said Leslie Franzen, Coupeville Library manager. “It’s very applicable to Whidbey because of what we have here in terms of the land and beauty and nature,” Franzen said.

It also ties in well with local groups and activities, like the Whidbey Audubon Society, Whidbey Camano Land Trust, camping and bird-watching.

“I just feel like it’s a really timely book,” said Clinton Library manager Debby Colfer, adding that the book looks at nature and how to enjoy nature wherever you live.

Whidbey Reads originally began in Seattle. Ten years ago, it came to Oak Harbor.

“The idea was that everybody in the community reads the same book and then talks to each other,” Colfer said.

It’s a way to meet people. For example, you might see someone reading the book on the bus and it’s an open invitation to start a conversation, Colfer said.

“It’s a really fun way to promote the joy of reading,” Colfer added.

Approximately 35 programs in the five island libraries will explore these aspects. The program culminates with three events to meet the author April 18 and 19. Haupt will also visit Midway High School and Skagit Valley College in Oak Harbor and South Whidbey High School in Langley.

With the partnership of the Pacific NorthWest Art School, the libraries set up an art show called “Something to Crow About.” Art featuring crows will be on display at the libraries.

The Whidbey Island Writers Association has joined in with an addition to their student writing contest. Students who write about birds or other nature topics can win a special prize. Skagit Valley College will also put on a poetry contest.

From films to native stories to children’s programs, the libraries offer the complete experience of “Crow Planet.”

“The thing that amazes me is that each year, it keeps getting better,” Colfer said, adding that they’ve had wonderful collaboration with local groups this year, which has led to plenty of fun programs for all ages.

Below are Whidbey Reads events at the Freeland, Langley and Clinton libraries. For more information and for events at all the Whidbey Island libraries, visit www.sno-isle.org.

Freeland Library events

Made By Hand: Birds of a Feather: Create a collage with artist Wendy Lee Lynds at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 24.

“The Amazing Hummingbird Story of Red Rufous:” Author Joy Johnson reads her book at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24.

Bird Crafts: Children and families make crafts at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4.

“Fly Away Home:” Watch the movie about a teen raising goslings at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4.

Something to Crow About: Barton Cole teaches about crows at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 10.

Lit for Fun reads “Crow Planet:” Discuss the book at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 12.

Librarians as Information Guides: Mythbusting Science Information will be presented at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 14.

Meet the Author of “Crow Planet:” Meet Lyanda Lynn Haupt at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 20103 Highway 525.

“A Murder of Crows:” Watch the PBS documentary at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21.

Langley Library events

“The Amazing Hummingbird Story of Red Rufous:” Author Joy Johnson reads her book at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 3.

Langley Book Group: Discuss “Crow Planet” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5.

Whidbey’s Favorite Birds: Writer Frances Wood focuses on her favorite birds Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m.

Meet the Author of “Crow Planet:” Meet Lyanda Lynn Haupt at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 20103 Highway 525.

Clinton Library events

Clinton Book Group: Discuss “Crow Planet” at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14.

“Dog Days, Raven Nights:” Hear from authors John and Colleen Marzluff about ravens at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at Clinton Community Hall, 6411 Central Ave.

Meet the Author of “Crow Planet:” Meet Lyanda Lynn Haupt at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 20103 Highway 525.

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