Whidbey reads together about crows, nature

Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s book, “Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness,” is featured in Whidbey Reads, a program for the community to read, learn and discuss together. - Contributed photo
Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s book, “Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness,” is featured in Whidbey Reads, a program for the community to read, learn and discuss together.
— image credit: Contributed photo

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  “Crow Planet” and how it relates to Whidbey Island.

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 in the five island libraries.

Explore local nature through Whidbey Camano Land Trust tours Saturday, March 3 at Del Fairfax Preserve and Rhododendron Park in Central Whidbey and Trillium Community Forest, Saratoga Woods and Hammons Preserve on South Whidbey.

“It’s neat to have site stewards there to help and answer questions,” Colfer said.

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 Oak Harbor and Coupeville libraries. For more information and for events at other Whidbey Island libraries, visit



Whidbey Camano Land Trust Tours

WCLT site stewards host nature tours of Del Fairfax Preserve, Rhododendron Park, Trillium Community Forest, Saratoga Woods and Hammons Preserve. Tours are Saturday, March 3 at 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. Maps are available at all libraries.

Oak Harbor Library events

Celebrate Whidbey Reads for Kids: Doodle with Pierr Morgan: Ages 5 and up can doodle Saturday, March 24, 2 p.m.

“A Murder of Crows” Film and Discussion: Watch the PBS documentary and discuss with Dr. John Marzluff Saturday, April 7, 2 p.m.

Crow Tales with Lou Labombard: Hear native folklore Monday, April 9, 3 p.m.

Oak Harbor Book Group Discussion: Wednesday, April 11, 10 a.m. at Whidbey Coffee; Thursday, April 12, 6:30 p.m.

Meet the Author of “Crow Planet:” Thursday, April 19, 7 p.m.

Coupeville Library events

“A Sense of Wonder” Film and Discussion: Monday, March 5, 5:30 p.m.

A Photographic Journey into the World of Pigeon Guillemots: Monday, March 12, 5:30 p.m.

Coupeville Literature and Laughter Book Discussion: Wednesday, March 14, 6:15 p.m.

Look for the Story: Reconstructing a Whale Skeleton and What it Can Tell You: Monday, March 19, 5:30 p.m.

Twelve Months at Penn Cove: presented by Tom Trimbath Monday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.

Author and Photographer Paul Bannick: “Owl and the Woodpecker:” Monday, April 2, 5:30 p.m.

“A Murder of Crows” Film: Wednesday, April 4, 6 p.m.

Dark Colors, Bright Lives: Explore the physical attributes setting crows, ravens and jays apart from other birds Monday, April 9, 5:30 p.m.

A Poetry Month Crow Celebration and Slam: Write poetry on the spot for prizes Thursday, April 12, 7 p.m.

Whidbey Island Writers Association Celebrates Student Writing Contest Winners: Friday, April 13, 6:30 p.m.

The Invisible Shoreline Video Tour and Discussion: Tour the world of our local beaches Monday, April 16, 5:30 p.m.

Meet the Author of “Crow Planet:” Thursday, April 19, 2 p.m.

“Crow Planet” Whidbey Discussion: WCLT facilitates a panel discussion Monday, April 23, 5:30 p.m.


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