Author: Kate Poss | With Photos by David Welton

Kate Poss This Is Whidbey was founded by Kate Poss for readers who are interested in cultivating our island’s quality of life, including its land, sea, and air; its people, plants, and animals; and the bodies, minds, and spirits of its inhabitants. You may know Kate from her work in island libraries through May of 2016. Her background includes a career in newspaper reporting in Los Angeles for various weeklies and dailies, including The Los Angeles Times. She was a frequent contributor to the online Whidbey Life Magazine and still writes for the biannual print magazine. David Welton Stories are highlighted by David Welton’s excellent photography. David is a retired physician who was a staff photographer for Whidbey Life Magazine since its early days. His work has also appeared in museums, art galleries, newspapers, regional and national magazines, books, nonprofit publicity, and on the back of the Whidbey Sea-Tac Shuttle!

A jewel of a native wildflower prairie in Coupeville is designed to create a lasting legacy and preserve a disappearing habitat in Washington state. At the Pacific Rim Institute (PRI) on Parker Road, golden paintbrush, also known as castilleja levisecta, grow in a meadow, along with other native prairie plants such as camas lilies, lupine, buttercup, and chocolate lily. The effect on one’s senses of these rare native yellow paintbrush is to open the heart and soul, creating a powerful wish to protect and preserve their rare kind of beauty. Federal and state governments have listed the golden paintbrush as…

Read More

I’m wearing my personal chef hat this week, cooking two meals a day for six days, nurturing Christina Baldwin’s ‘The Self as the Source of the Story’ writing group. With all the many ingredients and menus competing for attention in my mind, there’s little room left for writing. I give you this week a gift for the senses in the form of David Welton’s excellent photos of Whidbey’s spring flowers. OMG! After the dark and cold February we endured, the colors of our flowers and trees seem like a miracle.  A friend who once lived in the Seattle area, but…

Read More

It’s spring. And Whidbey’s humans celebrated with egg hunts and the bunnies celebrated by being prolific. Decades ago Island County Fair held annual summer barnyard scrambles each summer releasing baby chicks and rabbits for children to catch, take home and adopt. The practice was discontinued in 2001. Generations of never-caught fair bunny descendants have since become one of Langley’s icons. Black, white, gray, golden, Himalayan, lop-earred, multi-colored—members of the Leporidae order–hop and munch around our Village by the Sea. The Leporidae family represents 60 species of rabbits, hares and pikas and the word is derived from its Latin origin meaning…

Read More

Though it was gray and drizzly weather, folks came out in bright colors to welcome the returning Gray whales on April 13. The 16th annual parade hosted by the Orca Network and Langley Chamber of Commerce is emceed by the island’s Conductor of Fun Jim Freeman, dressed in layers this year to ward off the chill damp. Freeman’s colorful costumes are notable. “I have a no-repeat rule, particularly when last year’s garment is wrinkled and it is as cold as it was Saturday with that gray whale wind,” Freeman wrote in an email following the parade. Last year’s garment was…

Read More

Jim Freeman celebrates Whidbey Island in its many faces. Look for him in his element this Saturday at the annual Welcome the Whales Festival and Parade. “I will be at the parade for the 16th year in a row,” Freeman said. “It’s one of the greatest events we do.” As emcee of whale and other parades, Mutt Struts, Chum Runs, Soup Box Derbies, poetry slams, and festivals, the funny man who brings us together and knows how to really connect has been honing his craft and having a great time of it for over thirty years. You might see Freeman…

Read More

The largest orchestra ever assembled on Whidbey will perform music written to launch a jet fleet 25 years ago. Langley city councilman Peter Morton is a man who can pull together big events. Promoting the performance of “The Miracle-Concerto for Piano and Orchestra,” fuels him with such magnetic enthusiasm that nearby patrons of the coffee shop he was in were drawn to his story and persuaded to attend the April 6 gala. As part of a trilogy in the event called “Musical Metaphophosis,”  the concerto will be performed April 6 at 7:30 pm at the South Whidbey High School auditorium.…

Read More

Take a slow breath in and out. Imagine first and second graders fine-tuning their inner well-being through simple guided exercises. Mountain pose. Shake and Freeze. Rain Storm. Bear breaths. Butterfly breaths. Rainbow breaths. Hot Cocoa breaths. Visiting first and second grade classrooms this week, we met with students on Mindfulness Tuesday at South Whidbey Elementary School. The twenty-minute long weekly classes are taught by Charlene Ray, a seasoned social worker and counselor with more than thirty years’ experience in modeling calm and kindness. Asked if they could say what the practice does for them, student hands shot up like rockets…

Read More

Our County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson exemplifies public service and inspires trust. Representing District One, which covers our whole island, except for greater Oak Harbor and north,  Price Johnson has served the public for nearly a dozen years with an ear tuned to what the island needs most. She is down-to-earth, easy to talk with and someone who likes to get things done. Her husband David owns a family-run construction business. These days workforce affordable housing is high on her list of priorities. “We need to fill the gap for families, entry-level county workers, first-year teachers, lumberyard workers, farmworkers and…

Read More

Horse and dog owners around Whidbey Island turn to Elizabeth Johnson for her skilled care in promoting the health and well-being of their beloved four-leggeds. “Liz knows what she is doing,” said Terry Portillo, whose 28-year-old horse Ranger had been dropping weight during the winter and was being treated by Elizabeth in his pasture. The rural ranch, with one structure dating back to the 1880s, is framed by old evergreens and still-producing apple trees more than a century old. “She has years of experience. You can tell when she’s doing something that helps them feel better.” Having suffered digestive problems…

Read More

Transitioning the Langley Middle School campus into a sustainable community resource center quickly evolved over the past year and a half, now attracting non-profits and businesses committed to creating a better way of life. Gail La Vassar runs the South Whidbey Community Center with the help of supporting colleagues and volunteers who occasionally bake cookies.  La Vassar, executive director of Readiness to Learn, which has served as an umbrella community service organization for more than two decades, now directs the South Whidbey Community Center as well. To that end she curates an eclectic mix of non-profits and businesses whose rents…

Read More