November 1, 2021

Mary Vermillion, Community Relations Manager
Whatcom County Library System
(360) 305-3645

Whatcom READS Announces Community Programs and Conversations that Explore 2022 Book Selection, Greenwood by Michael Christie

The 2022 Whatcom READS selection is the generational saga Greenwood by Canadian author Michael Christie. With trees as a guiding metaphor, Greenwood charts a family’s rise and fall and the “hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.”

“We think local readers will enjoy not only author Michael Christie’s writing and the book’s inventive structure but also the themes found in Greenwood,” says Whatcom READS committee chairwoman Ann McAllen. “Whatcom READS invites our community to read and discuss the same book. With Greenwood, we can explore together questions of climate change, family, Pacific Northwest botany, intersectional environmentalism and so much more. The list of community programs is rich and varied, but it all starts with the book.”

Borrow Greenwood as a book, eBook, or audiobook from the library or purchase it from Village Books, which donates 10 percent of each sale to Whatcom READS.

Visit to learn more about Greenwood, author Michael Christie and the free community programs that enrich the reading experience.

Community events inspired by the 2022 Whatcom READS selection, Greenwood

Most programs are online. On-site events have limited participation. Pre-registration is required. Find more information and register at

Mushrooms of the PNW – Sustaining People and Soils, 7-8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 8
All fungi have an important role in the ecosystem. Myecilia of mushroom store incredible amounts of carbon underground. In this richly illustrated presentation, author and researcher Daniel Winkler will help you identify mushrooms while steering you clear of dangerous look-a-likes.

Botany of the Pacific Northwest, ONLINE from 11 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Dec. 11
There are over 3,000 native plant species in Washington state yet many people can’t tell a fir from a hemlock or a calyx from a corolla. By putting names to these plants, we can begin to understand the important role each one plays in keeping our planet healthy and well fed.

Climate Fiction and Climate Change Literature, ONLINE from 11 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Jan. 22
Professor Stephen Siperstein will explore how climate change literature, and particularly climate change fiction (also known as cli-fi), can be a source of radical hope in our burning world.

Wood Songs, ONLINE from 7-8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 27
Local luthier Devin Champlin discusses musical instrument making and the treasured woods that are used in the craft.

Tapping Bigleaf Maples for Syrup: How the Impossible Became Possible
Some of the rarest and tastiest maple syrup is tapped right here in Whatcom County — sustainably! Hear this Acme farm's history — and future plans — from owner Neil McLeod and others during an intriguing on-site tour. Space is limited; pre-registration is required.
11 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Jan. 29

Directions will be sent to registered participants.

Poetry reading with Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest, ONLINE from 7-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 3
Join Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest for a poetry reading focused on the themes in this year's Whatcom Reads selection, Greenwood.

Intersectional Environmentalism: The Key to Fighting Racism and Climate Change, ONLINE from 7-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10
Communities of color and low-income communities have carried the heaviest burden of environmental injustice, but these communities have been excluded from the conversations, including science policy and outdoor recreation. Scientist Emily Pinkney shares how to combat the racism embedded within the environmental movement, resulting in more impactful solutions for the planet.

Introduction to Forest Bathing, 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Feb. 12 and Saturday, Feb. 19
Join April Claxton, Among the Trees PNW, for an introduction to Forest Bathing. This is a slow walk with guided exercises using our senses to connect to the forest. Most of our time together will be spent in silence at a local park. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required.

Event details will be sent to registered participants.

A Million More Trees for Whatcom County? YES!, ONLINE from 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17
In this interactive Q&A webinar with Executive Director Michael Feerer, you’ll learn the why, who, what, and where and how of Whatcom Million Trees Project’s exciting initiatives to plant one million trees in Whatcom County over the next five years.

The Woodstock Farm Story – and its Fruitful Future, ONLINE from 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 24
Discover the storied history of this wonderful 16-acre City of Bellingham waterfront park along Chuckanut Drive, and its orchard planting in-progress that will enhance local food resiliency while keeping the character of this special site.

Don’t miss!

Author events with Michael Christie, March 3-5

The author visits Whatcom County to discuss the book and his creative process. Event details and locations will be announced.

Allied Arts Whatcom READS Challenge

Submit your original artwork inspired by Greenwood for display at the Allied Arts Gallery in Bellingham.

Submission deadline is March 1-2. Exhibition is March 3-31. Learn more at

Whatcom WRITES. In-person at Village Books in Fairhaven at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20 AND Online at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27

Attend a reading by local writers whose work was selected for the 2022 Whatcom WRITES anthology. Pre-registration is required for both events.

About Michael Christie and Greenwood Michael Christie is also the author of the highly regarded novel If I Fall, If I Die and the linked collection of stories, The Beggar’s Garden. His work has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His essays and book reviews appear in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Globe and Mail. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, the author divides his time between Victoria and Galiano Island, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and two sons in a timber-frame house that he built.

Here’s how the Whatcom READS selection committee describes the book: “Set in the Pacific Northwest, Michael Christie’s GREENWOOD opens in the near future in one of the last surviving old growth forests. The narrative skillfully navigates a cross section of generations, themes and times. As Christie peels back those layers, he exposes the heartwood of what it means to struggle, survive and thrive; in essence, what it means to be human. This rich, well-paced tale delivers poignant writing with interesting characters.”

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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