Saturday, April 30, 2016

May 15, 2016 in the BUF Conference Room – 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m: Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center (BCLC): Karen Ekdahl, Executive Director

Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center, a nonprofit corporation, provides high-quality, affordable childcare to families of all income levels, assisting low-income families to become self-sufficient. Our well qualified, nurturing staff offers a developmentally appropriate and safe learning environment for 72 young children each day. 
Affordable childcare is an absolute necessity for parents who are trying to attend school to improve their economic prospects while working to pay household bills. Support in the form of tuition assistance for low-income families is one of our most important agency priorities. We empower parents to work and gain higher levels of education while providing essential early learning opportunities for their children. Our job is to help build children who will love learning not only while in school but throughout their entire lives.
BCLC has a strong connection with BUF, as several members have served the Center in various capacities over the years: Marie Hammer was one of its founding members, Francie Gass has provided parenting education and Alice Litton is a past board member. Jim Lott has organized numerous work parties at BCLC on Make a Difference Day and Becky Curtis currently teaches in one of the preschool classrooms.
Karen Ekdahl has been the executive director of Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center since February 1994. She has over 36 years of experience in Early Childhood Education.
For more information about BUF’s Sunday forums, please email the forum planners at

Saturday, April 23, 2016

May 8: Marian Beddill presents Water in Whatcom: Quantity and Quality

         Only air is more critical to life than water. Whatcom County and surrounding lands have been populated and have survived, in great part, because there is rainfall, so there's water to supply our needs. But that water might not last forever.
         QUANTITY: What if the amount of rain gets greatly reduced or the demand for more supply is greatly increased. Those are not "what-if" scenarios. They are real. And if we are smart, we will plan for them before they happen to us.

         Grabbing water from where there's an excess and piping it to where there's a need is expensive. But before you can even do that, you have to be allowed to take that water. So whose water was it before you grabbed it, and what might they do or demand if you took it without permission? The Salish Sea, the only supply of water for Whatcom that is essentially endless and publicly available, is undrinkable. It is salty and the treatment for that is also very expensive. 
         On rural lands, a single house is allowed to drill a well to obtain water for ordinary domestic needs and maybe a bit more. Our cities and a few towns have permission to take water from the surface or underground. But a bunch of homes, or a farm or business, must be granted a certified “water right” by the state. Agricultural irrigation is the largest user. And the state will not issue those permits unless they know there is available water. There is one large area in Whatcom where water availability is unknown and there are significant concerns about how to learn that availability. The people have a say but they need to know what to say to whom.
         QUALITY: Water needs to be clean in order to be safe for use by people and wildlife. If people get sick from drinking it, you know that it is NOT clean. But how might we know that before it causes illness? And how can it be treated? Better yet, how can we act to keep it from getting polluted?

Marian Beddill is a 25-year resident of Bellingham who is active in water concerns locally. Marian is a retired civil engineer and meteorologist who has worked most of her life on improvements to irrigation systems for agriculture worldwide. She also has managed various other water projects including a county public works department in Hawaii, the design of the second-largest sanitary sewer pipeline in Brazil, and the installation and management of an agricultural sprinkler factory. Marian also holds a U.S. patent for a flow-control device. 
For more information about BUF’s Sunday forums, please email the forum planners at

May 1st Introducing US Servas Presenter: Colleen Schwartz

US Servas is a nonprofit membership organization fostering understanding of cultural diversity through a global person-to-person network promoting a more just and peaceful world. Over the past 60 years, dedicated peace-minded people have created the vital worldwide hospitality network known as Servas.
Colleen Schwartz and her husband Harvey interview all local individuals applying for membership. They are Servas hosts as well as travelers, and have traveled extensively all over the world, using their Servas memberships to get to know other hosts. Colleen will lead this presentation.
Servas host members welcome Servas travelers into their homes for a limited stay, free of charge, with the opportunity of sharing a meal or meals and conversations. Servas members recognize the importance of personal relationships and the inherent worth of all people as well as the value of cultural differences. By fostering open person-to-person experiences between travelers and hosts, artificial barriers can be removed, lasting friendships can develop and social responsibility can be encouraged. Servas is a way to unite those who believe that peace is possible, once these differences are explored on a personal level. Members accomplish these goals by opening their homes and hearts and welcoming approved Servas visitors in the cause of peace.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 24th Human Population Growth & UU Values

Does Human Population Growth Intersect with UU Values?

Dr. Ron Quinn is an ecologist, with a BA from California State University and a Ph.D.
from Princeton University. He is Professor Emeritus of Biology and Regenerative
Studies at California State Polytechic University, Pomona. He has taught population
issues to approximately 25,000 students.

Ron Quinn has been interested in human population growth since he was 17 years old.
Since that time the world population has more than doubled, and the US population has
almost doubled. The population of his birth state of California has quadrupled.
If populations were to continue growing as presently projected, most environmental
problems would inexorably worsen, and become increasingly difficult to ever solve.
The consequences of population pressures now affect some peoples and regions
more than others, but they will increasingly become equal opportunity maladies. No
one can escape all of the threats associated with global warming, epidemic diseases,
and environmental deterioration.

The first UU principle, the inherent dignity and worth of every person, is far more
likely to be realized where population sizes are stabilized or reduced. Achieving this
goal lies within the seventh UU principle, understanding ourselves as part of the
interdependent web of existence, and behaving accordingly.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April 17 Forum: Sustainable Connections

Mark Peterson, Sustainable-Business Manager of Sustainable Connections, will present an overview of the organization’s work at the April 17 Sunday forum at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (BUF) at 9:15 a.m. 

The mission of Sustainable Connections is to promote sustainable practices such as waste reduction, energy conservation, alternative transportation and sustainable food production in businesses and in homes.

Peterson also will share exciting news about the City of Bellingham’s participation in the Georgetown University Energy Prize and how you can help our community win. The community in first place will win a cash prize in 2017.
Mark Peterson graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor of science degree in visual communications. He is an associate professional in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and a certified project management professional. He joined Sustainable Connections in 2012.Currently, Mark is chair of the Whatcom County Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
For more information about BUF’s Sunday forums, please email the forum planners at