Category Archives: 2016

Out of the Northwest Passage : March 19th Nordic Lodge program

DSCN7466_564On March 19th at the Nordic Hall just south of Coupeville, you are invited to join Jill Hein and Sandy Dubpernell, via photos & stories, on their voyage Out of the Northwest Passage (eastern Canada and the western coast of Greenland) where they follow the route of the ill-fated Sir John Franklin expedition in the 1840’s  and part of the route taken by the intrepid Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen 1903-1906.

Franklin, in 1845,  tragically lost his 2 ships and 134 men to illness and the harsh elements.

Amundsen and his little ship Gjoa and hardy crew of seven successfully completed the passage from Greenland to the Bering Sea (in 1906) after spending 2 years in Gjoa Haven, which he called “the finest little harbor in the world”. There he learned from the natives about their clothing, their diet and the use of dog sleds for hauling and transportation. What he learned from these people enabled him and his crew on the Fram to be the first men to safely reach the South Pole several years later.

The Northwest Passage landscape is stark and dramatic and geologically unique, the tundra covered with mosses, lichens, tiny brightly colored flowers and trees no more than 4” tall.   Icebergs, sunsets and northern lights are spectacular. Polar bears, arctic fox, muskox and beluga whales are occasionally spotted. In colorful little villages along the way,  hardy ever-smiling Inuit gladly share some of their culture.

The Nordic Hall is located at 63 Jacobs Road, Coupeville.  The program will begin following a short business meeting for Lodge members at 10 a.m.   Anyone interested in hearing about this journey is welcome.

March 3rd is Coupeville’s Annual History Day Community Night

NHD wht-red

National History Day has been providing Coupeville students with the opportunity to become better researchers, presenters, and communicators since 1983.  On March 3rd, students will showcase the work they have completed for the Regional History Day competition to be held at Western Washington University the week of March 7th.

The theme this year – Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange in History –  has allowed students to choose diverse topics including:  George Vancouver’s exploration into the Pacific Northwest, Edward Jenner and the Smallpox vaccine, Cargo Containerization, and Existentialism.  There will be two documentaries, one exhibit, and one performance at this event.    Students will show how their topics meet of each of the theme components and how they researched.

Audience members help students prepare for their contest in March by providing positive feedback on presentation skills, by asking about research, by asking about theme, and about why the topics are historically significant.

Your participation at this event will be appreciated.  This is a free event, open to the entire community, but donations in support of the program are always welcome and can be made through the Coupeville Foundation for Coupeville Schools and should be marked for History Day.

The Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge is pleased to support History Day for Coupeville students by hosting this event at their Nordic Hall, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. The Hall is located at 63 Jacobs Rd., about one mile south of the intersection of Highway 20 & Main Street [in Coupeville].

Nordic Lodge February meeting to feature flag history

At the February 19th meeting of the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge, guest speaker Nancy Bolin-Romanski will portray Mary Pickersgill, the woman who created the American flag that flew over Ft. McHenry – The Star Spangled Banner.  Following Nancy’s presentation Lodge member  Dick Johnson will discuss the evolution of our Scandinavian flags.

In the summer of 1813, Mary Pickersgill (1776–1857) was contracted to sew two flags for Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. The one that became the Star-Spangled Banner was a 30 x 42–foot garrison flag; the other was a 17 x 25–foot storm flag for use in inclement weather. Pickersgill, a thirty-seven-year-old widow, was an experienced maker of ships’ colors and signal flags. She filled orders for many of the military and merchant ships that sailed into Baltimore’s busy port.

Helping Pickersgill make the flags were her thirteen-year-old daughter Caroline; nieces Eliza Young (thirteen) and Margaret Young (fifteen); and a thirteen-year-old African American indentured servant, Grace Wisher. Pickersgill’s elderly mother, Rebecca Young, from whom she had learned flagmaking, may have helped as well.

Pickersgill and her assistants spent about seven weeks making the two flags. They assembled the blue canton and the red and white stripes of the flag by piecing together strips of loosely woven English wool bunting that were only 12 or 18 inches wide.

The meeting will begin at 10:00 am and is open to the public.


Nordic Book Discussion Group selects its reading adventures for 2016

The Nordic Book Discussion Group reading list for the coming year includes a wide range of subject matter, both fictional and non-fictional, and all selections have either a Nordic/Scandinavian theme or author. Subjects include WWII, Nordic myths, and murder! Authors include well known ones, such as Henning Mankell, and some who though not as well known, are widely acclaimed for their work.  And, one of this year’s authors is Whidbey author Gloria Koll, presenting us with her first novel Skipping Stones!

jsw_heritage_of_darkness    InCodWeTrust  skipping stones cover   gold run   jsw_buzz_aldrin

dogs of riga   jsw_song_of_the_vikings   birkebeiner   jsw_almost_nearly_perfect_people   jsw_norwegian_by_night

The group meets the first Thursday of the month September to June at the Nordic Hall in Coupeville, 1:30-3:00 pm. If you are interested in joining their adventures this year, please contact them at for more information and also visit  our Activities web page.