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BRIEF: Harvest, weave, learn

Two botanists welcome you to join their natural education classes

English Ivy glistens from a morning rain in Bellingham, Wash., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023. This is the ivy that Northwest Natura will be using for their basket weaving class on Sunday, Feb. 26. // Photo by Sophie Bechkowiak 

Northwest Natura, a new start-up focused on teaching the Bellingham community about the environment, will be holding its first basket-weaving event on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Jazmen Yoder and Aimee Wright, two botanists and Western Washington University graduates, started Northwest Natura with a passion to share their love of nature. It began as a YouTube channel and social media platform where they created educational environmental reels. It then grew into something bigger – Northwest Natura.

During the four-hour class, participants will learn how to correctly harvest English Ivy, an invasive ivy that grows everywhere in the Pacific Northwest. They will learn characteristics of the ivy, how to prepare it for weaving and, lastly, how to create a basket. 

“Making baskets in Bellingham with English Ivy is a great thing to do because we are trying to help our native plants. And it's out of respect for the native culture and the native plants, our biome, our ecoregion,” Yoder said. 


A closer look at the stems and leaves of the invasive English Ivy in Bellingham, Wash.,  on Monday, Feb. 20. Jazmen Yoder and Aimee Wright will teach participants how to correctly harvest the ivy without damaging native plants while getting rid of its roots to prevent further spread. // Photo by Sophie Bechkowiak

Neither Yoder nor Wright have taught a basket-weaving course before, but both have experience with weaving baskets and are excited to share what they know. 

The two botanists understand that basket weaving has been a cultural art form and survival technique for centuries in just about every culture. It is a tradition that has been passed down and kept for thousands of years

“Basketry is not always one of those things that is super accessible to everybody,” Wright said. 

Learning the correct ways to harvest the materials and weave can be hard to do from just a short video. 

They want to make these experiences and tutorials accessible and affordable for everyone. You can find out more about them and their classes at

Sophie Bechkowiak

Sophie Bechkowiak (she/her) is writing for the opinion beat at The Front this quarter. She is in her fourth year at Western working towards a journalism news/editorial major and a philosophy minor. On her days off she enjoys thrifting, art, watching documentaries and goofing around with friends. 

You can reach her at  

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